Deer control getting underway on Parks Victoria land

Deer control is being undertaken on Parks Victoria land over the coming months. Picture: ON FILE

By Callum Ludwig

Yarra Ranges residents may notice signs near their favourite parks and trails over the coming months warning them to avoid the area at certain times.

This is because from this month through to August, Parks Victoria is working with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) and Melbourne Water to undertake a deer control program using firearms on their land as part of the Victorian Deer Control Strategy.

Parks Victoria District Manager Charlie Bisset said the Dandenong and Yarra Ranges contain large areas of cool temperate rainforest that are being heavily impacted by invasive species such as deer.

“Deer can cause serious damage to native animals and habitat by trampling and destroying plants, increasing grazing pressure, ring-barking young trees, fouling waterholes, causing soil erosion and spreading weeds,” he said.

“To protect these sensitive landscapes and help reduce the risk of deer and vehicle collisions in the area, Parks Victoria is conducting routine control operations as part of a comprehensive and scientific approach.”

“We are grateful to the local community for their understanding as we temporarily close areas of parkland to undertake this work, including neighbouring residents who are supportive of operations across park boundaries.”

One such Parks Victoria sign was recently discovered at the gate to the O’Shanassy Aqueduct Trail, which stated the area would be closed for deer shooting between 5pm and 6am on the following dates:

22-24 April, 6-8 May, 20-22 May, 3-5 June, 24-26 June, 15-17 July, 29-31 July, 5-7 August and 19-21.

Residents living near Parks Victoria land have been notified via mail and the area will be checked for people before contractors begin work.

Deer management has been on the agenda of both the State and Federal Governments in recent times:

In October 2020, the Victorian Deer Control Strategy was announced, including $18.25 million that was allocated over the last four years for the development and delivery of deer control across Victoria.

The Victorian Government launched the Peri-urban Deer Control Plan in March 2022, identifying priority locations for deer control and aiming to create a long-term and coordinated approach to managing deer populations.

The Australian Government got on board in August 2023 with the National Feral Deer Action Plan in the hopes of helping coordinate and promote the best practices and actions to prevent the spread of feral deer and protect significant sites and areas.

Yarra Ranges Council also had DEECA funding to carry out a pilot deer control program on private and public land in the Yellingbo corridor to help protect the habitat of the Leadbeater’s Possum and Helmeted Honeyeater.