With the NSW Government lifting a majority of the deer hunting regulations across NSW, the debate has sparked over the necessity to have a G licence requirement for deer hunters.
It was clear from the announcement that deer hunting is NSW is on a very slippery slope. I do not own a crystal ball. However, I can see in the near future deer being targeted with 1080 poison in parks and forests just like New Zealand.
The suspension of deer regulation was always available to farmers. They could already have seasonal restrictions lifted and spotlight from a vehicle at night on their land when necessary.
The changes have opened the door to anti-hunting organisations to look at mass eradication and call for the declassification of deer as a game species. They beleive removing the deer will remove the desire for people to hunt.
Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said farmers and hunters still need a game licence to hunt deer — unlike other problem species such as rabbits, pigs and foxes.
This is a serious, environmental, agricultural, social problem, it’s an exotic animal, so it should be treated as a feral animal,” Mr Cox said
“There are some good elements in that, but the red tape remains for any farmer who wants to bring in their neighbours, their friends, and even a contractor — they have to get a game licence.
“That is an unnecessary extra step if they’ve got a gun licence that should be enough”.
Mr Cox said farmers are at the mercy of “hunter-friendly” restrictions because of the extra requirement of the game licence, which are compulsory for hunters
“It maybe harks back to a time when it was exciting to release animals from another country to hunt for sport,” he said.
“But it’s a political problem too, because the Shooters party in NSW and Victoria are very dominant, they want to protect deer at the expense of the rest of society.”
However, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Robert Borsak said that was not the case.
“In Victoria, they kill nearly 100,000 deer a year, and again the big problem there is that the national parks are the holding and breeding grounds of these animals,” Mr Borsak said.
“Hunters don’t have enough access to those areas.”
Mr Borsak wants to see national parks in NSW opened up to allow conservation hunting of deer.
“They should only be able to hunt deer or other pest species in those parks,” he said.
“If farmers are really going to make a difference in relation to the invasion of feral animals on their properties, they need to be able to cross that fence and kill those animals if they need to.”
The biggest concern for allowing hunting in national parks is the risk to public safety.
“There always is a safety issue around any of these things,” Mr Borsak said.
“But there’s never been an incident that has involved anybody in a state forest — it just hasn’t happened.
“In fact, more people on a day-to-day basis, visit, camp, bushwalk and engage in state forests around NSW than they actually do in national parks.”
It seems the more that deer are looked at as a pest animal over a game animal the fewer people are going to be able to hunt them. Lobby groups want nothing more than to see these hunting opportunities removed and this announcement has played right into their hands.
I am all for mangement and control, however I would also like to think that one day my children can also head out on a deer hunting trip with their children. The rabbit hole is going to get very deep on this issue and I feel hunters are the ones that are going to loose in the end.