2020 Deer Harvest Report - Even with Covid Restrictions Hunters Killed 66,000 Deer
Covid restrictions seriously limited Victorian deer hunters; however, they still managed to kill an estimated 69,900 deer in 2020. These deer come at zero expense to the taxpayer; they fill freezers with free-range meat and inject much-needed funds into regional Victorian communities.
The Game Management Authority released the report that stated a 60 per cent decrease on the estimated 173,800 deer harvested in 2019.
Sambar Deer was the most harvested species with an estimated total harvest of 50,635 deer, of which 56 per cent were female. Fallow Deer was the second most harvested species, with an estimated harvest of 11,372 deer, of which 73 per cent were female.
The number of licenced recreational deer hunters peaked at 41,056 by the end of the year.
Of the 41,056 licensed recreational deer hunters, 35 per cent actively hunted in 2020. On average, active deer hunters harvested an estimated 4.9 deer over 10.1 days.
The most popular hunting areas were around the towns of Mansfield, Bright, Jamieson, Omeo and Bairnsdale. The highest number of deer harvested were around the towns of Mansfield, Kinglake Central, Omeo, Myrtleford and Warragul.
The GMA Chief Executive Officer Graeme Ford said the decrease in deer harvest numbers are a result of fewer active hunters in the field during the 2020 deer hunting season.
“Restrictions on recreational activity throughout the year has likely led to the significant reduction in hunter activity and the estimated number of deer harvested.” Mr Ford said.
“The report shows that while the number of deer harvested and days spent hunting in the field had reduced substantially, hunter efficiency remained consistent with previous years.”
“Information about the number of deer harvested by recreational hunters helps to inform decisions about deer management and the management of hunting on public and private land in Victoria.”
Throughout 2020, approximately 2,400 licensed deer hunters were surveyed to gather information about their hunting activity, including how many deer they harvested, where they hunted, what hunting methods were used and the species of deer they harvested.
The report is produced by the GMA in collaboration with the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research.
For a full copy of the Estimates of the 2020 deer harvest in Victoria report visit GMA deer research