It will soon become easier for farmers and private landholders to control the surging feral deer population.
The state government has acted through a regulation change to remove the game status of feral deer.
The unique "game species" classification of deer currently means a special hunting licence is required to eradicate them.
Firearm licence holders will be able to shoot deer on private land from September 6, under the change, with the permission of the landholder.
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall spoke about the measure during a visit to Lake Cathie on Friday, August 23.
He said the change meant the state could have have a consistent approach to manage and control all feral invasive pest species.
"Deer can be controlled in exactly the same way that we can control foxes, rabbits, feral goats and wild pigs," Mr Marshall said.
There are significant feral deer populations in the Hastings.
They cause car accidents, strip gardens, break fences and damage pasture and trees.
The distribution of deer across the state has increased from about eight per cent to 17 per cent over the past 10 years.
"We are taking these steps primarily because the deer population in the state has exploded in the past decade," Mr Marshall said about the regulation change.
"We are now seeing them encroach on urban and peri-urban areas where they are becoming a huge menace, just not for landholders which they have been for a long time, but now for motorists," he said.
Mr Marshall says the regulation change will not be a panacea alone.
Two major research projects will look at other control measures to get on top of the feral deer problem.
Mr Marshall said the regulation change was the first step to bring the state's exploding deer population under control.
Lake Cathie property owner Scott Castle said the change would be really helpful in keeping the feral deer numbers down but it would take years before they were properly controlled.
Feral deer visit his property every night.
They ate all the leaves from eight olive trees in one night and enclosures now protect the citrus trees.
Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams welcomed the regulation change.
"Anything we can do to put some more control measures in place has got to be a good thing," she said.
"I don't want the community to think we are going to be able to eradicate the deer in an instant.
"It does mean we have another control measure we can utilise."
Mrs Williams said feral deer caused havoc to gardens and triggered car accidents.
"The damage they are doing to our local flora is really noticeable now," she said.
Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox described the regulation change as a paradigm shift.
He said landholders had unnecessary red tape restricting their ability to control deer and the change lifted those restrictions.
"It is a very significant change that we strongly back," Mr Cox said.
He said the problem needed to be urgently addressed.
"We need new measures for control and containment but this change signals the right direction, the correct direction, which has been lacking until now," Mr Cox said.
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.