Deer are Victoria’s cane toad. They are a pest species that is way out of control and poised to take over the nation – and pigs, goats and horses are not far behind.

Last year the Andrews Government released a draft Victorian Deer Management Strategy. While the draft clearly outlines the many problems deer are causing in Victoria, it fails to identify workable solutions. The draft strategy seems to be largely aimed at protecting recreational hunting – however, that experience is not remotely threatened, unlike the many important habitats being trampled and chomped by deer. (Read our submission.)

The government is yet to release a final deer strategy. Please let the government know that solving the deer problem in Victoria, and the problems caused by other hard hooved feral animals, will not happen without a properly funded, strategic program.

Send your message today calling for a commitment to stopping the havoc that hooved animals cause to Victoria’s natural environment and communities.

Dear Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister Jaclyn Symes, Minister Lisa Neville

I request that you publicly commit to a policy for a significant reduction in feral deer in Victoria, and to reduce the impacts of exploding populations of deer, horses, goats and pigs on native habitats and communities in Victoria.

In recent years deer numbers have increased dramatically, with around one million deer now rampant across the state. They are seriously affecting Victoria’s finest natural areas including the Grampians, Wilsons Promontory and the Murray River’s shores, from the high country to rainforest gullies. Deer are now invading farms and communities in great numbers, even reaching Melbourne’s outer suburbs, and increasingly affecting road safety.

It is unlikely that Victoria will ever be deer free. Recreational hunting can contribute to the control solution, but will never solve the problem. We need a ramped-up range of control methods applied strategically across all land tenures.

That will involve a fair dinkum strategy with a significant contribution from professional pest controllers, as well as the introduction of a targeted deliverable bait for deer, and research into possible biological controls. The current legislation protecting deer as a game species has far outlived its use-by-date.

Please commit to stopping the havoc that hooved animals cause to Victoria’s habitats and communities.

A good policy commitment should:

  • Continue to resource feral horse control in our national parks.
  • Require a clear assessment of the distribution, spread and costs to the community of deer, goats and pigs in Victoria.
  • Ramp up investment and capacity building in the professional pest control sector, including for aerial shooting.
  • Resource research into alternative control methods such as appropriate baits, genetic and/or biological controls.
  • Alter both the Wildlife Act and the Catchment and Land Protection (CALP) Act to recognise all deer as pest species.
  • Streamline the approvals and permits for land managers with legislated obligations to protect biodiversity so, they are automatically able to control deer on land they manage.

These animals are generally as much trouble to farmers and rural communities, as they are to the integrity of our parks and reserves.

Any delay in allocating an effective investment in pest animal control simply exacerbates the impacts, and leaves future governments and land managers with a far more costly burden.

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