THE state’s peak farmer group has backed up landholders and pest species experts who dismay the spread of wild deer. Last week the Invasive Species Council claimed the state’s wild deer spread had increased 62 per cent since 2009. NSW Farmers’ Conservation and Resource Management chair Mitchell Clapham said it was time for government to remove it from the game registry and name it a pest.
Mr Clapham’s view mirrors that of numerous landholders and community leaders – that the game status of deer in NSW hinders a co-ordinated approach to controlling an animal that is damaging landscapes and hitting producers’ bottom line.
“By declaring the animal as a pest, our ability to control the species… is enhanced,” he said. “Not only that, all land managers whether they be public or private will have increasing awareness and mechanisms for effective control. One single control means will never be the answer, but the key is coordination by all stakeholders.”
Recreational hunters – led by the Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers Party – does not want the game protection changed. The Greens and affected landholders have accused the party of wanting to preserve deer for hunting at the expense of ag productivity and the environment.
A Shooters Party spokesman said he was confident deer will not be removed from the game registry. Government is expected to announce its position in the coming weeks.