Wild deer management in the headlights


A recent National Workshop focusing on the future of wild deer in Australia has identified significant knowledge gaps that must be addressed to effectively manage this emerging national issue.

The proceedings of the two day workshop, which was held in Adelaide on 17-18 November 2016, have been published online. The workshop identified a need for cost-effective and socially acceptable wild deer management practices.

Dr David Forsyth, Research Officer with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and lead organiser of the National Deer Workshop, said that six introduced deer species occur in the wild in Australia, with all states and territories having at least one species.

“We are hearing reports of wild deer causing environmental, agricultural and social impacts, but the extent and importance of these impacts are not well understood.

“The workshop outlined key national wild deer research and innovation priorities within the four themes of impacts, management tools and systems, monitoring deer distribution and abundance, and community engagement.

“Managing the impacts of wild deer is a national problem and it is hoped that these proceedings will assist agencies with prioritising funding and resources to better understand and minimise the impacts of wild deer in Australia,” Dr Forsyth said.

The workshop proceedings outlined the following as significant gaps which need to be addressed:
Better information on wild deer impacts is required, particularly on agriculture.

  • Most cost-effective and socially acceptable ways to monitor and manage wild deer in Australia are needed.
  • Further develop current and potential tools for controlling wild deer.
  • Better understand how recreational hunters can reduce the impacts of wild deer.
  • Develop better tools for monitoring the distributions and abundances of wild deer..
  • Understand where wild deer will spread to in the coming decades.

The full deer proceedings can be found at – www.pestsmart.org.au/2016-national-workshop-deer-management-proceedings

Image: Red deer, image taken by Peter Tremain