Making deer fair game in relaxed laws

State Government removes game status for deer

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The State Government will make it easier to eradicate deer from private land by removing the game status of the animal.

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The State Government will make it easier to eradicate deer from private land by removing the game status of the animal.

With deer now in plague proportions causing damage to the environment and even endangering the lives of motorists, the regulations will give farmers who are struggling to manage in these severe drought conditions more power to control the increasing deer populations.

"The NSW deer population has exploded in recent years and these feral animals are not only causing grief for farmers battling drought - they're encroaching on urban areas and creating a hazard for motorists too," Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said.

Mr Marshall, who was in Port Macquarie today to make the announcement after month's of discussion, said landholders were fighting these feral animals with "one hand tied behind their back".

"It simply doesn't make sense for deer to have a semi-protected status while their population is soaring," he said.

As it stands, deer are classified as 'game', meaning a special game hunting licence is required to hunt them on private land.

Under the changes, anyone with a gun licence will be able to eradicate them on private land, so long as they have a landholder's permission.

It is understood changes won't mean deer will be declared a 'pest' under the Biosecurity Act but it will bring deer classification into line with other feral animals like wild dogs, pigs, rabbits and foxes.

Removing the game status of deer in NSW would bring it into line with all other states except Victoria and Tasmania, which continue to protect the animal as a hunting resource instead of treating it as a damaging feral pest.

It comes as the deer population has exploded in the last decade seeing an increase in their presence from eight to 17 per cent on the state map in areas including Port Macquarie and the South Coast.

Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams said the changes would come as a huge relief to members in her local community where the deer population had become a significant issue.

"They're damaging farms, causing grief for motorists and encroaching on residential properties," Mrs Williams said.

The Invasive Species Council backed the move that would allow gun licence owners to shoot feral deer on private property.

The changes will be made under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 and come into effect on September 6, 2019

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