A formal plan for Nambucca Valley deer management is the next step

Photo supplied by the Invasive Species Council
Photo supplied by the Invasive Species Council

While Dean Chamberlain admits his office doesn't receive a lot of complaints about deer, as the Team Leader in Invasive Pests for North Coast Local Land Services (NCLLS), he is well aware there is a problem out there - and it is growing.

"Back in 2015 down around Port Macquarie the deer were becoming a major problem ... collisions with cars were the real spark plus the stags can be dangerous when they are in rut," Mr Chamberlain said.

"Something had to be done, so we (Local Land Services) got stakeholders (private land holders, the council, National Parks, Forests NSW) together and began developing a plan to control the deer.

"By 2018 we had a draft plan awaiting approval, which outlined where control was needed, how that would be done and how it would be funded."

Mr Chamberlain said control measures included contact shooters for private and council land and also trapping programs in the peri-urban areas around Port Macquarie.

"That is the blueprint we can now bring to the Nambucca in the near future. We will begin by talking to stakeholders, starting with the council as they have raised the issue."

He said the best thing people can do at the moment is report sightings to us and to the council.

"The more information we have, the more we can look to do in the future. It's not a question of ever being able to eradicate them but rather to manage them to keep the numbers low and the impacts minimal."

Photo by Mick Elliot, Local Land Services

Photo by Mick Elliot, Local Land Services

CEO of the Invasive Species Council, Andrew Cox, said deer were a major emerging pest on the east coast.

"They cause problems on farms, raid gardens and are becoming a major environmental issue," Mr Cox said.

"Last year they were de-listed as a 'game species'*, which removed the red tape for landholders wanting to control numbers and sees them treated like any other pest species.

*Deer previously occupied the unique 'game species' classification, meaning a special hunting licence is required to eradicate them. Under the changes anyone with a firearm licence will be able to eradicate deer on private land, so long as they have landholder's permission.

"This is certainly progress but a lot more needs to be done ... the numbers are huge and deer breed prolifically. Proper resources and everyone working together is necessary to address this serious issue."

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