New South Wales

Controlling deer a priority in the Hunter

Hunter Local Land Services Biosecurity team have removed nearly 2,000 more deer from the Upper Hunter, as the invasive species continues to impact farms and native habitats in the drought hit district.

A targeted aerial program recently controlled 1938 Fallow and Red deer. The program was initiated after increasing reports from the community about the impacts of deer on farmland and deer even straying closer to urban areas.

“Deer are very destructive, eating pastures and crops, damaging native habitats and now with the drought they are desperately in search of food and water,” said Biosecurity team leader Luke Booth.

“Hunter Local Land Services is prioritising our pest species control programs to assist drought affected landholders across our region.

“2018 has been disastrous for many local producers, and reducing the number of feral species competing for limited feed and water supplies is crucial.”

This brings the total number of pest animals controlled in the Upper Hunter through strategic aerial programs in 2018 to more than 6730 animals, including 4235 deer and 2434 pigs. These programs were specifically initiated under Hunter Local Land Services drought support measures.

Murrurundi producer Mark Wylie said the program has had outstanding results on his property.

“Before the program it was nothing to go out at night and see mobs of 150-200 deer on my pasture, but the culling has dramatically reduced the numbers,” said Mark.

“It’s astonishing to see the impact already, the control programs have made a huge difference for us and now it’s important to keep the pressure up so the deer don’t rebuild in our area.

“We are also putting up an exclusion fence, and we just received a few showers of rain so it’s exciting to see some oats finally coming through, and not getting decimated by deer.”

Hunter Local Land Services is now working on plans for follow up control programs in the district.

“We know pest animals are one of the biggest concerns for local landholders regardless of the season, but the drought has really exacerbated these issues, and by undertaking targeted strategic programs in known hotspots we are getting some really good results,” said Luke.

“This is the second aerial campaign in the Upper Hunter since winter and encouragingly we noticed deer had not returned in large numbers to the properties we had previously targeted.

“We urge all landholders to report sightings of deer to Local Land Services, as well as any other pest species impacting their livestock or properties, so we can continue to target these pest populations.”

The NSW Government recently made changes to deer hunting rules in the state, lifting a number of regulations to help licenced hunters to assist farmers to manage the impacts of wild deer.

Interested parties must register with the DPI Game Licensing Unit.

Source: Hunter Local Land Services