Game Services Tasmania will oversee an aerial survey of the state's wild fallow deer population in the second half of 2019 to inform management decisions and policies.
Tasmania has long led the way on deer management in Australia, with Quality Deer Management (QDM) being an important part of the management mix since the mid 1990's.
The aim of Quality Deer Management is to promote a healthy deer population in balance with the habitat in which the deer reside. The core principles of Quality Deer Management involve:
- the voluntary restraint in the harvesting of younger antlered males (ages 2.5 and 3.5 year olds),
an increased harvest of female (or antlerless) deer, and
landowners, recreational hunters and Departmental staff working towards common objectives. By reducing the overall deer population, browsing damage (attributable to deer) is reduced, and herd health is improved.
Having well managed deer should mean that deer are not overabundant. Negative impacts for environmental and agricultural assets should be rare be able to be managed by exception.
There is widespread acceptance in Tasmania that some changes to the current arrangements are needed to keep track with changing wildlife populations. Wildlife management is not a 'set and forget' proposition. Quality Deer Management remains the best framework to deal with these challenges.
The Examiner is reporting that the Tasmanian government will choose a successful tender applicant for the aerial survey by the end of July, with the data collected by the end of this year and a report submitted by mid-2020.
The survey covers a broad region of Tasmania where fallow deer are believed to be most widely-distributed - from near Targa in the north, to Kemtpon in the south, and Coles Bay to the Central Plateau taking in areas of the Wilderness World Heritage Area.
The newly-formed Game Services Tasmania determined the aerial approach was most appropriate after discussions with international wildlife population biologists.
Minister for Primary Industries Guy Barnett said the government would also rely on camera traps and "citizen science" to get as much data as possible.
"We are focused on striking a balanced approach between managing the impacts of deer on production agriculture, conservation areas and forestry, as well as managing deer as a valued recreational hunting resource," he said.