Goals set on deer control

THE rollout and targets of the Government’s Wild Fallow Deer Management Plan is becoming clearer with the release of the plan’s Implementation Strategy last week.

Underpinning the Tasmanian Wild Fallow Deer Management Plan, the Implementation Strategy sets out objectives to manage the agricultural, commercial, environmental and public safety impacts associated with deer populations in Tasmania.

The strategy identifies key initiatives to be delivered under the Management Plan by establishing a five-year work program to progress the four management objectives outlined in the Management Plan.

The Management objectives outlined in the plan are;

Management objective 1: ‘Effectively manage the impacts of wild fallow deer throughout the state whilst maintaining a traditional and sustainable hunting resource.’
This consists of establishing three distinct deer management zones, undertaking research trials to improve the efficiency of existing deer management and investigating new management tools or control methods, ensuring consideration of animal welfare impacts, eradication of deer from world heritage areas and national park, eradication of deer from peri urban areas and preventing the establishment of new deer populations.

Management objective 2: ‘Empowering farmers, foresters and other land managers to directly manage deer and to work collaboratively with hunters to achieve tailored deer management objectives.’
This will be accomplished by enabling land managers to control deer with greater flexibility and ensuring that compliance activities are effective and efficient.

Management objective 3: ‘Continue to provide evidence-based deer management.’
This aims to improve knowledge of current deer distribution and abundance, enhance knowledge and best-practice management for populations monitoring, improve knowledge of the role of wild deer in farm biosecurity and quantifying the environmental, social and economic value (including costs and benefits) of deer in Tasmania.

Management objective 4: ‘ Improve community involvement, education, and awareness of deer management.’
This objective includes community engagement, reducing antisocial behaviour, exploring commercial use of wild shot deer, provide leadership and coordination through strategic partnerships.

While delivery of the Implementation Strategy will be overseen by NRE Tas there are a range of actions or initiatives where industry groups will play a critical role.

For farmers, this includes identifying strategies and initiatives to support the deer farming industry, property-based game management plans and supporting industry regulation for commercial deer farming.

For hunters, this includes opportunities to increase the involvement of recreational hunters in control programs on public land, along with the establishment of partnership and project agreements with key stakeholder groups.

The plan had $2 million committed to it in last year’s Budget, as well an additional $450,000 over three years to assist with the control of peri-urban deer and a further $400,000 of Australian Government support to eradicate deer from Walls of Jerusalem National Park.

However, the methods of in-park eradication have been met with some resistance from groups keen to see deer eradicated.

Following the release of the strategy, Christine Milne said more consideration was needed when looking to eliminate deer inside national parks.

“We welcome the goal of eradication of feral deer in the TWWHA and our National Parks, including the option of aerial shooting by professional shooters under the direction of the Parks and Wildlife Service,” said Ms Milne, an Ambassador of the Invasive Species Council and patron of the Bob Brown Foundation.

“But we reject absolutely the Government inviting recreational hunters and shooters into the parks.

“Hunters don’t eradicate, they selectively shoot to maintain ‘a quality herd’ of feral animals for the future. This is not an eradication plan.”

Information on the Management Plan and Implementation Strategy is available on the NRE Tas website: https://nre.tas. gov.au/agriculture/game-services-tasmania/wild-fallowdeer-management-plan