Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has applauded regulation changes announced by the NSW Government which will allow farmers and private landholders to be able to better and more easily control the exploding feral deer population

Ms Cooke said that deer currently occupy the unique ‘game species’ classification, meaning a special hunting licence is required to eradicate them. Under the changes anyone with a firearm licence will be able to eradicate deer on private land, so long as they have landholder’s permission.

“This change in regulations come as a huge relief and help to address the surging deer population in parts of the Cootamundra electorate,” Ms Cooke said.

“The deer population has exploded in recent years and become a significant problem for farmers, where deer compete for scarce resources in this drought, and for motorists who may be involved in a serious accident if a deer wanders into the road.

“With numbers soaring, the NSW Liberal & Nationals Government are removing the deer’s semi-protected status to allow landholders to better manage these feral animals.”

Minister for Agriculture Marshall said removing game status would give landholders the upper hand in dealing with surging numbers of the four-legged menace.

“The NSW deer population has exploded in recent years and these feral animals are not only causing grief for farmers battling drought, they’re encroaching on urban areas and creating a hazard for motorists too,” Mr Marshall said.

“Removing game status will give landholders more flexibility to manage deer and will bring its classification into line with other feral animals such as wild dogs, foxes, rabbits and pigs.”

Over the last 10 years the distribution of deer across NSW has increased from approximately 8 to 17 per cent. 

The changes will be made under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 and come into effect on September 6, 2019.