Wild fallow deer population strains Tasmanian agriculture, report finds

OH DEER: A final report on the wild fallow deer population has been published following an investigation by the Legalisitive Council's Government Administration Committee 'A' Inquiry. Picture: Scott Gelston

OH DEER: A final report on the wild fallow deer population has been published following an investigation by the Legalisitive Council's Government Administration Committee 'A' Inquiry. Picture: Scott Gelston

Growing wild fallow deer populations are causing a financial burden for Tasmanians involved in the agricultural, farming and forestry industries.

A government inquiry into Tasmania’s wild fallow deer population found evidence suggesting the belief deer culling permits were difficult to obtain followed confusion about the crop protection system.

The Legislative Council’s Government Administration Committee ‘A’ Inquiry released its final report on Friday, which considered the environmental impacts on public and private land, any impact on commercial activities on private land, the partly protected status of the deer breed and commercial opportunities for use of the wild population.

The committee found, in the report, a the permit system was adequate, but landowner knowledge “varies significantly”.

About 143 permits were issued last year, while 106 were issued in 2015.

The recovery of forests and woodlands was found to be “greatly hampered as a result of the indiscriminate and widespread damage caused by fallow deer”, the report found.

It recommended the Tasmanian Government commission an independent investigation to examine the management of the population, particularly assessing whether the one-year crop protection permit should be extended to five years and if permits should be amended to enable deer to be commercially harvested for human consumption and/or pet food.

Inquiry chair Robert Armstrong MLC said he was pleased by the response to the inquiry the committee had received throughout Tasmania.

“The inquiry has uncovered a number of divergent views on the issue of wild fallow deer and how to best manage them into the future,” Mr Armstrong said.

“It was clear to me that regardless of individual views, people were genuinely appreciative of the opportunity to express their views on the wild fallow deer issue.”

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