Proposed Tasmanian wild fallow deer management plan

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This submission is a response to the invitation by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment to provide feedback on the proposal to develop a ‘Wild Fallow Deer Management Plan’.

The natural environment and agricultural businesses are now bearing the brunt in Tasmania and elsewhere in Australia of an antiquated approach to deer management that prioritises the interests of a relatively small number of recreational hunters. Only about 5000 game licences to hunt deer are issued each year in Tasmania.

The results of this approach are a feral fallow deer population ‘set to explode’, invasion of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and escalating damage to the natural environment and farming business. Any basic cost-benefit analysis is likely to find that the costs of these consequences far exceed any benefits (even in simple economic terms).

A full appreciation of the risks and costs of expanding fallow deer populations and distribution should drive a new approach to deer management in Tasmania. Therefore, we urge the Tasmanian Government to develop a management plan in the public interest and specify policies and actions that will most effectively protect the natural environment, farmers and motorists from the impacts
of deer.

Recreational hunters would play an essential role in this, but their interests should no longer dominate at the expense of nature, farming and people. There will inevitably continue to be ample hunting opportunities no matter how rigorous the management.

Banner image: Fallow buck deer, Michael Palmer CC BY-SA 4.0

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Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area is under threat from deer. The Tasmanian Government knows deer are invading this global treasure but is doing nothing about it.