Parks Victoria is implementing a deer control trial in the Alpine National Park to investigate whether ground shooting can be used to mitigate deer impacts on significant environmental values and if so, what are the most efficient and effective techniques.
Parks Victoria will once again partner with the Australian Deer Association (ADA) and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) to deliver the control component of the trial. ADA and SSAA members have significant experience and expertise in deer hunting and will observe state and/or national codes of practice and standard operating procedures. This will ensure that best practices in animal welfare are observed.
This program complements other deer control programs being implemented across the state by Parks Victoria, the ADA and the SSAA.
Recreational deer hunting is a legitimate activity permitted in the area of the park where the trial is being conducted. The trial differs from recreational hunting in that it is aimed at protecting alpine peatlands and will therefore be restricted to the areas where these occur. In these areas, Parks Victoria’s trial will complement the recreational harvest and provide information on the control regime needed, in addition to the recreational harvest, to reduce the impacts of deer to an acceptable level.
The park will not be closed when deer control work is being undertaken, although some localised access restrictions will be applied. Signs will be placed at major access points advising visitors when deer control is being undertaken and which tracks are closed. All personnel involved will be working under the supervision of Parks Victoria staff. They will be readily identifiable and will act in accordance with all legal requirements to ensure the safe use of firearms.
Activities mainly occur at night using spotlights and/or thermal imaging equipment, and most of the work is undertaken on foot.
The first control operation is scheduled for 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th November 2017. The attached map shows the areas in which deer control will occur. Further operations are scheduled for early December 2017, March 2018 and April 2018.
At the conclusion of the deer control trial, Parks Victoria will provide stakeholders and the community with the results and the potential for deer control to continue into the future.