Cashing in on deer hunting

 FALLOW deer were first introduced to Tasmania in 1836, and its estimated there are 20,000 in the state.

About 4500 licences are sold each year to take deer, and males can only be hunted in the March open season.

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Australian Deer Association Tasmanian media officer Matthew Allen said licence sales had grown 30 per cent in Tasmania in the last 10 years.

Mr Allen has called on the government to work with hunters, and help promote the recreation.

‘‘It’s growing as it is, but we can use help to continue the growth,’’ he said.

Mr Allen said Tasmania was home to the best managed deer in the Southern Hemisphere.

‘‘It’s the way the hunters and land owners work together,’’ Mr Allen said.

This year, Victoria conducted economic studies to quantify the benefits of hunting and found the recreation was worth $440 million a year.

‘‘We don’t know what it’s worth here,’’ Mr Allen said.

Mr Allen said hunters assisted in controlling possum and wallaby numbers and provided a boost to regional areas.

Small towns like Bothwell and Ross receive big influxes of hunters, who use local accommodation and services.

Allgoods hunting department manager Shane McClenaghan said the outdoors store had noticed an increased demand for hunting equipment.

‘‘It’s certainly growing,’’ Mr McClenaghan said.

‘‘You’ve got people from all walks of life – dentists, doctors, lawyers and then you’ve got blue collar workers – who all mix together,’’ he said.

He said he was impressed with his experiences of hunting clubs.

‘‘If anybody does the wrong thing they get kicked out pretty quick,’’ he said.

‘‘You’ve got shooters and you’ve got hunters.

‘‘Shooters will go and out and shoot anything, and they give the sport a bad name,’’ he said.

‘‘Your true hunter could go for years and not even shoot anything’’.

A government spokesman said the government recognised the social and economic value of recreational activities such as hunting, but had no plans for a formal study.

‘‘We will continue to liaise with stakeholder groups to look at opportunities or concerns that may be identified,’’ the spokesman said.

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