The Hastings Wild Deer Strategy came into effect in May 2016 but it is still too early to assess the impact of the project.
The aim of the two year strategy is to reduce the adverse impact of wild deer in the Port Macquarie-Hastings region, to improve available resources to reduce their numbers and to ascertain priority areas where the issue needs to be addressed.
“It’s very difficult to ascertain whether the population of wild deer has been reduced as there hasn’t been any study to assess their numbers,” North Coast Local Land Services senior lands service officer Geoff LeMessurier said.
“The cost of doing such a study would be of great expense and very time consuming.”
Wild deer have been a concern in the Port Macquarie area since the 1980s and as the Hastings region continues to develop, the negative impacts of wild deer have increased.
Deer are classified as a game animal but the Natural Resource Commission of NSW submitted a report in August 2016 to the state government recommending that the classification changes to pest.
Mr LeMessurier said there a a number of stakeholders who are working together in an effort to reduce the number of wild deer in the area.
He said they are causing the biggest impact in peri-urban areas. The deer trample residential gardens, damage fences and walk on to roads.
Due to the size of the animal, Mr LeMessurier said they pose a big risk to people driving vehicles and there have been a number of collisions.
Mr LeMessurier said stakeholders were working on priority areas and culling in a manner that is safe and professional.
He said wild deer have proven themselves to be a very successful invasive species and hard to control.
For culling methods he said there are two options either by shooting the animal or by capture.
Mr LeMessurier stated that any potential hunters are only allowed on land where there has been approved permission by the landholder and the appropriate steps have been taken to ensure the practice is safe and controlled.
Currently he said there is still more research being done on other methods of control.
Mr LeMessurier said if deers do become classified as a pest then control methods will become easier for farmers to access.