The Australian Deer Association has welcomed the addition of new maps to the Victorian Government’s app More to Explore.
The app is Victoria’s first comprehensive electronic mapping system to display all public land available for hunters and provide information on which species of game animals and pests can be hunted in specific areas.
ADA executive officer Barry Howlett said this was a positive step forward in acknowledging hunting as a valid use of public land.
“This initiative actually over delivers on what was promised in the Sustainable Hunting Action Plan,” he said.
The Government’s $5.3 million Sustainable Hunting Action Plan was adopted to support the game hunting industry's long-term growth.
A Federal Government Department of Health study in September revealed it contributed more than $2.4 billion to the economy and created almost 20 000 jobs.
The maps are also available for download to use offline, making it easier for all Victorian hunters to locate and access areas available for them to legally hunt.
“Including this functionality on More to Explore not only helps hunters to comply with the law and hunt more efficiently; it also sends a message that hunting is a legitimate, sustainable and compatible use of public land in Victoria,” Mr Howlett said.
Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said with more than 50 000 licensed hunters in Victoria clearly showing where people can hunt was an important in making sure hunters were aware of their responsibilities and stay within legal boundaries.
“The new maps are part of our commitment to make sure hunting is conducted in a safe, responsible and sustainable way right across the state,” she said.
She said the app is regularly updated to reflect changes in land status and show road closures and is used by more than 20 000 people to navigate 3.9 million hectares of public land.
It also features an emergency location function for public land users’ safety.
“The app will be a great tool to help hunters stay informed about their favourite hunting locations or explore new ones," Ms Symes said.
The app also provides comprehensive information on state forest camping sites, bushwalking and mountain bike trails, 4WD tracks and seasonal road closures.
More To Explore is available from the iOS App Store and the Google Play store. For more information on game hunting in Victoria, visit gma.vic.gov.au