Meander Valley Gazette

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A million deer by 2050

RuralJoanne EisemannComment

MAY 2018 | David Claridge

AN EVER-GROWING presence of wild Fallow Deer around the Meander Valley is encouraging people to speak up and voice their concerns.

Wild deer have been responsible for damage to property and have caused car accidents, the increasing presence is making people question whether the population is becoming too large.

Meander Valley Councillor, Tanya King, has been approached by ratepayers who have alerted her to the safety issues caused by wild deer on the roads.

“There have been collisions causing injury and damage to vehicles on our local roads. Similarly, they are causing damage to rural properties, vegetation and fencing. However, the issue for me is primarily one of safety,” she said.

“I don’t see the need for a feral introduced species to have partial protection, or a "season" at all. The only predator they have here are humans with firearms, and the odd vehicle who hits them when they are where they aren’t supposed to be. It is widely accepted now that the population is spiralling, and it is my view that recreational shooters, and farmers alike should be able to humanely take wild fallow deer without the requirement for a permit.

Media outlets have speculated the state deer population to be between 20,000 – 40,000 and that if there isn’t further control it could reach one million by 2050 if not managed based on UTAS estimates.

Meander Valley deer farmer, Michal Frydrych, agrees and if it can be proven that the numbers are getting out of control, then something must be done.

“If there is an issue with the population, it should be as simple as identifying the problem areas and go through either the hunters or farmers associations and give them the ability to deal with it. This goes for all animals as the wallabies are totally out of control.

A State Government management strategy into the potential of hunting deer for commercial gain has received a submission pushing for wild deer felled in Tasmania to be sold to the public, whereas only farmed deer could be sold before.

“Tasmania has rightfully created a reputation as a pristine area and products, and now we would allow people to shoot a deer, someone then slaughters it in uncontrolled conditions and then they sell it as a pristine product. All you need is for one person to get sick and that is the end of venison market for farmers that have invested large amount of time and money to develop it in the first place,” Mr Frydrych said.

“Tasmanian deer farmers have to go through strict rules with hygiene and how the meat is collected. I get inspected by the biosecurity people, by the council. We have a reputation built on years of following the rules. Only this week we have once again won the best product competition by Delicious food.”

Professor Chris Johnson from the University of Tasmania is conducting some research into the states actual deer population.

Cr King is collecting local data on sightings, and encounters with wild fallow deer in the municipality.

“The data is sporadic, and anecdotal - but it’s a starting point.”

If you have any deer-related issues you can contact Tanya King on 0409 452 642.