This information sheet is for landowners with concerns about unwanted deer on your land and what you can do about it. Hopefully we can answer most of your questions or, if not, point you in the direction of where you might find the answers. Although deer are not native to Australia, they are classed as a protected species in Victoria. However, the Victorian government, in recognition of the impact deer are having on the environment, farms, private property and our roads have amended some of the laws regarding deer. Principle among these for farmers and other private landowners is that deer are not protected on private property if they “ are causing damage or injury to landowners’ property, infrastructure (e.g. fences), vegetation (e.g. plantations, pasture, orchards) or livestock .” This change in the law, and some others as well, have changed to options private landowners have to combat deer on their land. So what options do you have? Living with deer. Some landowners are perfectly happy having deer on their land, and under current legislation this is perfectly legal. For some people, this may mean fencing off certain sensitive areas from deer. This can be done with electric fences or with high exclusion fences to surround the desired area. Other methods of excluding deer from certain areas include the use of certain breeds of large dog, of which maremmas are a typical example. People have also tried fox scaring devices with some limited effect. Another option involves planting of unpalatable plants to discourage deer from foraging. This option is in its early days, but the list of known plants unpalatable to deer is growing slowly. Fencing deer out. This option is being increasingly used by farmers as the costs and time involved in deer control become untenable. Not that fencing is cheap. Deer are able to leap 2 metre high fences from a standing start and seem quite happy to do so. This makes deer fences quite expensive to install and also to maintain. However, in certain circumstances it is the only realistic option available. This is especially being used by orchardists, vineyards and market gardens, where the risk of deer getting into a crop for just a single night can be devastating. Controlling deer. Note, we have specifically used the term “controlling” deer, rather than “hunting.” This is because the laws relating to the two terms are very different. In short, deer hunting is conducted on crown land, for example National and State parks and reserves. Deer hunters require a special deer hunting permit and are not allowed to use spotlights or thermal imaging equipment. For controlling deer, hunters do not require a deer hunting permit but they do need to carry a letter of written permission (link to permission form) from the owner of the property they are controlling deer on. There are, however, allowed to use spotlights or thermal imaging equipment. For information on controlling deer on controlling deer on private property, look up the Game Management Authority fact sheet, “Control of Deer on Private Property” here. The Cardinia Deer Management Coalition have a list of selected hunters willing to help private landowners in controlling deer. Hunters on this list have been assessed on a number of criteria, including accuracy, equipment and hunting experience.
If you have further questions to ask or would like help in finding a hunter to control deer on your property, please contact us at email@example.com All correspondence will be treated confidentially.