Shooters and Fishers slam deer pest push

The Natural Resources Commission has recommended that deer be classified as a pest in NSW , but hunters disagree.

Recreational shooters have opened fire on a pest report that recommends feral deer be removed from NSW’s game animal register to prevent damage to farms. 

The Coalition-commissioned draft of the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) Pest Animal Report – released this week – suggests feral deer in NSW be classified as pests so more landowners can contribute to stopping their destructive spread.

However, according to an article in The Land, Shooters and Fishers MP Robert Brown said the idea was amateur and dubbed the report riddled with mistakes.

He argued that keeping deer as game benefited pest management. 

“(Deer) can be controlled by recreational hunters. I’d say 90 per cent of farmers I’ve talked to want deer on their land so they can collect access fees and trophy fees from hunters,” Mr Brown said.

“It’s a collateral benefit that encourages farmers to address the issue.

“And if the farmer is not interested (in having shooters on his property), that’s okay, he can grab a gun and cull them himself.” 

Deer impact farmers by competing with stock for pasture, fouling waterholes, eroding soil, spreading weeds and transmitting pests and diseases.

CSIRO has estimated feral deer numbers at more than 200,000 across the eastern states and South Australia, and NRC commissioner Dr John Keniry said there had been an alarming spread in population and geography in NSW. 

“The current system relies on recreational shooters to control the numbers – which clearly hasn’t happened,” Dr Keniry said.

Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox and a host of conservation groups have backed the full implementation of the draft report. 

But Mr Brown said he would rally recreational shooting groups to share their anger by attending the planned public feedback meetings. 

“I probably can’t say what I really think, but I will say that this report is so full of errors, holes, mistakes and assumptions that it is clear they have taken their evidence from the wrong people,” Mr Brown said. 




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