DEER numbers are out of control and yet no government authority is able to accurately quantify their numbers in the forests and valleys of the North East.

Member for Benambra Bill Tilley says that is just one of the findings from the Inquiry into the control of invasive animals on Crown land that was tabled in the Victorian Parliament last week. Among the recommendations to fall out of last year’s public forums and study tours,   t included the Kiewa Valley and Bright, was the need to better quantify the feral animal populations in the state, provide funding to farmers to “deer-proof” fences and look at options to commercialise deer culling operations.

Mr Tilley said the extent of the impact and impost of deer has been greatly underestimated.

“While no one can provide an accurate figure on numbers, we do know that 70,000 deer were shot by hunters in 2015 alone,” he said.

“The report says farmers should be able to get money to “deer-proof” their fences and called for a study into how they could be commercially harvested during culling operations. Feral cats are also in the gun, pardon the pun, with laws similar to those applied to wild dogs recommended.”

Mr Tilley said the evidence provided to the committee by North East farmers and hunters was invaluable.

“There is no question that there has been a massive increase in deer numbers in the Kiewa, Mitta and Upper Murray valleys in recent years,” he said.

“The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming – farmers saying stock now have to compete with deer on pastures, smash repairers compare the number of accidents and claims related to deer on roads with kangaroos and people are simply seeing more and more deer.

“A professional shooter told the inquiry that deer sit in the forest fringe abutting farm land during the day and move onto the paddocks to graze at night, sometimes in herds of 50 or 60 animals.

“We saw the antlers and carcasses of 100s of deer at Harry Ryder’s farm at Tawonga.

“I’m no longer on the committee that tabled the report but would hope that everyone who gave evidence or made a submission takes the time to read the recommendations and continue to lobby for change.”

 

The full report is available at http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/enrrdc/article/3002

 

Media Contact: Brad Worrall 02 6024 4488 or 0438 240 510

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