Legislation changes for managing feral deer are may increase illegal hunting in the Hastings, according to Upper House MP Robert Borsak.
Wild deer can now be hunted on private property with the property owner's consent, without holding a NSW Game Hunting Licence. The legislation changes were implemented on September 6.
The changes are designed to support landholders in managing the current drought conditions and deer herds.
Individuals seeking to hunt deer must still hold a NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence on public land such as state forests.
"Removing the game status of deer is simply about bringing its classification into line with other feral animals such as wild dogs, foxes and pigs," said Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall.
"Individuals will still have to seek a landholder's permission to enter their land.
"Changing the game status of deer has not changed the fact those caught illegally hunting and trespassing will still face serious penalties.
"Those caught trespassing on private properties such as farms are set to face tough new penalties recently announced by the NSW Government, which includes jail time."
There are NSW Police investigations into instances of illegal hunting near Wollongong, the Riverina and Cubba.
Closer to home, a privately owned deer was shot, skinned and decapitated in an illegal hunting incident on April 25 near Port Macquarie.
A five year old bison was also illegally shot and skinned, north of Coffs Harbour on June 15.
There is also state-wide rural crime campaign by Crime Stoppers and the NSW Police Force to address the ongoing issues of illegal hunting, stock theft, trespassing and firearm theft.
Upper House MP and leader of the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party Robert Borsak, who has hunted deer for more than 40 years, said the animals have been an issue for the Hastings region since the early 80s.
"Port Macquarie has always had an issue with Rusa deer, as far as I know it goes back a long way," said Mr Borsak.
"What the NSW government has done by removing the requirements of holding a licence to shoot deer is basically send a message to everybody that they can go hunt anywhere they like and shoot whatever they like.
"I think we'll see an uplift in poaching, an uplift in shooting around Port Macquarie and I don't think that is a good thing.
"I'd be surprised if you don't see an uplift in illegal hunting and poaching generally, especially around Port Macquarie where deer congregate on smaller housing blocks."
It's really an exercise by the NSW government in playing politics.Robert Borsak
Mr Borsak said he does not oppose allowing property owners to manage deer on their own properties.
"For local hunters it removes another check or balance they need to have a licence," he said.
"It's just entirely the wrong message and it's not going to help the control of deer in populated areas like Lake Cathie and Port Macquarie."
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council says in its Biodiversity Strategy for 2017-2030 that monitoring and control of wild deer is a high priority.
Wild deer, including Rusa deer, are not native to Australia. They can cause traffic accidents, strip gardens, break fences, damage pasture and trees.
What else is making news?
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.