THE SSAA Victoria is calling on Parks Victoria to allow hunters into National Park areas earmarked for a trial helicopter deer culling operation at some stage this year.
PV announced plans for the trial which will occur in an area of park not currently open to recreational hunting.
The trial is designed to control deer numbers in sensitive conservation areas and SSAA Victoria hunting development manager David Laird said there was an opportunity to allow hunters to assist.
“Recreational hunters contribute significantly to the State’s economy and SSAA Victoria has consistently called for increased access to areas of public land for deer hunting,” he said.
“Deer hunters are estimated to have taken nearly 100,000 deer in Victoria in 2016 and contribute in a very significant way to overall population control.
“With increased access and hunting opportunities, this contribution will only get larger.”
He said he supported the trial as recreational hunting alone may not be enough to mitigate negative impacts, especially in sensitive areas or where high deer population densities exist.
“Helicopter culling may well be appropriate in some circumstances,” Mr Laird said.
“However, recreational hunting should always be considered as the initial option where land managers believe that deer numbers need controlling.
“There are cases where deer control activities do need to be targeted in specific areas and SSAA Victoria is involved in a number of programs where this occurs,” he added.
“Different tools and techniques need to be evaluated to understand their effectiveness and limitations.”
Mr Laird said control measures need to be incorporated into an overall management strategy for deer.
“The strategy needs clear objectives with measurable outcomes and stakeholder engagement,” he said.
“An interesting case study involves the control of Sika deer in the Kaweka Forest Park in New Zealand.
“Aerial deer control has been used in conjunction with recreational hunting over many years, with positive outcomes for all stakeholders.
“If aerial deer control were to be introduced into Victoria, the Association would expect extensive consultation from government to develop programs that have similar benefits for all stakeholders.”
Below are details from Parks Victoria about the deer control trial.