A feral deer has been videoed swimming near Forster Keys

Imagine Ashleigh Addison’s surprise when she witnessed a lone deer casually swimming across the channel at Piper’s Creek near Forster Keys.

“It’s not something we expected when we were boating across the lake; a deer swimming across the channel,” Ashleigh said.

Taken in late September, 29-year-old Ashleigh said she had never seen such a sight since she began visiting the Great Lakes as a child.

“I thought it was interesting,” she said.

These deer were spotted in the early hours of the morning in Manning Street, Tuncurry during June.

These deer were spotted in the early hours of the morning in Manning Street, Tuncurry during June.

According to MidCoast Council senior ecologist, Mat Bell, feral deer management is regulated by State government agencies, including the Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services.

Interestingly, the Department of Primary Industries’ website says feral deer are not declared pest animals. 

It’s not something we expected when we were boating across the lake; a deer swimming across the channel.

Ashleigh Addison

“Instead, feral deer are declared game animals in NSW, but in some cases are managed as pest animals where they are causing harmful impacts.”

“We are aware of longstanding feral deer issues at Coomba Park as well as significantly emerging feral deer populations in areas such as Forster and other areas and shares the community's concerns about the range of impacts associated with expanding feral deer populations, including human safety and environmental risks,” Mr Bell said.

“Council understands that the Hunter Local Land Services is forming a Hunter Regional Pest Animal Committee, which will oversee the delivery of a Hunter Regional Pest Animal Plan. 

“We expect that feral deer management will be one of the key focus areas of the plan. 

“We have been invited to the committee and will seek to express community views on all feral pest animal management issues, including those relating to feral deer.”