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Deer management


Wild deer affect many different aspects of living in Port Macquarie: they create a traffic hazard on the roads; browse on private and commercial gardens; and reduce the ecological integrity of our bushland with negative impacts on flora and fauna habitat.

Council is progressing the issue of deer control and monitoring as a high priority and outlines future management options in the Draft Biodiversity Strategy. Further work is also being undertaken to address this need:

Research into Deer Population Size

Council has partnered with LLS (North Coast Local Land Services) and researchers from the Arthur Rylah Institute to undertake studies examining the likely population size of deer within the Port Macquarie area. These studies use genetic techniques. The results can inform the levels of culling that would be required to achieve a significant decrease in the local deer population. The studies also look at the relative abundance of different deer species and their movement patterns through the landscape. Such studies can inform whether ‘localised’ control can be effective to decrease populations within a specific area or whether coordinated landscape approaches are fundamental.

Research into Disease Prevalence within the Deer Population

Council has also partnered with LLS and researchers from the Arthur Rylah Institute to undertake studies examining the prevalence of different diseases within the local deer population, with a focus on cattle respiratory diseases as well as diseases potentially transmissible to humans. This is an important step as, if the disease load and prevalence is high, may trigger additional State and Federal funding to achieve much higher levels of eradication than otherwise would have been possible.

Hastings Wild Deer Working Group and Strategy

Council is a key member of the Hastings Wild Deer Working Group and was instrumental to the formation of the Hastings Wild Deer Management Strategy 2016-2018. Council will continue to work with this group to review future updates to this regional strategy.

Biosecurity Act

Deer are not currently listed as a feral animal legally requiring control under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015. The Hastings Wild Deer Management Group has previously worked to have their status as a ‘game animal’ removed so that control could be undertaken within this area. The Hastings Wild Deer Working Group is similarly looking into the status of deer under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015.

Project Updates

  • Notification of planned deer control activities Wednesday 24th July 2019 by NPWS

    22 July 2019

    National Parks and Wildlife are planning on conducting a deer control operation on Wednesday 24th July 2019, targeting a remote island on the western side of Lake Innes Nature Reserve. The closest road will be Lake Innes Drive and the operations are covered by standard NPWS Shoot and Safety plans.  

    The shooting program is to commence around 4pm and concluding by no later than 10pm.  Due to the remote location of the site no trail closures, barriers and signage will be in place, and the operation is at a time when zero park visitation is expected.  A standard “Park Alerts” notice will also be posted on the NPWS website.

  • Feral and pest species management confirmed as part of operation plan

    09 July 2019

    Council has committed and allocated funds for the control and management of feral and pest species on Council lands as part of the  2019/2020 operation plan8MB pdf(PDF, 8MB). Further updates on actions to be undertaken will be provided following discussions with key stakeholders

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This page was last updated on: 09 July 2019