A deer management plan will be developed to ensure the Government can continue to balance the impacts of wild deer on agricultural production, conservation areas and forestry, while maintaining deer as a traditional recreational hunting resource.
The management plan will set the direction for the management of wild fallow deer for the next five years and be developed by the Government in consultation with the Tasmanian Game Council and other stakeholders.
It follows the completion of an aerial survey to estimate the number of deer in the traditional Tasmanian deer range, which was a response from the 2017 Legislative Council inquiry into wild fallow deer.
In addition to surveying deer, the aerial survey included Forester kangaroos given the kangaroo range is mostly contained within the deer range.
The survey estimated an abundance of about 54,000 wild fallow deer and about 30,000 Forester kangaroos in the area surveyed, which accounts for the majority of the range of both these species.
This is the first time estimates of the population and geographic distribution of both these species have been scientifically quantified, and this data will be important as a basis from which to monitor how these change over time.
Importantly, the survey confirms there is currently a sustainable population of both wild fallow deer and Forester kangaroo in Tasmania.
The management plan will identify any new actions required, as well as recognise the Government’s Contemporary Quality Deer Management (QDM) Statement released in 2019.
The survey methodology was developed using best practice methods in consultation with the Tasmanian Game Council. The methodology and results have also been independently reviewed and endorsed by two internationally recognised authorities in surveying wildlife populations.
The next step in the census of wild deer is to undertake the camera trapping and citizen science components, which will focus on areas with low deer abundance.