Originally focusing on the Cape Liptrap area, Tarwin Landcare’s Community Deer Control Group (CDCG) has expanded to include landholders in Tarwin Lower, Fish Creek and even Yanakie.
The CDCG’s goal is to reduce the environmental and agricultural damage done by feral deer through a community-led control program that prioritises safety and animal welfare. Several members are shooting on their own properties and those who do not wish to control deer themselves have access to a trusted group of accredited recreational hunters. Landholders and hunters sign a written agreement covering their arrangement (a pro forma is available here.) The particulars of each agreement vary but can include methods of communication, carcass disposal and whether vehicles, dogs or spotlights are permitted.
Each hunter must also record the number of feral deer seen and shot on each visit. This adds to the growing amount of data being collected by the community via the FeralScan app and more recently, a hi-tech monitoring program funded by a Victorian Landcare Grant. All this data is helping TLG build a more accurate picture of the species, population sizes and movements of feral deer within our landscape.
Since March, CDCG members have killed 160 deer. Most have been fallow deer but recently, a samba was shot at Cape Liptrap. This is concerning as sambar deer are significantly larger than fallow deer and cause even more damage to native vegetation, creeks and wetlands.
TLG is supported by the National Deer Management Program and has been involved in a series of videos to raise awareness about the problem of feral deer. TLG is sharing its knowledge and resources with Fish Creek Landcare Group, the Corner Inlet Landcare Group and Yarram Yarram Landcare Network to assist their deer control efforts. Contact Jenny O’Sullivan for more information at: firstname.lastname@example.org