SSAA members have been applauded for the role they played in a trial deer control program carried out by Parks Victoria. The shooting operation went ahead throughout Wilsons Promontory National Park from August 18 to 20 and resulted in 42 hog deer being removed from the area. As well as claiming a significant number of animals, the initiative helped to build knowledge and understanding about the impact of the population of hog deer on the Prom, its habitat and endangered and vulnerable plant species within the park.
Acting chief executive of Parks Victoria Chris Rose said, “We would like to thank all the participants, including the Australian Deer Association, Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia, Game Management Authority, Department of Economic Development Jobs Transport and Resources, Museum Victoria and La Trobe University and look forward to continuing to build on these partnerships…We need to ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect and preserve the health of the Prom, so that it remains a world-class national park and tourist attraction.”
SSAA Victoria Pest Management Coordinator Rhys Coote was happy with how the procedure had been implemented. “It was an extremely professional operation and we hope to see some immediate benefits for the park,” he said. “A lot of planning was done to ensure a safe and effective hunt for these programs. We are really pleased with the results and look forward to further collaboration.”
Equally satisfied about how things panned out was ADA deer management committee chair Steve Garlick. “Volunteer hunters have proven we are professional, skilled, dedicated and, given the opportunity, more than equal to the task of wildlife management, even in the most complex of circumstances,” he said. “It was fantastic to see all these organisations collaborating for a shared environmental objective.”
In addition to removing deer from the region, during the processing phase, veterinarian students from LaTrobe University collected samples for DNA analysis, and Game Management Authority staff weighed and measured the deer to establish their condition.
The park was shut down during the shoot, which also allowed essential maintenance work to take place. Parks Victoria will review the outcome to assess further deer management operations. Not all follow-up campaigns will require full closure of the park.
Wilsons Promontory is the fifth location in the state where Parks Victoria has sanctioned deer culls. Other areas have included the Dandenong Ranges National Park, Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, Warramate Hills Nature Conservation Reserve and the Alpine National Park.