Aerial Deer Cull - Crushing Rural Communities

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The Dargo high plains have always been renowned for its pristine "stalkable" plains.

Being Victoria's most remote town, Dargo's businesses rely heavily on "deer hunting tourism".

Unfortunately, the deer populations on the plains are the next target of Parks Victoria's contracted Arial Shooters.

It's time for deer hunters to make a stand and insist Victoria's premiere game species gets managed as the economic and food asset it is. 

This is only the beginning of a slippery slope. We need to ask ourselves how long before Parks Victoria adopt the approach of DOC in NZ and start dropping baits? We're kidding ourselves if we expect Arial culling is the be-all and end-all of their control intentions. - Emile Theodore

The cull that is a slap in the face to the struggling town of Dargo is set to last a week has been placed smack bang in the middle of the school holidays. 

Local business owners are shattered about the tourism implications long term and the kick in the guts of having the park shut over the first week of school holidays right after COVID. 

Infomation on the cull is very scarce with almost no warning for locals, tourists and hunters. 

Peter Leemon - Owner of the Dargo general store, said: "the use of helicopters to cull Sambar deer in the high country is a complete waste of resources and taxpayer money".

"There are passionate hunters who have been desperate to head to our region to escape the tragedies of 2020".

"By encouraging ethical and responsible hunters to control deer numbers has far more environmental integrity. Using helicopters to cull deer numbers seems morally wrong, as the deer carcass is left in the bush which in turn causes an increase in the wild dog population. Wild dogs also endanger our ecosystem and biodiversity".

"Closing sections of the high country in the first week of the school holidays, with little to no warning creates a further lack of government trust, increases frustration, and causes a safety issue".

"It poses the question – if this type of culling is considered necessary by authorities, why has it been organised for the first week of the school holidays?".

"We’ve all had a tough year, personally and financially. Packing the car, taking the kids to the bush will improve mental health and assist local businesses who have been devastated by natural disasters and COVID".

"Giving hunters the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors again, and fill the fridge with meat, should be their priority".

"As the owner of the Dargo General Store, zero tourism has had catastrophic effects on local businesses. Finally being allowed to invite tourists back to our region only to have this devastating news delivered to us the very day Dan Andrews announced camping is allowed in a regional area is deplorable".

Hunters and our hunting bodies need to make a stand and have a real seat at the table. Hunting is a significant revenue stream for battling rural communities, and the current agenda is putting nails in all these small businesses coffins.

Targeted tax payer funded aerial culls should take place in remote bushland that is not easily accessible to hunters who currently kill over 150,000 wild deer a year in Victoria alone. 

Thanks to Emile Theodore passionate hunter and Dargo Business and Tourism Association president for his opening comments and providing information on what is appearing to be a very targeted cull in more ways than one.

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