New Rules For NSW Deer Hunting

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Deer as a recognised game species in NSW has just had a significant hit on the head with regulations announced that remove the season on fallow and red deer and allow spotlights to be used on private land. 

With these new regulations in place it will be interesting to see if the requirement to have a G licence on private land will also be dropped. 

The status of deer in Australia seems to be on a slippery slide. I feel that this is a step backwards for deer hunters in NSW as problem properties could already have the regs listed to control numbers. Next step will be poisoning.

Hopefully with this comes more hunting opportunity for licence holders in the way of National Parks and the opening of new State forests for hunting.

Need to know:

  • Hunters must hold a NSW General or Restricted game hunting licence to hunt and harvest deer in NSW.
  • From Friday 16 November 2018, some of the normal rules for hunting wild deer are suspended across NSW for a three year period.
  • NSW Game Hunting Licence holders - add your details to the Deer Assistance Hunter Register so landholders may contact you for help managing the impacts of wild deer.

In NSW, wild deer are classified as a ‘game animal’ under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 (the Act). This means that individuals seeking to hunt deer in NSW are required to hold a NSW Game Hunting Licence, either General (private land) or Restricted (public and private). They must also abide by special conditions and adhere to a mandatory code of practice.

Some individuals are exempt from the requirement to hold a licence and obey special conditions for wild deer.

The rules governing hunting of wild deer in NSW are set out in the Act and its Regulation 2012Read the Rules & regulations page for more information.

From Friday 16 November 2018, some of the normal rules for hunting wild deer are suspended across NSW.

Read the suspension order published in the NSW Government Gazette. The order is in effect for three years.


State-wide suspension of certain regulations for hunting wild deer

To minimise the impacts of abundant wild deer herds across the State, some of the deer hunting regulations have been suspended. The current suspension applies across all of NSW for a period of three years.

Wild deer were identified as a priority species in the 11 Local Land Services Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans. Suspending the normal rules for deer hunting allows more options to control and minimise their impacts on landholders, the environment and communities.

Licensed, reputable hunters are invited to add their details to the Deer Assistance Hunter Register so landholders may contact them for help managing the impacts of wild deer.

Being placed on a hunter register is not a guarantee of being called by a landholder or of gaining access to a property to hunt deer.

Wild deer hunting rules

RulePrivate landPublic land 
Must have permission of the landholder before entering any lands to hunt deer Yes Yes Public land – Written Permission from NSW DPI
Must hold a NSW game hunting licence Yes Yes General or Restricted
Must obey the Hunters Code of Practice Yes Yes  
May hunt all deer species all year-round Yes Yes Legal season for fallow, red, wapiti and hog deer suspended
May use a bait, lure, decoy or live animal to attract deer Yes Yes Does not include poison baits
May hunt deer at night Yes No Not suspended on public land due to public safety issues
May use a spotlight or other electronic device Yes No Not suspended on public land due to public safety issues
May hunt from a motor vehicle Yes No Not suspended on public land due to public safety issues
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