25 September 2023

Deer shooters to reduce numbers

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The ACT Parks and Conservation Service has announced a week-long aerial shooting program to control fallow deer in the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo River Corridors, beginning next Monday (3 June).

The move follows ground-based deer control programs undertaken in previous years.

Animal Manager for the Service, Oliver Orgill said there were significant emerging populations of fallow deer in the Bullen Range, Woodstock and Lower Molonglo nature reserves.

“Deer are invasive hard-hoofed animals that are unnatural to our ACT landscape and have the potential to cause significant environmental and agricultural impacts,” Mr Orgill said.

“Rising deer populations are a major concern to land managers in the region and unless they are effectively controlled they will have serious impacts on the environmental values of our nature reserves and the productivity of the ACT’s agricultural land.”

He said the deers were destroying young trees through antler rubbing and were eating native plants.

“There are three species of deer in the ACT — fallow, red and sambar — whose populations have been increasing over the last five to 10 years,” Mr Orgill said.

“Fallow deer populations in our river corridors and surrounding areas are a priority concern,” he said.

“Aerial shooting as a control technique, when conducted by experienced operators, is considered a humane method by independent experts for controlling invasive animals, particularly large herbivores like deer.”

He said the operation would be undertaken by a team of experienced contractors overseen by the Parks and Conservation Service, and conducted in targeted areas that were rugged, inaccessible and not suitable for ground shooting.

“For public safety, areas subject to control will be closed for the duration of the cull, warning signs advising of closures will be placed at all entry points to the reserves,” Mr Orgill said.

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