The Invasive Species Council today backed moves by the NSW Government that would free up licenced gun owners to shoot feral deer on private property.
“Feral deer are now in plague numbers throughout most of NSW and are causing massive damage to the environment, our farmers and they are even endangering the lives of motorists,” Mr Cox said today.
“The Invasive Species Council backs any moves that will cut red tape for farmers and landholders by allowing them to bring in shooters to control feral deer on their property if they have a gun licence.
“Right now, unless you are the landowner, you need a special game hunting licence to shoot deer in NSW, but if you want to control other feral animals such as rabbits, foxes, feral goats and pigs all you need is a gun licence.
“It’s time to bring the control of feral deer, now in plague-proportions in NSW, into line with other damaging feral animals.
“We believe the NSW agriculture minister Adam Marshall has the power to cut red tape for farmers by either removing the deer’s ‘game’ status or using the Biosecurity Act to remove the requirement for a game licence. We would back moves by the minister to do this.”
The area covered by feral deer in NSW more than doubled in size between 2009 and 2016.
Changes allowing anyone with a gun licence to shoot feral deer on private property would help farmers protect their land and crops, and delivers on a pre-election promise made by this government.
The changes would not allow gun licence holders to shoot feral deer in national parks and they would need the permission of landholders to shoot deer on private land.
The move would help control local populations of feral deer, but NSW still needs a statewide, coordinated approach if it is to make a real impact on out-of-control feral deer numbers.
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.