The Tasmanian Fallow Deer Management Plan Meets Opposition

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The Tasmanian Government is delivering on its commitment to modernise the management of Tasmania’s fallow deer population with the release of a new five-year plan. With all deer plans that have hunters’ interests considered, opposition from the greenies and Invasive Species Council is inevitable.

Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, released the 2022 Tasmanian Wild Fallow Deer Management Plan. The plan combines existing and contemporary management strategies to form a single point of reference for deer management in Tasmania.

This balanced approach to deer management will see less taxpayer funded resources being blown on public land deer control.

The plan takes a flexible, balanced and evidence-based approach to address these impacts while aiming to reduce the likelihood of deer populations establishing in new areas and acknowledging that deer are an essential recreational hunting resource.

In line with the Government’s commitment at the 2021 State Election, the potential wider use and sale of wild shot deer products will not be considered until the impact of the deer management strategies currently being deployed are evaluated through the implementation of the Plan.

Both the Bob Brown Foundation and Invasive Species Council have released statements objecting to the plan. 

Media release – Invasive Species Council, 28 February 2022

The Tasmanian Government’s Wild Fallow Deer Management Plan, released Sunday, continues the protection of feral deer within hunting zones and designates deer hunting areas within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The long-awaited plan marks a continuation of feral deer protection in the state despite their escalating economic and ecological impacts and strong views from many Tasmanians that this protection is unnecessary and should stop.

It follows the recent failure by the Tasmanian Government to remove feral deer protections in its Wildlife Regulations Review in December of last year.

‘This plan has been a missed opportunity to dramatically improve feral deer management in Tasmania,’ Invasive Species Council Deer Project Officer Peter Jacobs said.

Stephen Hoppe-fallow in crosshairs

‘While we welcome some of the changes from the draft Wild Fallow Deer Management plan as a result of significant public backlash, particularly in regard to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, we are concerned that farmers will still be required to protect feral deer for hunting in much of the state.

‘In sustainable hunting zones, farmers and other land managers will continue to be hindered by regulations, as they are required to manage feral deer on their own properties to preserve hunting opportunities.

‘We support the state-wide zoning approach, including that the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and Ben Lomond National Park are now wholly in the no deer zone.

‘We are concerned that despite a commitment to eradicate deer within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, a large portion of the property will continue to provide for deer hunting. It is also problematic that management buffers around the World Heritage area are either very small or non-existent.

‘The no deer zone objectives are also very loose. Despite commitments to eradicate deer in national parks, some areas such as Douglas Apsley National Park appear to fall in mixed management zones. This will simply create ongoing confusion. All areas for eradication should be clearly mapped out with populations removed by professional shooters.

‘We are disturbed the plan has no commitment to any population or impact targets and no time-frames for implementation. No deer must mean no deer and the Tasmanian community will be holding the government to account on that.

‘There is an urgent need to significantly reduce the impact of the out-of-control populations of feral deer in Tasmania. This plan needs to be stronger and include a significant commitment to ongoing funding for professional pest control and community led programs, not simply appeasements to the hunting lobby’.

 

Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water

Taking a balanced approach to wild fallow deer management

The Tasmanian Government is delivering on its commitment to modernise the management of Tasmania’s fallow deer population with the release today of a new five-year Plan.

The first Tasmanian Wild Fallow Deer Management Plan brings together existing and contemporary management strategies to form a single point of reference for deer management in Tasmania.

The growing number and widening geographic range of wild fallow deer in the State continues to have increasing economic, environmental and public safety impact.

The Plan takes a flexible, balanced and evidence-based approach to addressing these impacts while aiming to reduce the likelihood of deer populations establishing in new areas and acknowledging that deer are an important recreational hunting resource.

For the first time, three zones will be established to underpin management of the deer population.  There will be a clear focus on seeking to eradicate deer in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area given its high conservation value, as well as in peri-urban areas where deer can present an unacceptable safety risk.  We will also look to partner with the Australian Government on additional management controls in the World Heritage Area.

These new zones also acknowledge that deer will continue to be managed as a sustainable hunting resource within its traditional range, as an important part of our Tasmanian way of life.  Greater flexibility will also be provided to individual land owners and farmers to manage down deer numbers on a property level, where they are having an unacceptable impact on agriculture.

In recognition of the importance of implementing the Plan as a matter of priority, the Government will provide up to $2 million towards resourcing its Actions in the upcoming Tasmanian Budget.  This will include employing an officer dedicated to working with farmers and hunters to increase the take-up of property based game management plans, and support for existing deer farmers to market and showcase their product and support the creation of a Tasmanian Deer Farmers Association.

In line with the Government’s commitment at the 2021 State Election, the potential wider use and sale of wild shot deer products will not be considered until the impact of the deer management strategies currently being deployed are evaluated through the implementation of the Plan.

An initial review of these strategies and their impact will occur 12 months after the commencement of the Plan and following this review and informed by its outcomes, it is the Government’s intention to conduct a limited fixed-term trial to evaluate the potential for deer farmers and landholders to supply value-added wild deer products for the regulated food or restaurant trade. Further analysis will be undertaken over the next 12 months into the potential opportunities and barriers of the use and sale of wild shot deer, to further inform decision making including into food safety, regulatory and other relevant requirements.

The Plan has been developed in stages, with input from more than 300 stakeholders including community members, land managers and the Tasmanian Game Council. This feedback has been critical to the successful development of the Plan and we thank all stakeholders for giving up their time to support this process.

The Government will develop an implementation strategy outlining specific actions, timelines, priorities, resourcing requirements and reporting processes to ensure the five-year Plan is delivered. It is expected that the implementation strategy to be developed over the next 6 months.

A copy of the Plan can be found here: https://nre.tas.gov.au/deer-plan

 

 

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