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Hog Deer hunter volunteers sought

Hog Deer hunter volunteers sought

Deer hunters are invited to participate in hog deer research in Victoria conducted by the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research.

Funding has been allocated to better understand abundance, population genetics and dispersal patterns of hog deer populations in Victoria.

The information gathered during the project will be used to guide management options for hog deer including the setting of sustainable harvest levels to ensure the long-term viability of populations within their current range as well as to minimise potential impacts on biodiversity and/or agriculture.

A total of 50 sites within the hog deer range (i.e. south and east Gippsland coast) will be sampled as part of this project.

At each site, two heat-in-motion cameras will be deployed from early November and collected in early December 2018.

Tissue samples will also be obtained from hog deer supplied to checking stations during the hunting season for genetic analysis.

Once cameras and images are collected volunteer hunters are being sought to help process the images. Processing will involve viewing each recorded image and identifying any images of Hog Deer and other deer species (i.e. Fallow/Samba deer).

For each deer image, the camera number, date of the image and other details (sex/age class of deer if possible) will need to be recorded on a data sheet, which will be supplied with the images.

The ARI expects to obtain all camera images by mid-January 2019 and will be looking to distribute images to interested members for classification around early February.

Anybody who is interested in helping classify images should contact SSAA Hunting Development Manager David Laird.

Tissue samples for genetic analysis will enable an assessment of dispersal patterns, connectivity and genetic ‘heath’ of the hog deer population.

This information is considered important by researchers for ensuring the long-term sustainability of the core hog-deer population.

Genetic analysis requires a tissue (eg. liver) or blood sample, which will be obtained from hog deer returned to checking stations during the April hunting season.

Samples from any deer shot in the area between Walkerville to Cape Paterson in the west and the area from Orbost to Tamboon in the east are of particular interest.

Hunters are asked to supply the specific location of where the deer was taken in those areas. That information will be kept confidential.