Changes to the NSW Government Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 should be a game changer for many farmers and private landholders.
Until Friday, September 6 deer occupied the unique 'game species' classification, which meant a special hunting licence was required to eradicate them.
Under the changes anyone with a firearm licence will be able to cull deer on private land, as long as they have the landholder's permission.
Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead said the changes would come as a huge relief and help to address the surging deer population throughout the Mid Coast.
"On a recent electorate tour I heard first-hand how the deer population has exploded in recent years and become a significant problem," Mr Bromhead said.
"These feral animals cause significant damage to farming properties and exacerbate the impacts of drought," he said.on
"They also pose a significant risk for motorists."
The Mid Coast local government area (LGA) is home to four species of feral deer.
These feral animals cause significant damage to farming properties and exacerbate the impacts of drought.Stephen Bromhead
The rusa deer is probably the most widespread and abundant species in the area, according to a MidCoast Council spokesperson.
Populations of rusa can be found in Coomba Park, Wallingat, south Forster, Green Point and on islands in Wallis Lake.
Feral rusa deer from Coomba Park have spread to Wallis Island, Green Point, south Forster and other locations
There have been increasing sightings of fallow deer in the Tea Gardens, Bundabah and North Karuah areas.
Feral deer have also been reported in public forests and private lands in the mountain ranges and valleys in the west of the council area.
In recent times deer also have been seen in urban areas; public parks and suburban back and front yards.
Most, if not all, populations of feral deer in the area are the result of accidental release or escapes from local farms.
According to a council spokesperson, the population of feral deer in the Coomba Park area originated from animals that escaped from a property at the end of Shallow Bay Road.
About 50 to 70 deer escaped shortly after the property was sold in February 1989.
Based on maximum breeding rates, there was an estimated 800-1000 feral deer in habitats around Coomba Park.
However, no reliable survey has been undertaken to confirm these numbers.
In 2018, the Hunter Local Land Services produced a report entitled Hunter Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan 2018-2023.
The plan guides pest animal control and management priorities in the Hunter region.
This plan identifies a number of actions in relation to feral deer, including specific actions for rusa deer at Coomba Park and sambar deer at Coopernook.
The majority of control actions in this plan seeks to reduce the impacts of feral deer on public road safety and to protect agriculture, biodiversity and urban and peri-urban assets.
The actions of the Hunter Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan 2018 - 2023 are to be implemented and monitored by relevant stakeholders. It is available on-line.
The proper and effective management of feral deer critically requires the co-ordinated involvement of a range of stakeholders.
This involves Hunter Local Land Services, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW Forestry Corporation, NSW Police, Roads and Maritime Services, landholders, council, the community, deer control experts and funding providers.
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