Originally published in the Herald Sun
Professional shooters will have deer in their sights again next month when the culling program blasts off again.
Following successful culls in Yellingbo last year, authorised hunters from the Australian Deer Association (ADA) and Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) will ramp up efforts on the western faces of the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
New Authority to Control Wildlife permits have been reissued for another 12-month period and will require renewal in October 2015.
Parks Victoria is happy with the results shown by the program so far, with a total of 58 sambar deer and 45 fallow deer removed.
“We are already beginning to see the positive effects of the program with natural regeneration of ground flora increasing significantly and trails formed by deer now closing over,” Parks Victoria district manager Craig Bray said.
ADA’s deer management committee chairman Steve Garlick said shooters expected to make a good dent in the deer population in the first half of the year.
Mr Garlick said there had been no issues with local landowners or animal liberation groups as a result of the program.
This is the first time Parks Victoria has worked with the ADA to deliver deer management in parks where recreational hunting is not permitted. Sambar and fallow deer have a negative impact on the native vegetation, fauna and creeks, and compete with native wildlife for food. They can also contribute to soil erosion.
There are strict conditions for culling to ensure public safety and animal welfare standards.
Shooting will not be conducted on peak visitor days such as weekends, public holidays, or during school holiday periods.
The program will continue until deer are no longer regularly seen within the parks and reserves.