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Deer Control program

Parks Victoria trialling aerial deer shooting program

As part of its suite of conservation management programs, Parks Victoria will be trialling aerial shooting of deer in the Mount Buffalo National Park for the first time in Victoria during October 2018.

Parks Victoria regularly undertakes dedicated conservation programs designed to contribute to habitat restoration across all its parks. These programs include activities such as monitoring grazer and plant populations, revegetation, spraying, controlled burning, and animal control programs. They are crucial to restoring habitat and improving overall landscape health.

As part of this overall approach, Parks Victoria is currently undertaking a 3-year program to trial different deer control techniques in the Mount Buffalo National Park. The program will investigate the most efficient and cost-effective methods of managing deer impacts on the alpine landscape.

The trial will occur in the Mt Buffalo National Park from Tuesday 16 October until Friday 19 October 2018 (inclusive). The exact dates are weather dependent.

The program will be targeting Sambar, Red and Fallow deer in the following locations:

  • Mount Buffalo National Park – west of the Mount Buffalo Road (away from the main visitor areas)

These areas will be closed to visitors for the 3-4 days that shooting occurs to ensure the safe implementation of the deer aerial shooting operations.

Parks Victoria will use highly skilled professionals to undertake these operations, which are thoroughly planned and carried out under strict conditions adhering to the Firearms Act. Additionally, the operation will ensure safe, effective and humane practices at all times by obeying the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Parks Victoria advises that no other pest animal species will be targeted as part of this aerial control program.

Planning of the deer control trial

  • The ADA and SSAA have been involved in the ANP Deer Control Trial since the beginning. They participated in the initial Design Workshop, that brought together people with a range of expertise, to develop the trial design, and have helped out on over 30 deer control operations.
  • Parks Victoria values the important contribution SSAA and ADA volunteers make to all its deer management programs.  It intends to maintain these programs, providing volunteers a continuing opportunity to contribute their knowledge and skills to protecting the park’s unique natural values.
  • To date, the focus of the trial has been ground shooting by contractors and volunteers from the Australian Deer Association (ADA) and The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) in two locations within the Alpine National Park - the Bogong High Plains, near Falls Creek, and the Howitt Wellington Plains (or Southern Alps), north of Licola.
  • Successful animal management programs generally employ a range of techniques that are safe, target specific and humane and together achieve the desired result. Parks Victoria is trialling a range of deer management techniques to determine the best combination of approaches for different circumstances that together deliver an effective program that reduces deer impacts.
  • Many of the areas where deer are causing impacts in the Alps are in steep and rugged terrain that is remote and inaccessible.  In these areas, novel techniques are required to control deer. Parks Victoria is trialling aerial shooting as it is likely to be a promising technique for these areas.

Download a copy of the control map