Feral deer eradication takes off in region

Over 600 feral deer were recently removed from the Limestone Coast landscape as part of a coordinated effort to reduce the pest’s impact on the region’s agriculture, native habitats and public safety.

The five-day aerial culling operation was conducted across 57 private properties and 22 Department for Environment & Water reserves throughout the Limestone Coast. 

The operation is held twice a year and provides essential support to participating landholders to eradicate deer. 

Feral deer can attract illegal poaching, create a public safety hazard and compete with livestock for pasture, as well as causing damage to fences, have the potential to spread disease and considerably impact the region’s biodiversity and agricultural industry.

Under the Landscape SA Act 2019 landholders are responsible for the eradication of feral deer on their properties as the species is a declared pest.

Limestone Coast Landscape Board Feral Deer Project Officer Aidan Laslett said the LC Landscape Board is committed to supporting landholders to eradicate feral deer. 

“Our most recent aerial shoot covered 128,000ha and removed 603 feral deer from the region,” Mr Laslett revealed. 

“The enthusiasm of landholders in the region to participate in the eradication of feral deer is great, and this financial year we have already added 17,000ha to the aerial shooting program compared to last year.”

The LC Landscape Board’s aerial and ground shooting operations removed 1994 feral deer from the Limestone Coast landscape in the 2020/21 financial year.

“The increase in the number of properties participating in our control programs demonstrates the commitment of the community to eradicate feral deer and protect agricultural productivity and biodiversity across the Limestone Coast region,” Mr Laslett said.

“The LC Landscape Board is committed to supporting landholders and my role is to encourage more landholders to participate. By working together we can implement intensive feral deer control at the largest possible scale and make a real difference to achieving eradication and protect our region from feral deer impacts.”

The Limestone Coast Landscape Board is implementing a variety of control tools to achieve eradication such as aerial shooting, use of professional ground shooting contractors, commercial harvesting and supporting partnerships to trial new approaches such as deer traps and thermal-assisted ground and aerial shooting techniques. 

Each program takes into account local terrain and individual landholder circumstances to ensure high standards of effectiveness are achieved. 

To complement the control program, the Limestone Coast Landscape Board is working with deer farmers to prevent farmed deer escaping and supplementing the feral deer population. 

For more information on feral deer management in the Limestone Coast, visit www.landscape.sa.gov.au/lc.

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