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A strategic approach to dealing with wild deer

Wild deer in gardenNorth Coast Local Land Services has recently launched the Hastings Wild Deer Management Strategy.

Wild deer are an emerging pest animal in Australia with the potential for significant primary production and environmental impacts if local populations continue to consolidate and expand. In locations where there are currently high numbers of wild deer the immediate concern is the increase in vehicle collisions and interaction with the community on urban perimeters.

The Strategy has been developed by North Coast Local Land Services in conjunction with the Hastings Wild Deer Working Group to improve the management of wild deer in the Port Macquarie area. Membership of the Hastings Wild Deer Working Group includes local land managers and stakeholders.

The Strategy is based on the experience of the Hastings Wild Deer Working Group and the results of a community survey that the group held in 2015.

The community survey was conducted in Port Macquarie during September to gather local knowledge on where wild deer occur and what impacts are being experienced. There were 194 surveys completed with 349 locations identified where wild deer have been sighted.

Jo McGoldrick, Manager Biosecurity and Emergency Services and Coordinator of the Hastings Wild Deer Working Group said, “It was important to get the community’s input to ensure the information we developed into the Strategy was accurate and relevant.”

Jo continued, “As we anticipated, the main impacts from wild deer were the significant damage to gardens and the traffic hazard to road users.

The focus of the Hastings Wild Deer Management Strategy is to integrate control practices, establish greater coordination of resources, implement new control programs, protect key social and economic assets and evaluate the overall success of a cooperative management program.

“There are a range of reasons why collectively we need to address the growing wild deer population including reports of wild deer being aggressive to people and pets in the area and the threat that wild deer pose to local koala populations.” Jo said.

A comprehensive set of objectives and actions have been developed to reduce the adverse impacts of wild deer on the local community which will now be implemented by the members of the Working Group in conjunction with landholders and the community.

Over the past few months, landholders have informed the Working Group with information that they are often approached by recreational shooters seeking access to their properties to hunt deer.  Landholders should note the introduction of the Strategy does not diminish the rights of owners and recreational hunters should only gain access to properties if landholders are comfortable with the individual and their credentials.

Media contact:

Jo McGoldrick, Manager Biosecurity and Emergency Services Phone 0407 121 265

Photo caption:

Wild deer have been known to cause damage to gardens and crops.