Changes to the management of wild deer on private land in New South Wales were announced today by agriculture Minister Adam Marshall.
The changes, which come into effect on September 6, will exempt recreational hunters from the need to have a game licence on private land. All other laws relating to permissions and firearm licencing will still apply. Hunters also have broad duties under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act which apply to all hunting.
More details on the changes are available on the NSW DPI website.
The change is similar to those made in Victoria in 2014. The Victorian changes included some safeguards to ensure animal welfare and to safeguard against illegal hunting - The Australian Deer Association has urged the New South Wales Government to follow that lead.
The reality is that these changes will have little impact on deer numbers. They will make it easier for neighbouring landholders to work co-operatively on overabundant deer control but are unlikely to lead to any great increase in access for recreational hunters.
Recreational hunters in New South Wales took 30,000 deer last year; over the border, in Victoria, that figure was 120,000. The main difference between the two States is access to public land.
If government and noisy activists are serious about limiting the overabundance of wild deer in New South Wales they should act with urgency to provide more open access to public land in the State for hunting.