Victorian Deer Control Resources
- plans and strategies
- population dynamics
- species information
- tools and methods
- plans and strategies
- population dynamics
- species information
- tools and methods
Six introduced deer species occur in the wild in Australia, with all states and territories having at least one species present. In comparison to other introduced ungulates in Australia the impacts of wild deer have not been well documented. Globally, wild deer can have a wide variety of negative economic, social and environmental impacts – and some of these impacts are being reported in parts of Australia. However, investment in research and innovation to understand and minimise the negative impacts of wild deer has been ad hoc, with no national coordination. This workshop was held to identify national priorities for research and innovation to improve understanding and management of wild deer impacts in Australia.
In early November 2016, around 40 participants gathered at Howman’s Gap Alpine Centre for the biennial Australian Alps Operations workshop. This report includes the workshop highlights and discussion points
A Before – After Control-Impact experiment reveals that culling reduces the impacts of invasive deer on endangered peatlands.
Authors Sebastien Comte, Andrew J. Bengsen, Elaine Thomas, Ami Bennett,Naomi E. Davis, Daniel Brown, David M. Forsyth. Summary Invasive deer have undesirable impacts on native ecosystems. Culling is commonly used to reduce those impacts, but is expensive and sometimes controversial. It is therefore important to robustly assess how culling reduces …
Overabundant deer populations can cause severe ecological impacts. To inform management decisions and assess the effectiveness of mitigation strategies, land managers require a rapid and cost-effective method for collecting data on both deer density and impacts.
This Framework, which is based on the experience and knowledge gained through the Harrietville Living with Deer project, is for use by land managers and communities wanting to develop a community response to deer impacts in a Victorian community.
A monitoring protocol for assessing changes in deer relative abundance and deer impacts at Lake Tyers, Victoria, Part 1 – Rationale
The objective of this report is to develop an experimental design and field monitoring method to assess the effectiveness of the landscape-scale Deer Control Program in reducing the impacts of sambar on native vegetation in the Lake Tyers area.
A monitoring protocol for assessing changes in deer relative abundance and deer impacts at Lake Tyers, Victoria, Part 2:
This document is Part 2 of the monitoring protocol. It describes the equipment required and how to prepare, set up and conduct the monitoring surveys.
A pilot study examining the ecological and human dimensions of wild deer management, Nariel Valley Victoria
This study explored the ecological and sociological aspects of wild deer management in the Nariel Valley, establishing preliminary data on wild deer abundance and ecological damage. In addition the study examined landholder attitudes toward wild deer to determine some of the factors that might influence people’s attitudes, and the implications for management.
Authors Naomi E. Davis, Ami Bennett, David M. Forsyth, David M. J. S. Bowman, Edward C. Lefroy, Samuel W. Wood, Andrew P. Woolnough, Peter West, Jordan O. Hampton and Christopher N. Johnson Abstract Deer are among the world’s most successful invasive mammals and can have substantial deleterious impacts on natural …
This study aimed to estimate the abundance and distribution of Hog Deer across their range as well as investigate the genetics of the Hog Deer population to examine genetic diversity, population structure and connectivity between local populations as well as effective population size.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) commissioned the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research to evaluate the agricultural impacts of deer in Victoria.
Helicopter-based shooting has been widely used to kill deer in Australasia, but the animal welfare outcomes of this technique have not been evaluated.
Author Tarnya Cox, Research Scientist Department of Primary Industries, Vertebrate Pest Research Unit Summary A thermal survey of Cardinia Creek Catchment was undertaken from 3-4 July 2021. Deer were recorded on 28 of the 35 transects flown during the survey. There were 78 observations of deer (largest group size = …
The rapid adoption of collective impact in Australia and overseas is testament to the fact that current responses to the complex issues of contemporary families and communities are inadequate, and that a holistic and coordinated response resonates with practitioners in the social services sector.
Combining citizen science and recreational hunters to monitor exotic ungulates and native wildlife in a protected area of north eastern Argentina
A systematic management program of exotic wild boar (Sus scrofa) and axis deer (Axis axis) in a protected area of north eastern Argentina (El
Palmar National Park) provided a framework for implementing a wildlife monitoring system based on park-affiliated hunters.
The catch per unit effort of contract shooters was four times greater than that of volunteer shooters. After accounting for key operational costs, the cost per deer killed was 10.1% higher for contract than volunteer shooters. The effectiveness of ground-based shooters is increased by operating at night using vehicles, spotlights and thermal-vision equipment. Contract shooters kill sambar deer at a faster rate, but are slightly more expensive per deer killed, than are volunteer shooters.
A new independent report from Frontier Economics warns that not controlling the impacts of feral deer in Victoria could cost the community between $1.5 billion and $2.2 billion over the next 30 years.
Authors Cumberland Land Conservancy, Landcare NSW, Greater Sydney Landcare Network, Local Land Services and Department of Primary Industries Summary A pictorial guide to identifying deer species and recording deer presence.
Introduced deer species can have negative impacts on agricultural and environmental values. There is concern that deer species are expanding their Victorian distributions through natural and human-assisted dispersal, increasing the biosecurity risk to Victoria. Understanding the current distributions of deer species in Victoria will help inform their management, including as an important game resource.
Introduced deer species are important game animals in Victoria, but in some situations they can have negative impacts on agricultural and environmental values. There is concern that deer species are expanding their Victorian distributions through natural and human-assisted dispersal. Understanding the current distributions of deer species in Victoria will help inform their management.
The purpose of the Plan is to guide deer control and management actions in eastern Victoria from 2023-2028 by identifying priority areas to prevent or minimise the impact of deer on our environmental, cultural, social, and economic values.
Deer are among the most introduced of all large mammals around the world (Lever 1985). This is certainly the case in the southern hemisphere, including Australia and New Zealand (Moriarty 2004a). In both countries, a number of species of deer have increased massively in abundance, as well as distribution, since being introduced. Côte et al. (2004) reviewed the ecological impacts of deer overabundance globally, finding that through their foraging activities they affect the growth and survival of many herb, shrub and tree plant species, changing patterns of relative abundance and vegetation dynamics. Since they are highly adapted large herbivores with multi-chambered stomachs capable of microbial digestion of cellulose and utilisation of relatively low quality forage, most plant species are at potential risk. In turn, these negative impacts on plants can flow on to other organisms including insects, birds and other mammals. Long-term effects of browsing can include a reduction in vegetation cover as well as a loss in diversity of plant species (Rose and Platt 1987; Stewart et al. 1987; Husheer et al. 2003; Husheer and Frampton 2005; Husheer 2007).
This report presents the results of research into the economic, health and wellbeing benefits of recreational hunting by Victorian game licence holders. The scope of the project is limited to expenditure on recreational hunting in Victoria by game licence holders and the resulting flow on economic contribution. This study is not a benefit-cost analysis that assesses the expected benefits and costs of recreational hunting.
‘Reduction in biodiversity of native vegetation by Sambar Deer (Cervus unicolor)’ has been listed as a threatening process under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, and there is concern that native vegetation may be vulnerable to impacts of Sambar Deer immediately post-fire. However, little is known about the impacts of fire on the population levels of Sambar Deer, except that deer are sometimes killed. The objective of this project was to evaluate the effects of the Black Saturday fires on occupancy and abundance of Sambar Deer using pre- and post-fire data from burnt and unburnt habitat.
Aerial shooting from helicopters as an emergency response operation is a highly effective and efficient way to manage introduced animals for the benefit to biodiversity, especially where there is good visibility and in inaccessible or remote terrain. The open canopy, loss of understorey and the congregation of animals around scarce resources as a result of the 2019-20 bushfires provided a time-critical management opportunity perfectly suited for aerial shooting.
Estimates of Harvest for Deer, Duck and Quail in Victoria: Results from Surveys of Victorian Game Licence Holders in 2013
A telephone survey of Victorian hunters was conducted during the 2013 hunting seasons for deer, duck and quail to determine the total harvest for each game type. Game licence holders for each game type (deer, duck and quail) were randomly sampled and interviewed by telephone at intervals during the respective game seasons.
Estimates of maximum annual population growth rates of mammals and their application in wildlife management
In many situations where rm cannot be estimated in the field, or demographic data other than age at first reproduction is lacking, our approach provides an estimate of rm that can be used in population and management models, perhaps most importantly to estimate the proportion of a population that if removed on a sustained basis would drive the population extinct. Our approach can be applied to taxa other than mammals.
To effectively manage game species, it is important to quantify the numbers harvested. To ascertain levels of deer harvested, since 2009, Victorian State Government game management agencies have commissioned a series of regular telephone surveys of randomly selected Game Licence holders endorsed to hunt deer during the game hunting season.
The total estimated deer harvest in 2022 was 123,376 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 98,177-155,042), 49% above the average since 2009 (82,802) but similar to 2018 (121,567) and 2021 (118,874). The similarity in overall annual deer harvest compared to 2021 can be explained by an increase in the proportion of active hunters (39%) and efficiency (19% increase in deer harvested per hunting day) being counteracted by the overall number of hunting days decreasing by 12%.
Overall, this report shows that transect surveys can be a valuable and economic assessment tool. However, it should be integrated with more sophisticated methods over longer time spans to provide a more complete picture of deer
presence in the area.
Twelve surveys provided sufficient data for analysis and seven produced density estimates with coefficients of variation (CVs) ≤ 0.25. Estimated densities ranged from 0.3 to 24.6 deer km−2Camera trap surveys and SMR models provided a powerful and flexible approach for estimating deer densities in populations in which many detections were not individually identifiable, and they should provide useful density estimates under a wide range of conditions that are not amenable to more widely used methods.
Evaluation of an exclusion plot design for determining the impacts of native and exotic herbivores on forest understoreys
Cervus unicolor (sambar) were introduced to Australia in the 1860s (Bentley 1998) and have since expanded their range throughout eastern Victoria and more recently into New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (Moriarty 2004). They are a large deer; mature hinds weigh 130–150 kg and stand up to 1150 mm at the shoulder and stags weigh 200–250 kg and are up to 1300 mm at the shoulder (Bentley 1998; Mason 2006). C. unicolor are opportunistic in their food selection, and depending on availability may be classed as predominantly browsers (Burke 1982; Ngampongsai 1987; Shea et al. 1990; Semiadi et al. 1995), grazers (Padmalal et al. 2003) or intermediate feeders consuming approximately equal quantities of both browse and graze food plants (King 1990; Varman and Sukumar 1993; Stafford 1997). Selective browsing by C. unicolor may impact on species abundance and distribution, and thereby alter species composition of forest types, while social behaviours, such as rubbing and wallowing, may lead to impacts on water quality and biodiversity.
Genetic analysis of the Victorian population provides an
effective tool to ensure management of hog deer addresses questions surrounding
effective population control, game management, and conservation considerations.
Functional responses of an apex predator and a mesopredator to an invading ungulate: Dingoes, red foxes and sambar deer in south-east Australia
Biological invasions by large herbivores involve the establishment of novel interactions with the receiving mammalian carnivore community, but understanding these interactions is difﬁcult due to the large spatiotemporal scales at which such dynamics would occur.
Authors Centre for Invasive Species Solutions. David Forsyth, Sebastien Comte, Andrew Bengsen, Jordan Hampton, Tony Pople. Summary This Glovebox Guide to Managing Feral Deer is a practical resource designed to assist Australian land managers (farmers, public land managers and Indigenous groups) to manage the impacts of feral deer. A large …
Habitat suitability and movement modelling for an increasing population of wild deer in Wollongong, NSW
To address the needs of pest managers within the Wollongong region, this thesis aimed to predict the distribution of potentially suitable habitat, and movement corridors through modelling as well as estimate the relative population density
We propose that interactions between dingoes and introduced wild ungulates depend on the sex–age classes vulnerable to dingo predation, dingo pack sizes, the availability of escape terrain for ungulates and the availability of alternative foods for dingoes. The interplay between environmental conditions and the population growth rate of ungulates, and hence their ability to sustain losses from predation, could also be important. We predict that dingoes will have most impact on the abundance of smaller ungulate species and neonates.