Upper South East landholders concerned over feral deer in the region met in Kingston this week to discuss the issue and new requirements involving the management of the pest.
The meeting, organised by PIRSA, the South East NRM Board and Livestock SA followed the release last month (April) of the revised feral deer management policy.
The aim of the meeting was to assist local landholders struggling against the pest animal and to promote coordinated deer management across neighbouring properties leading towards a sustained reduction of feral deer in the area.
South East Deer Action Group member Gavin Parker from Blackford is a strong supporter of collaborative deer control.
“This neighbouring group control initiative is a good idea,” he said. “To have a consistent control measure in place provides great support to our individual feral deer control work.”
Fellow group member Brett McLaren, also from Blackford, said feral deer numbers still seem to be on the increase in the area.
“I have been part of the aerial cull program over the past two years, which has had good results, but unfortunately not everyone is signing up to it,” he said.
“Deer numbers still seem to be increasing here to the point that every weekend I have to undertake some form of deer control, relying on family and friends to help me.”
Newly appointed statewide Deer Control Coordinator Jennifer Gillis, said feral deer numbers are currently the highest they’ve ever been in South Australia and continue to cause significant economic, environmental and social impacts across key areas of the state.
“Current drought conditions mean deer are desperately searching for food and water,” she said.
“The stark reality however is that feral deer impact agricultural industries and the environment. They eat native plants, pasture and crops, spread disease and cause damage to fencing. They also cause other problems becoming hazards on our roads and attracting illegal hunters both on private and public lands.”
Ms Gillis said under the new policy landholders are now required to:
- Cull all feral deer on their properties
- Feral deer cannot be moved, sold, kept or released
- New deer farms (registered with PIRSA after 1 April 2019) must have boundary fences that meet new fencing standards including being at least 1.9m high and made with prefabricated deer mesh that is attached to a top and bottom strainer wire and posts that are a maximum of 8 metres apart.
“Once over 12 months of age all domestic/farmed deer must be tagged,” she said. “Any domestic deer being moved or sold to another person, sale yard or other property, even those younger than 12 months, must be tagged and the Property Identification Code recorded through the NLIS system.”
Details on the new feral deer management policy including changes to tagging and fencing standards are available from www.pir.sa.gov.au/established-pest-animals