Bushfire (2020) Recovery

Under the Victorian Government’s $54.5 million investment into the Bushfire Biodiversity Response and Recovery program, $25 million has been allocated to the theme ‘Intensified and sustained management of threats’, which addresses the threat of invasive species (Including deer) after the 2019-20 bushfires. This is complemented by $6.2 million funding under the Australian Government’s Regional fund for wildlife and habitat bushfire recovery.

As part of this, Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are implementing a large-scale, coordinated deer and feral animal control program in parks and reserves across Eastern Victoria and Budj Bim National Park in Western Victoria.  The aim of this program is to remove deer and feral animals from priority fire-affected and adjacent areas, giving native plants, plant communities and animals the best chance of recovery.

The program includes Shooting (aerial and ground) for deer along with other invasive species.

The program has an initial emergency response followed by periodic programs.


Initial emergency response

10 February 2020 to 8 May 2020

255,992 hectares of priority habitat treated

42 days of operation, 73 missions; 210 hours total flight time (i.e. transit and control time) and 152 control flight hours.

1558 target animals controlled: 1,434 Sambar Deer, 39 Fallow Deer (94.5% Deer)

50% Reduction in Deer abundance & density within the effective search areas

Follow up programs

In Dec 2020 it was reported by Parks Victoria that since the program began as an emergency response in February 2020 and a follow up program in spring 2020, more than 4,300 deer have been removed from high-biodiversity value areas using ground and aerial shooting of 6000 total invasive species.

The program recommenced in September 2021 to June 2022 but no further details are published at this stage.

Aerial shooting efficiency:

2021 report: One target animal (not necessarily deer) every 6.4-minutes of flight time.

2020 report: One target animal removed every 2-minutes of flight time.


The actual amount of the program dedicated to feral deer control has not been reported but operational costs it may be in the order of $2-3 million.


Parks where shooting (including deer) has and is taking place :

  • Alfred National Park (ground only)
  • Alpine National Park (ground and aerial)*
  • Anticline Caves Reserve (ground only)
  • Avon Wilderness Park (aerial only)*
  • Bemm River Scenic Reserve (ground only)
  • Brodribb Flora Reserve (ground only)
  • Buchan Caves Reserve (ground only)
  • Budj Bim National Park (ground and aerial)*
  • Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park (ground and aerial)*
  • Cape Conran Coastal Park (ground only)
  • Cobon Nature Conservation Reserve (ground only)
  • Combienbar Nature Conservation Reserve (ground only)
  • Coopracambra National Park (aerial only)*
  • Croajingolong National Park (ground and aerial)*
  • Dawson-Murrindal Nature Conservation Reserve (ground only)
  • Errinundra National Park (ground and aerial)*
  • Fairy Dell Flora Reserve (ground only)
  • Green Hills Nature Conservation Reserve (ground only)
  • Lake Tyers State Park (ground only)
  • Lind National Park (ground only)
  • Martins Creek Nature Conservation Reserve (ground only)
  • Martins Creek Scenic Reserve (ground only)
  • Mount Buffalo National Park  (ground and aerial)*
  • Mount Granya State Park (ground only)
  • Mount Lawson State Park (ground only)
  • Mount Mitta Mitta Regional Park (ground and aerial)*
  • Mount Stewart Nature Conservation Reserve (ground only)
  • Mountain Creek Education Area (ground only)
  • Pheasant Creek Flora Reserve (ground only)
  • The Pyramids Cave Reserve (ground only)
  • Wabba Wilderness Park (ground only)
  • Wood Point Flora Reserve (ground only)