Open season on deer as government relaxes rules

Restrictions lifted on deer shooting in NSW as numbers explode


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Deer are now open game in NSW after regulations on shooting were lifted.

Deer are now open game in NSW after regulations on shooting were lifted.

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Deer numbers have doubled in nine years

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Acting on an explosion in deer numbers, the NSW Government has announced deregulation of deer hunting rules that will allow hunting the whole of the year for certain species.

The relaxation of deer hunting rules has been brought in to help drought stricken farmers in NSW.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, said the suspension of deer hunting regulations is a necessary step to manage abundant wild deer populations.

“Deer numbers are on the rise with our research estimating that they have almost doubled in distribution across NSW since 2009,” Mr Blair said.

“Deer have an impact on farmers, the environment and community through grazing, fence damage, vehicle collisions and damage to native vegetation.

“These impacts are heightened by the current drought conditions, as deer are competing with livestock and native animals for food and water.”

Lifting deer hunting regulations means that seasonal restrictions on the hunting of fallow, red, wapiti and hog deer are suspended. It also means that the use of spotlights and other electronic devices, hunting from vehicles and hunting deer at night on private land is allowed.

Mr Blair said a Game Hunting Licence continues to be required to hunt deer on private or public land in NSW.

“This licence sets out important conditions that require hunting to be conducted safely, humanely and with the permission of the landholder,” Mr Blair said.

Related: Proof deer are out of control - grisly play things in the city

The hunting of deer from vehicles, at night and the use of electronic devices like spotlights will remain prohibited on public lands declared for hunting in NSW for public safety reasons. Hunting regulations around the use of dogs when hunting deer will also remain in force to ensure animal welfare standards are maintained.

Hunters interested in assisting landholders can register with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Game Licensing Unit and be placed on a hunter register that may be accessed by landholders. 

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