Australian Deer Association (ADA) members have begun working with Parks Victoria in the first stage of the Dandenong Ranges Deer Management Program, with some solid results being achieved in the one month the program has been operating.
The program aims to remove some 220 deer from the three reserves and so far ADA volunteers have been able to remove 17 deer (7 sambar and 10 fallow) from the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve.
ADA Deer Management Committee Chairman and ADA program co-ordinator, Steve Garlick, said that progress so far had been good. “This has been an excellent example of hunters volunteering their time and working closely with government land managers to achieve common objectives. The working relationship between our volunteers and the Parks Vic personnel has been exemplary and I cannot speak highly enough of the professionalism and dedication shown by all involved.”
The program has been established to reduce and or remove sambar and fallow deer from Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, Warramate Hills Nature Conservation Reserve and the Dandenong Ranges National Park due to the impacts they are having in these areas. There is no hunting in these reserves as they are small or have high public visitation rates that preclude the ability to have recreational hunting included in their operational management plans. The only way these deer could be managed is via a dedicated deer management program such as this.
Public access to the parks and reserves will be closed to ensure the safety and efficiency of the program during the operations and advertising signs will be displayed at all entrance points to the Park and reserves when shooting is in progress. There will be no shooting operations on weekends, public holidays or during school holiday periods to minimise any impact on the public.
The main methodology used so far is spotlight shooting from a vehicle due to the lack of daylight hours available however as daylight hours increase the program will utilise more traditional hunting methods such as stalking, sit and wait; and still hunting.
“We expect the number of deer taken, particularly fallow, will increase as we move towards more daytime shooting” said Mr Garlick. “Our volunteers will be able to utilise their hunting skill more as we move to daytime shooting although that may create a few headaches if we need to retrieve a whole sambar carcass some distance from formed access roads!”
To ensure that the amenity of these reserves is maintained there is the requirement to remove all carcasses including offal. Carcasses can be used for human or pet consumption and offal is being disposed of offsite by Parks Victoria.
“The ability to use the meat for human or pet consumption is a great benefit for the volunteers and so far all of the volunteers participating have been able to get some fallow or sambar to take home at the end of each evening” said Mr Garlick.
The program is scheduled to run for 12 months and will be assessed as to the ongoing requirements in each park and reserve at the end of this period.
Regarding the current success and future progress of the program Mr Garlick said, “We don’t expect to get every deer in these parks and reserves but we have made a good start. We are looking forward to starting the Dandenong Ranges National Park shortly and continuing to achieve the aims and objectives of the program plus improving the image of deer hunters in the community.”
You can read what the Sydney Morning Herald had to say about the cull HERE.
The Australian Deer Association (ADA) is a national membership based organisation which has been actively lobbying for the effective management of wild deer since 1969. ADA continues to advocate that deer hunting arrangements and deer management policy should be evaluated on research and evidence. ADA offers free advice to landowners on deer management options and can facilitate arrangements with hunters if required. More information can be found HERE.