Prime Minister of Tasmania – Taking a balanced approach to wild deer management

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February 27, 2022

Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water







The Tasmanian Government is delivering on its commitment to modernize the management of Tasmania’s fallow deer population with today’s release of a new five-year plan.

Tasmania’s first Wild Deer Management Plan brings together existing and contemporary management strategies to form a single point of reference for deer management in Tasmania.

The increasing numbers and expanding geographic distribution of wild fallow deer in the state continue to have a growing impact on the economy, environment, and public safety.

The plan takes a flexible, balanced and evidence-based approach to dealing with these impacts while aiming to reduce the likelihood of deer populations establishing themselves in new areas and recognizing that deer are an important recreational hunting.

For the first time, three zones will be established to support deer population management. There will be a clear focus on pursuing deer eradication in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, given its high conservation value, as well as in peri-urban areas where deer may pose an unacceptable security risk. We will also seek to partner with the Australian Government on additional management controls in the World Heritage area.

These new areas also recognize that deer will continue to be managed as a sustainable hunting resource within their traditional range, as an important part of our Tasmanian way of life. Greater flexibility will also be provided to individual landowners and farmers to manage white-tailed deer numbers at the property level where they have an unacceptable impact on agriculture.

Recognizing the importance of implementing the plan as a priority, the government will provide up to $2 million to fund its actions in the next Tasmanian budget. This will include employing a dedicated agent to work with farmers and hunters to increase uptake of ownership-based game management plans, and supporting existing deer ranchers to market and showcase their product and support the creation of a Tasmanian Deer Breeders’ Association.

Consistent with the government’s commitment in the 2021 state election, the potential wider use and sale of culled wild deer products will not be considered until the impact of deer management strategies currently being deployed is resolved. will not have been evaluated as part of the implementation of the plan.

An initial review of these strategies and their impact will take place 12 months into the plan and following this review and informed of its results, the government intends to conduct a limited time trial to assess the potential for deer breeders and landowners to provide value-added wild deer products for the regulated food or restaurant trade. Further analysis will be undertaken over the next 12 months into potential opportunities and barriers to the use and sale of wild deer culled, to further inform decision-making, including on food security, regulations and other relevant requirements.

The plan was developed in stages, with input from over 300 stakeholders including community members, land managers and the Tasmanian Game Council. This feedback was critical to the successful development of the plan and we thank all stakeholders for volunteering their time to support this process.

The government will develop an implementation strategy outlining specific actions, timelines, priorities, resource requirements and reporting processes to ensure the achievement of the five-year plan. It is expected that the implementation strategy will be developed over the next 6 months.

A copy of the plan can be found here: https://nre.tas.gov.au/deer-plan

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