Feral deer in Tasmania

Our Work   |  Feral Animals  |  Deer

Tasmania and Victoria remain the last two states in Australia that continue to treat deer as a hunting resource instead of managing them as the pest species they have become.

Feral deer destroy native vegetation, trample plants and ring-bark young trees. They foul waterholes, cause soil erosion, spread weeds and increase the potential for transmitting diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease.

Tasmania’s population of fallow deer has more than tripled since the 1970s and by 2023 is likely to increase by about 40%. It has been estimated that by mid-century the population could exceed one million.

Feral deer are damaging farming infrastructure and causing crop loss through browsing.

Deer populations are now threatening the world famous Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and there are reports of them moving outside of their range and into new areas across Tasmania, including Bruny Island, the outskirts of Launceston and Hobart, Mole Creek, Deloraine and Dover.

The Tasmanian Government must design and implement a deer management strategy and ensure that:

  • Deer are managed as a pest animal in line with the rest of Australia.
  • Deer no longer receive special protection under the Tasmanian Wildlife Regulations.
  • Surveys of deer encroachment on the TWWHA are completed and acted on.
  • Deer containment lines are drawn at the edge of the TWWHA and other suitable boundaries and resources secured to ensure that all deer beyond containment lines are eradicated.
  • Deer are eradicated from Bruny Island within two years.

Make a submission

The Tasmanian Government has announced the development of a management plan to control deer numbers, and want to hear what you think should be done to limit the spread of deer across the Apple Isle.

Keep deer out of Tassie's World Heritage Wilderness

We need to act fast to protect Tasmania’s incredible Wilderness World Heritage Area and other precious wilderness areas in the state from invading feral deer.

A recent survey of deer numbers show there are at least 54,000 feral deer in Tasmania, and that survey didn’t even cover the World Heritage Area, northwest or southern areas of the state.

Please send Tasmanian minister Guy Barnett an urgent email asking him to stand up for this global treasure and protect it from destructive feral deer.

Impacts of deer on the environment

Greening Australia estimates that 30 per cent of its $6 million budget for the Midlands Restoration Program was spent on deer control and mitigation from deer rubbing and ringbarking trees, deer proof fencing, deer damage costs and deer monitoring. The federal government has identified that feral deer have major impacts on the natural environment:
  • Destroying native vegetation.
  • Trampling plants, grazing, and ring-barking young trees.
  • Fouling waterholes.
  • Causing soil erosion.
  • Spreading weeds.
  • Increasing potential for transmitting diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease.
In 2016 the Tasmanian Legislative Council held an inquiry into Wild Fallow Deer in that state with particular reference to:
  • Environmental impacts on public and private land.
  • Any impact on commercial activities on private land.
  • The partly protected status of fallow deer under the Wildlife (General) Regulations 2010.
  • Commercial opportunities for the use of wild population stocks.
  • Any matters incidental thereto.
The inquiry found:
  • There is limited information on population density and dispersal of deer in Tasmania.
  • Deer can cause extensive damage to commercial and native plant species and research on wider damage limited.
  • Sensitive biodiversity areas are being damaged.
  • Deer have spread into sensitive conservation areas including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and conservation areas on Bruny Island.
  • The Tasmanian Deer Advisory Committee is primarily focused on interests of hunters.

More info