Partnering with landholders to control feral deer

This autumn, Central Tablelands Local Land Services again worked with landholders to control feral deer populations with a coordinated aerial program.

2022 was the third year Vittoria farmer Matt Press has participated in a Local Land Services control program as he continues to deal with the impact of feral deer on his 6,000-acre property.

“Deer used to be a bit of a novelty, but we went from seeing a few small mobs to regularly seeing mobs of over 100 feral deer absolutely decimating the landscape during the drought,” said Mr Press.

“Since taking part in the Local Land Services programs over the last few years, we’re seeing smaller mobs, but are still feeling the impacts from feral deer that are hiding out in the bush of neighbouring properties.

“Controlling these pests really needs whole of community involvement to have lasting impact on numbers.”

Mr Press said that that keeping on top of weeds and fixing fences after a mob of feral deer have gone through is becoming a full-time job in itself.

“Feral deer are still causing an impact on our bottom line in a big way. As neighbouring landholders we need our control programs to cover the largest possible area; if we’re not all working together, our efforts are less effective.

“Deer don’t listen to farm boundaries, so whether you’re on 100 acres or 1,000, we all need to take part in coordinated programs to reduce the impacts of deer and other pest animals.”

Recent aerial surveys conducted by Central Tablelands Local Land Services identified key areas where feral deer continue to put pressure on landholders and the environment.

“Data has helped build a picture of the problem with areas around Orange and Bathurst being identified as having larger feral deer populations,” said Mark Simpson, Senior Biosecurity Officer at Central Tablelands Local Land Services.

“We will be ramping up feral deer control in priority areas, as well as trialling a new trapping technique to manage populations.

“Controlling pest animals is everyone’s responsibility, including small landholders and hobby farmers, and we encourage landholders to take part in our coordinated efforts to demonstrate that you are fulfilling your general biosecurity duty obligations and therefore adhering to the NSW Biosecurity Act, 2015.”

Contact your local Biosecurity Officer to seek advice on controlling feral deer on your property by calling Central Tablelands Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

Fast Facts:

  • Deer are a priority pest across NSW.
  • According to the latest data from NSW DPI, in 2020 feral deer species were recorded across 180,443 square kilometres, or 22 per cent, of NSW. This was a significant increase from the feral deer distribution of 138,000 square kilometres recorded in 2016.
  • Deer pose a considerable threat to local producers, through increased grazing pressure, spreading weeds (like blackberry) through their droppings, damage to farm infrastructure and the environment, via browsing, rubbing against trees and trampling water ways.
  • Local Land Services’ biosecurity teams have been working with the community to establish best practice deer control across the Central Tablelands.

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