The East Gippsland Conservation Management Network (EGCMN) has reached out to all private landowners within the Lake Tyers Deer Management Project area, offering support to people experiencing problems with Sambar deer.
Tom Crook, coordinator and programs manager for the network, based in Bairnsdale, said more than 300 letters had been sent out to local landowners in an effort to expand control activities on private land within the broader 380 square kilometre project area.
“This three-year project is the first of its type,” Mr Crook said.
“It brings together private and public land managers, traditional owners, hunters and community environment groups to try and find solutions to the growing deer problem.
“Deer are a complex land management issue as there are no ‘silver bullet’ solutions,” Mr Crook said.
“Deer have now spread throughout virtually every forested environment across the region and beyond and their impacts are increasing, especially when coupled with the effects of the drought and bushfires.”
Mr Crook said he had seen deer hoof prints on the beach, in the snow and “virtually everywhere in between”.
“Deer clearly don’t care about who owns or manages the land, they just go wherever they want,” he said.
Mr Crook said deer were damaging farmers’ crops and “chewing up” rainforest.
Reports of deer wandering into residential areas in Metung and Lakes Entrance are not uncommon, particularly around forested areas.
Mr Crook said for deer management to be effective it required a working together approach by all stakeholders with a vested interest in controlling the populations.
The project is working with accredited hunters from the East Gippsland branches of the Australian Deer Association and Sporting Shooters Association to control deer within the project area where there is evidence of damage to rainforests, farm fences, gardens and crops.
The project is funded by the State Government’s Biodiversity Response Planning initiative, with Mr Crook as a delivery coordinator, working in partnership with the Department of Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), the Gurnaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Parks Victoria, private landowners, hunting associations and recreational hunting groups.
Landowners in the project area who are experiencing problems with deer and require assistance should contact
Mr Crook. “We have the ability to assist landowners by connecting them with accredited hunters and can also help by mapping problem areas,” Mr Crook said.
The project is also trying to understand how much deer control is already being undertaken within the project area with farmers and deer hunters, who are active in the area, encouraged to make contact via the EGCMN website.
Mr Crook said this would enable the project team to better understand the current hunting effort and what is required to manage and reduce populations where needed.
Sambar deer are the target species for deer management on both public and private land in the project area as they account for a vast majority of deer related problems. For further information about the trial visit the EGCMN website.
This map designates the control area in which a local project is seeking to control deer numbers on both public and private land. (PS)