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The objectives of the draft policy are to:

  • Reduce numbers of feral deer by removing at least 40 per cent of female feral deer from all subpopulations each year.
  • Ensure boundary fences of deer farms meet appropriate construction and maintenance standards.
  • Prevent the release of deer.

The main changes proposed are:

  • Require landowners to remove at least 40 percent of female feral deer from all subpopulations each year.
  • Prohibit movement, possession and sale of deer, except by permit.
  • Permits for keeping deer will be issued by NRM boards (with assistance from PIRSA Biosecurity SA) to all deer farmers, free of charge with minimal reporting. This will exempt deer farmers from control provisions in the same way that permits for deer farmers are currently issued on Kangaroo Island.
  • Farmed deer (over 10 months of age) must have ear tags.
  • White-tailed deer have been included in the policy because there is a small number of feral white-tailed deer in the Northern Territory.
  • Revised minimum fencing standards will be required for new deer farms.
  • Audits of deer fences will be conducted every two years by regional DEWNR staff, and farmers will be required to keep fence maintenance logbooks.

Download the Declared Animal Policy - Feral Deer (DOC 285KB)

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Brian Boyle

20 Nov 2017

If this is going to be developed it should start where information is correct, there are no White-tailed deer in the NT - never have been introduced or on any farms at any stage in the Territory, this sort of incorrect information from a government department just undermines your credibility. Suggest you run a correction straight away.
Brian Boyle, President NT Branch, Australian Deer Association.

Kate Husband > Brian Boyle

21 Nov 2017

Hello Brian,
Thanks for your feedback. We appreciate your local knowledge and will address this during the review. Thanks.
Dr Annelise Wiebkin
Biosecurity Policy Officer
Primary Industries and Regions SA

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Jan Pike

17 Nov 2017

I support feral Deer control but oppose hunting on public land. Public land is frequented by people and I will not feel safe if hunting is allowed in these areas. A push for hunting on public land seems like a waste of time given that the majority of land frequented by Deer is privately owned and pursuing better arrangements for private land would allow much more available space for hunting. Public land can be managed by land managers using the groups mentioned already in this discussion.

Sam Darling > Jan Pike

17 Nov 2017

The safety and conservation concerns for public land is why I suggested further education and licensing for relevant hunters. Yes, there are a number of organisations that the government could use to control populations on public land, however, they don't seem to have been used very effectively in the past. Even so, the hunters that go out as part of those organisations are going to be the same people that would go out as independent hunters, so it shouldn't really make much of difference.

Jan Pike > Jan Pike

17 Nov 2017

Sam Darling my main concern is not feeling safe in public land where hunting is allowed. I do not support hunting on public land. People with Firearms should not be in or near areas open to the general public the risk is too high regardless of the extent of education or licencing. An increase in organised programs should be prioritised on public lands to better manage feral animals.

Kate Husband > Jan Pike

17 Nov 2017

Hello Jan,
Thank you for your perspectives and feedback. It is important that South Australians can feel safe in public places that are preserved for recreation and well-being.
The nature-based tourism sector is very important for South Australia. The State Government aims to make South Australia a world leader in nature-based tourism. The nature-based tourism strategy and plan aim to inject $350 million each year into the state economy and create 1,000 new jobs by 2020. The strategy offers opportunities to further develop experiences that are sustainable, have potential for growth and have proven demand. These include developing:

- Standout walking journeys across the landscape
- Unrivaled native wildlife experiences close to Adelaide
- Immersive marine wildlife experiences without equal
- Cutting edge sensory experiences that leave a lasting impression.

The strategy and action plan are available on the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources website: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/get-involved/nature-based-tourism-plan

When we compare the amount money generated by recreational hunting in Victoria to South Australia, we also need to highlight that the backbone of the recreational hunting industry in Victoria is the Alpine National Park (6,474 square kilometres), which joins up to the Kosciuszko National Park (6,900 square kilometres) in NSW. Together, these two Parks cover more than 13,000 square kilometres – sufficient space for hunters and other Park users. For comparison, the total area of all of our 124 Parks in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty NRM Region and the South East NRM Region is only about 2,300 square kilometres. These areas are frequently used for nature-based tourism and a range of recreational activities.

Dr Annelise Wiebkin
Biosecurity Policy Officer
Primary Industries and Regions SA

Kate Husband > Jan Pike

17 Nov 2017

Hi Sam,
Thanks for your discussion. In relation to your comment about safety and conservation concerns, I agree that being part of an organised hunting group provides for stronger governance and self-regulation, which provides for safer outcomes.

Dr Annelise Wiebkin
Biosecurity Policy Officer
Primary Industries and Regions SA

Sam Darling > Jan Pike

17 Nov 2017

Hi Jan, I agree you should feel safe. However, what makes you think it will be safer having the organised programs? Could the same measures not be implemented for all licensed hunters? Or are you thinking of having specific periods of the year when those programs would take place (like hunting seasons) so that you know when it is and isn't clear for you to go there?

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Sam Darling

17 Nov 2017

There isn't much in the draft policy that mentions hunters. I can see there are a lot of comments here already suggesting improved access for hunters. I would like to see this catered for explicitly, there is no shortage of licensed hunters willing to help out, yet there seems to be a shortage of people actually performing deer control. Open up government land for hunters (not just private property), even if it requires additional education and conditions on our licenses.

Kate Husband > Sam Darling

17 Nov 2017

Hi Sam,
Thanks for your comments. The draft policy highlights the need for more deer to be controlled on both private and public land to reduce impacts of feral deer. As Matthew highlighted, there are programs that link landholders with others who can control feral animals, generally on private land. Staff from our Environment Department also work closely with shooting and hunting groups to control feral deer in several of the parts of South Australia, where deer are impacting farmers and communities. Coordinated approaches are effective and ensure safety for the public. Future management plans will highlight where coordinated control activities should be prioritised.

Dr Annelise Wiebkin
Biosecurity Policy Officer
Primary Industries and Regions

Sam Darling > Sam Darling

17 Nov 2017

Hi Annelise, there are those indirect ways for hunters to be a part of the solution, however, I think it would be a good idea to have this explicitly described in the policy as it can form a very effective strategy.

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Matthew Godson

16 Nov 2017

Landholders experiencing wild deer impacts can utilise the free community pest control program 'SSAA Farmer Assist'. Services are provided by licensed, accredited and insured volunteers. More info can be found by visiting the website https://www.farmerassist.com.au

Kate Husband > Matthew Godson

17 Nov 2017

Hi Matthew
Thank you for your information on the SSAA Farmer Assist program. Staff from our Environment Department continue to work closely with hunting and shooting groups to control feral deer in several of the parts of South Australia, where deer are impacting farmers and communities.
Hunting of feral animals is confined mainly to private property where you have been given written permission to hunt by the landowner. This permission must have been given within the previous six months.

Dr Annelise Wiebkin
Biosecurity Policy Officer
Primary Industries and Regions SA

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Justin Boseley

15 Nov 2017

A managed approach that involves the landowners that require assistance, paired up with hunters that must sit a test or course is an avenue that could be looked at .
This option could be a win / win scenario, with hunters paying a daily fee & the property owner reducing their numbers & making a $ on top of it .
Using or allowing hunters to eradicate feral populations in public lands & national parks has worked for many years in other Australian states “why can’t the nanna state SA follow suit “?

Coming from a back ground of running feral pest eradication programs in Qld , with correct training & subsequent licensing for hunters , liasing with NPWS , local councils & property owners I know it’s a recipe for success.

Kate Husband > Justin Boseley

16 Nov 2017

Hi Justin
Thanks for your feedback on the draft policy. Staff from our Environment Department continue to work closely with hunting and shooting groups to control feral deer in several of the parts of South Australia, where deer are impacting farmers and communities.

As mentioned in my reply to an earlier comment, hunting on public land is not generally permitted in Queensland, Tasmania, ACT, Northern Territory or Western Australia.

Hunting of feral animals on public lands in NSW and Victoria is generally limited to specific State forests (https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/711658/nsw-game-hunting-guide.pdf). In Victoria, hunting is permitted on state forests, forest parks and unoccupied Crown land during specified times (http://www.gma.vic.gov.au/hunting/deer/where-to-hunt#wilderness) and in NSW, hunting deer is permitted in a small number of National, State, Wilderness, Coastal and Regional parks.

I understand that eradication (complete removal) of feral deer has not been achieved in any of these States or parts of them.

Kate Husband
Communications Manager, Primary Industries
Primary Industries and Regions SA

tam baker > Justin Boseley

16 Nov 2017

Kate Deer are not ducks i can draw you a picture but i do hate to trivialize the situation

Justin Boseley > Justin Boseley

16 Nov 2017

I should change my wording from “eradicate” to manage , they seem to be doing a very good of attempting this in Vic & at the same time allowing hunting in several thousand square km of land ( in a safe , managed & successfully manor )

2013 figures - Hunting generates $350 million in economic activity annually, Victoria says
2014 - $439 million

Now imagine this , not only is a feral pest managed by the hunting community “ it also can put $ into the shops , small businesses, ect in small towns & at the same time tax would be earned by the government to pay the wages of primary industries, NPWS ect ect .

Does this not souls like a win / win ?

Kate Husband > Justin Boseley

17 Nov 2017

As indicated in Kate's earlier reply, staff from the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources continue to work with hunting and shooting groups to control feral deer and other declared animals on public land, including our National Parks. I encourage you to join a hunting organisation to become familiar with areas to hunt and processes to obtain landowner permission.

Hunting organisations with specific expertise in South Australian hunting areas and conditions include.
• South Australian Field and Game Association www.safga.org.au
• Sporting Shooters Association of Australia — Conservation & Wildlife Management (SA) Inc. www.conservation-wildlife.asn.au
• Hellenic Shooting Sports Association of South Australia
• Australian Deer Association — South Australia www.austdeer.com.au
• Trophy Bowhunters Club of South Australia www.tbcsa.com.au
• Field and Game Australia Inc. www.fga.net.au
• Quail Tomorrow www.chasa.org.au
The irresponsible or illegal behaviour of some hunters damages the reputation of legitimate hunters and creates unsafe and unsustainable situations. It is important that hunters act responsibly and encourage the rest of the community to do the right thing.

Most hunting laws are contained in the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. Hunters must know these laws. For example, a Basic Hunting Permit is required to hunt deer. Other laws on land management and animal welfare are contained in other Acts and Regulations. A list of these can be found on the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources website.

Dr Annelise Wiebkin
Biosecurity Policy Officer
Primary Industries and Regions SA

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Olivia Franco

15 Nov 2017

Excellent initiative. There is definitely a need to undertake appropriate animal control measures. The govt should explore the suggestions to work with hunters to provide benefit to both parties.

Kate Husband > Olivia Franco

16 Nov 2017

Hi Olivia
Thank you for your feedback, which will be considered in finalising the declared animal policy on feral deer, and future management plans for control of feral deer.

Staff from our Environment Department continue to work with hunting and shooting groups on feral deer control programs in several of the parts of South Australia, where deer are impacting farmers and communities.

Kate Husband
Communications Manager, Primary Industries
Primary Industries and Regions SA

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Ian Preston

15 Nov 2017

Seems to me everyone agrees that some control is needed. There are several stakeholders, the Govt, the landowner, the recreational hunter. Many landowners know what needs to be done but can't afford to pay someone to do and are unwilling for whatever reason to shoot the deer themselves. Many recreational hunters would love to hunt the deer but have very limited places to do it. Could the Govt establish a system (register?) where responsible, police checked hunters could be put in touch with landowners for their mutual benefit?

Kate Husband > Ian Preston

16 Nov 2017

Hi Ian
Thanks for your feedback, which will be considered in finalising the declared animal policy on feral deer, and future management plans for control of feral deer.

Staff from our Environment Department continue to work with hunting and shooting groups on feral deer control programs in several of the parts of South Australia, where deer are impacting farmers and communities.

Kate Husband
Communications Manager, Primary Industries
Primary Industries and Regions SA

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Tony Glasson

15 Nov 2017

Here in the Clare Valley I would love to see deer numbers drastically reduced.
They are a hazard on our roads and need to be culled.
Quite risky driving in the Valley and on the Plains and surrounding country.
If they are farmed for meat they need to have appropriate fencing ( as N.Z. does)

Kate Husband > Tony Glasson

16 Nov 2017

Hello Tony
We appreciate your feedback and perspectives.

The policy review looked into the effectiveness of fencing standards used in other countries and States. The draft policy proposes new fencing standards, which would be enforced where deer are escaping, and requirements to tag farmed deer. I understand that in NZ there is a requirement to tag farmed deer with RFID tags.

Kate Husband
Communications Manager, Primary Industries
Primary Industries and Regions SA

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Simon Burnside

14 Nov 2017

If SA could get just a little bit progressive like Victoria, we could generate substantial income with the regulation and management of the recreational hunting of invasive species. The Victorian Government has managed to generate and promote a sustainable industry around its populations. As an average member of the hunting and outdoors community I can tell you that it frustrates us that there is very little in the way of public lands to access and harvest our own meat, especially with the growing numbers of feral deer gaining footholds throughout the state.

With promotion, training and sound management, humane dispatch of animals and safety become the norm and particpants police each other, NSW has also opened up public lands for the hunting of deer. Lets not be the backward state any longer and ride the crest of this wave.

Kate Husband > Simon Burnside

16 Nov 2017

Hi Simon
Many thanks for your feedback. A State-wide survey highlighted that most South Australians would like the impacts of feral deer to be reduced. We are looking at how other States manage feral deer as part of this policy review process.

In South Australia, when environmental conditions are favourable, hunters (with appropriate permits) are permitted to take ducks and quail on some public reserves. The national parks and forestry reserves in South Australia are typically smaller than those in eastern states, particularly those along the Great Dividing Range. Hunting deer in South Australia’s relatively small parks and reserves may therefore pose risks to public safety, and may detract from the ability of other people to enjoy these places.

With a basic Hunting Permit (and written permission of the land owner) you can also hunt feral animals such as:
• deer
• rabbits
• foxes
• goats
• pigs.
A basic Hunting Permit does not allow you to take:
• protected animals (eg kangaroos)
• domestic stock.
Hunting of feral animals in South Australia is confined mainly to private property where you have been given written permission to hunt by the landowner. This permission must have been given within the previous six months. Hunting permits are available from DEWNR (http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/managing-natural-resources/plants-and-animals/permits-and-licences/Native_animals_in_the_wild/Hunting_Permits).
Hunting on public land is not generally permitted in Queensland, Tasmania, ACT, Northern Territory or Western Australia.

Hunting of feral animals on public lands in NSW and Victoria is generally limited to specific State forests (https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/711658/nsw-game-hunting-guide.pdf). In Victoria, hunting is permitted on state forests, forest parks and unoccupied Crown land during specified times (http://www.gma.vic.gov.au/hunting/deer/where-to-hunt#wilderness) and in NSW, hunting deer is permitted in a small number of National, State, Wilderness, Coastal and Regional parks.

I understand that in Queensland, hunting deer is not permitted on public land, including National Parks. Hunting deer is not generally permitted on public land in the Northern Territory, with some exceptions under the Back-country hunting initiative.

Kate Husband
Communications Manager, Primary Industries
Primary Industries and Regions SA

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tam baker

14 Nov 2017

Hi, just a short comment, Deer can be hunted in all national parks all the way up the eastern seaboard but not in SA, this would have some impact on the numbers I know its not the only solution but it should be worked into the solution as it is good healthy recreation for young and old, baited or poisoned meat is a waste of nature.

Kate Husband > tam baker

16 Nov 2017

Hi Tam
Thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback, which will be considered by PIRSA, the NRM boards and the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, in finalising the declared animal policy on feral deer.

The State Government recognises the need to improve recreational opportunities for all South Australians. Many of our national parks have excellent facilities for camping, walking, bike riding and other recreation. Many parks are conveniently located near urban or peri-urban areas and they are regularly visited by the community.

In South Australia, when environmental conditions are favourable, hunters (with appropriate permits) are permitted to take ducks and quail on some public reserves. The national parks and forestry reserves in South Australia are typically smaller than those in eastern states, particularly those along the Great Dividing Range. Hunting deer in South Australia’s relatively small parks and reserves may therefore pose risks to public safety, and may detract from the ability of other people to enjoy these places.

With a basic Hunting Permit (and written permission of the land owner) you can also hunt feral animals such as:
• deer
• rabbits
• foxes
• goats
• pigs.
A basic Hunting Permit does not allow you to take:
• protected animals (eg kangaroos)
• domestic stock.
Hunting of feral animals is confined mainly to private property where you have been given written permission to hunt by the landowner. This permission must have been given within the previous six months. Hunting permits are available from DEWNR (http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/managing-natural-resources/plants-and-animals/permits-and-licences/Native_animals_in_the_wild/Hunting_Permits).
You indicated that “Deer can be hunted in all national parks all the way up the eastern seaboard”. I understand that hunting deer is not generally permitted in National Parks in Victoria, NSW or QLD, but there are some exceptions.
In NSW exceptions include the coordinated Supplementary Pest Control program, which is managed by the Office of Environment and Heritage. Legal hunting can only occur in specific State forests that have been declared by the NSW Government. For more information, please visit the NSW Game Hunting Guide https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/711658/nsw-game-hunting-guide.pdf (2017).

In Victoria, exceptions include seven National, State, Wilderness, Coastal and Regional parks (for deer hunting). Hunting is also permitted in most Victorian state forests, forest parks and unoccupied Crown land during specified times. For more information on where hunting is permitted and for what species, visit http://www.gma.vic.gov.au/hunting/deer/where-to-hunt#wilderness.

In Queensland, hunting deer is not permitted on public land, including National Parks. Hunting deer is not generally permitted on public land in the Northern Territory, with some exceptions under the Back-country hunting initiative.

Kate Husband
Communications Manager, Primary Industries
Primary Industries and Regions SA

tam baker > tam baker

16 Nov 2017

Hi Kate you have a tough job i can imagine but the last time i recognised quails or ducks causing mass environmental damage well let me see urrrrrm never. The case of hunting birds is totally irrelevant to the current dicussion.

Kate Husband > tam baker

17 Nov 2017

As indicated in one of Kate's earlier replies to Justin, staff from the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources continue to work with hunting and shooting groups to control feral deer and other declared animals on public land, including our National Parks. I encourage you to join a hunting organisation to become familiar with areas to hunt and processes to obtain landowner permission.

Hunting organisations with specific expertise in South Australian hunting areas and conditions include.
• South Australian Field and Game Association www.safga.org.au
• Sporting Shooters Association of Australia — Conservation & Wildlife Management (SA) Inc. www.conservation-wildlife.asn.au
• Hellenic Shooting Sports Association of South Australia
• Australian Deer Association — South Australia www.austdeer.com.au
• Trophy Bowhunters Club of South Australia www.tbcsa.com.au
• Field and Game Australia Inc. www.fga.net.au
The irresponsible or illegal behaviour of some hunters damages the reputation of legitimate hunters and creates unsafe and unsustainable situations. It is important that hunters act responsibly and encourage the rest of the community to do the right thing.

Most hunting laws are contained in the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. Hunters must know these laws. For example, a Basic Hunting Permit is required to hunt deer. Other laws on land management and animal welfare are contained in other Acts and Regulations. A list of these can be found on the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources website.

Dr Annelise Wiebkin
Biosecurity Policy Officer
Primary Industries and Regions SA

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