Feral deer targeted in the Port Stephens area

Feral deer have been a concern in the Port Stephens area for many years and, as the region continues to develop, the negative impacts of feral deer have increased.

Hunter Local Land Services has been working with residents in the Ferodale and the Greater Raymond Terrace areas who have been experiencing significant impacts from this increase in feral deer.

Feral deer are becoming one of Australia’s most significant pest animals, with their populations booming in many parts of Australia and the residents of the Port Stephens council area are increasingly feeling the impacts of the spread of this pest animal.

Brett Miners, chair of the Hunter Regional Pest Animal Committee, said, “There have been 45 reports of deer sightings, damage or control in the last two months alone, with two main hot-spots evident in the Raymond Terrace and Forster areas.

“Members of the community are encouraged to download the FeralScan app on their device which provides a quick and mobile way of reporting.” Brett continued.

Deer are not native animals to Australia - they were introduced in the 19th Century and farmed through the state - there are now four species of feral deer in the Hunter.

When you first see a deer in the landscape, it can be a novelty at first, but feral deer breed quickly and become very difficult to manage as their populations grow.

Some of the impacts being reported by residents in the region include:

  • Threat to human life through road collisions.
  • Economic impact to road users through damage to cars and insurance providers through insurance claims.
  • Increase in mental health strain on landholders dealing with impacts on their land as well as, mental health impacts to local landholders who regularly respond to vehicle collisions.
  • Impact on local producers through damage and grazing of crops and pasture, reducing yields of crops and reducing available feed for stock.
  • Damage to fencing of production land increasing maintenance cost for landholders and adding a safety risk to the road reserves if cattle or other stock gain access through broken fences.  Additionally impacts to fences of non-production lands is increasing property maintenance cost to landholders.
  • Damage to native vegetation. This area has conservation and forestry land along with private landholders with environmental assets.
  • Damage to revegetation works being undertaken to improve natural environment including a koala habit restoration project. This adds both economic and continued environmental impacts.

Brett continued, “We are asking all landholders to help us identify hot-spots of feral deer activity to assist with targeting control programs to reduce their impacts.”

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