SOMEONE will end up being killed. That's the fear of one Hastings motorist when his car was written off after hitting a large deer on Hastings River Drive.
Mike Chambers is still shaken after the incident on May 23 when he was travelling in his Mazda CX5 on Hastings River Drive in foggy conditions at 5.45am.
"Coming into Port it was a bit foggy with no lights in that area and as I came around the sweeping bend it was just there on the road," Mr Chambers said.
"There was no chance to brake. There was a bang and the car airbags went off, the steering wheel came up at me.
"The motor started to steam and the car was over revving. I was a bit shaken and I thought the car was going to explode because it was such a shock."
Mr Chambers said the experience with wild deer on local roads was not uncommon with his workmates and other residents recounting their close-calls.
"From that experience everyone I've spoken to has got a deer experience, it's such an incredible thing," Mr Chambers said.
"You can't have this sort of thing happening. They're not native and on a main road someone is going to get killed.
Once they start straying onto the roads someone is going to get killed and if I was driving a smaller car I would be in that category.Mike Chambers
"I think humanely, there has to be some kind of cull reduction or something, because you've got to protect the roadway whatever it takes.
"Once they start straying onto the roads someone is going to get killed and if I was driving a smaller car I would be in that category."
Another Port Macquarie resident, who wishes to remain anonymous saidshe car hit a deer around 6pm on May 20, after it bounded onto the road near St Joseph's Regional College.
"It jumped down the bank and on to the road, but because there's no streetlight there I didn't see it until it hit my headlights," she said.
"I have a big car but if I had been in a normal car I wouldn't like to think what it would have done.
"Quite a lot of people have said there are many deer around and to be careful.
"I just let people know, particularly P plate drivers, because they may not have experienced animals coming out on the road."
On May 30 on Ocean Drive near Lake Cathie, a high strike area for motorists, there was another deer hit.
Wild deer have been an issue across the Hastings LGA since the early 80s with control measures to manage population numbers at the forefront of collaborative planning between key stakeholders.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council recognises the safety issues posed by wild deer and has outlined strategies for managing the issue in its Biodiversity Strategy 2017-2030. The major focus of the strategy is to maintain and improve biodiversity and ecological processes by protecting, rehabilitating and managing native vegetation across the Hastings while identifying and mitigating threats.
It states the monitoring and control of wild deer is a high priority.
Council is also a key member of the Hastings Wild Deer Working Group and was instrumental to the formation of the Hastings Wild Deer Management Strategy 2016-2018. The focus of this strategy is to integrate wild deer control practices and establish greater coordination of resources.
North Coast Local Land Services is currently assisting stakeholders in the area to develop a new management plan within the area so that control can be coordinated across all land tenures to improve deer management outcomes.North Coast Local Land Services spokesperson
However deer are not currently listed as a feral animal legally requiring control under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015. The Hastings Wild Deer Management Group has previously worked to have their status as a 'game animal' removed so that regular controlled culling can be undertaken.
In 2018, deer hunting regulations were lifted across the North Coast Local Land Services (NCLLS) region to help licensed hunters assist farmers manage feral deer populations.
The suspension of deer hunting regulations was part of a state-wide approach to keeping numbers in check with a Department of Primary Industries (DPI) study estimating the species has almost doubled its distribution across NSW since 2009.
It is estimated that between 2000 and 5000 feral deer exist east of the Pacific Highway in the Hastings LGA and cause significant damage to local biodiversity, koala food trees and koala habitat, market gardens and household gardens.
With NCLLS and researchers from the Arthur Rylah Institute, council has undertaken studies examining the likely population size of deer within the Port Macquarie area. The results can inform the levels of culling that would be required to achieve a significant decrease in the local deer population.
A NCLLS spokesman confirmed around 90 deer in the Port Macquarie area have been controlled since February 2019.
"North Coast LLS are currently working with over 30 landholders in the area by coordinating a contractor to carry out control work," the spokesperson said. "Other land managers are also carrying out control.
"North Coast Local Land Services is currently assisting stakeholders in the area to develop a new management plan within the area so that control can be coordinated across all land tenures to improve deer management outcomes."
What else is making news, sport?
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, SIGN UP HERE.