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Over 150 deer culled in ‘successful’ aerial deer control program

Lachlan Roberts 14 June 2019 49

The aerial shooting program was undertaken by a team of experienced contractors overseen by the Parks and Conservation Service. File photo.

Over 150 deer have been culled in what the ACT Government has called a ‘successful’ aerial shooting program in the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo River Corridors and surrounding land last week.

Rising populations of fallow deer in the  ACT’s Bullen Range, Woodstock and Lower Molonglo nature reserves prompted ACT Parks and Conservation to order a cull of the feral animals last month. The operation saw 156 deer culled in a week-long shooting program.

In total, 152 fallow deer, four sambar deer as well as 11 feral pigs and one feral goat were culled as part of the program.

ACT Parks and Conservation’s invasive animal manager Oliver Orgill said fallow deer populations in Canberra’s river corridors and surrounding areas had been a major concern for the service, especially in the Lower Molonglo nature reserve.

Calling deer “invasive animals that graze on native plants, kill young trees through antler rubbing and cause damage to sensitive river corridor environments with their hooves”, Mr Orgill said they have the potential to cause significant environmental and agricultural damage if populations are left unchecked.

“We have been able to significantly reduce the emerging feral deer populations in Bullen Range, Woodstock and Lower Molonglo nature reserves and surrounding areas before they have a chance to become established,” Mr Orgill said.

“Of note, we were able to remove over 50 fallow deer from the Lower Molonglo nature reserve which will reduce the likelihood of deer from this population moving up the river corridor and into urban areas.

“This will reduce impacts on our nature reserves and surrounding farmland.”

ACT Parks and Conservation regularly undertakes ground-based deer control programs with previous programs at Googong foreshores removing 430 deer since 2014, and 60 deer in sensitive areas in the Murrumbidgee River corridor since 2015.

Alongside an independent vet who monitored the program to make sure the cull took place humanely, Mr Orgill said the successful cull shows the program is effective and will be implemented again.

“The success of the operation lays a solid foundation and demonstrates this type of program is effective, efficient and operationally sound,” he said. “It will be able to be implemented again in the future to control emerging feral deer populations.

“An independent vet helped monitor the operation and undertook over 50 carcass inspections on the ground. The auditing revealed all feral deer were culled humanely in accordance with operational protocols and no adverse welfare outcomes were reported.

“We thank the public for cooperating with the nature reserve and trail closures for the duration of the program.”

Nature reserves and walking trails, including part of the Centenary Trail were closed while the program took place, but have now reopened.

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49 Responses to
Over 150 deer culled in ‘successful’ aerial deer control program
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rationalobserver 6:53 pm 17 Jun 19

It’s hardly a success when deer are ignored and allowed to breed up to the point where drastic, expensive and socially unpalatable measures like this are required, and then nothing happens until they breed up again and we do it all over again.
Meanwhile, members of local organisations like the ADA would readily volunteer their time to conduct sustained management, which minimises any problems and avoids the need for helicopter gunships all together.
But that’s not sexy and worthy of a headline is it?

9:33 pm 15 Jun 19

They are beautiful, if you go to Crackenback resort you see them around the perimeter

9:31 pm 15 Jun 19

Unfortunately they are pests, althought it is through human that they have become feral??? So who is the real problem ??

3:17 pm 15 Jun 19

Just like our kangaroo cull. They don't use the meat or their skins. They did a big hole & dump the kangaroos body into a pit with all the others they have shot.

8:22 am 15 Jun 19

Aerial culling is never successful. It's disgusting and inhumane. There other ways. If the situation has gotten to this point, the Government has been failing for some time prior. 😡

6:48 am 15 Jun 19

150 deer in all that time! 🤔 there is something wrong with their program. We do that in a few of nights,

5:18 am 15 Jun 19

What a shame they don't use the carcasses.

Skeptic9999 10:37 pm 14 Jun 19

Says aim was preventative (so they dont have to cull larger numbers of deer in later years) therefore the economics is not about how many were shot.

8:31 pm 14 Jun 19

I love how humans make decisions...deer are now biggest problem we have. live by sword, die by sword...

8:02 pm 14 Jun 19

So can someone tell me the total cost including the chopper and shooter for 150 deer 🦌

7:42 pm 14 Jun 19

I hope they made use of the meat and skins...

7:40 pm 14 Jun 19

Killing such a beautiful animal.....i have never seen a wild one in 20 years :(

    8:14 pm 14 Jun 19

    Jackie Fuller, deer are a rapidly increasing problem.

    8:15 pm 14 Jun 19

    John Perkins to who?

    10:17 pm 14 Jun 19

    Jackie Fuller there are a few dead ones between Canberra and Sydney that have been hit by vehicles.

    I have seen a large stag run across the federal near north end of lake George. That would have been like hitting a cow.

    5:23 am 15 Jun 19

    Jackie Fuller just like the wild horses, foxes, pigs, dogs and cats etc they damage the fragile Australian landscape.

    But they should be hunted and use the carcasses in entirety.

    7:50 am 15 Jun 19

    Jackie Fuller would you would rather it die slowly with internal injuries after being hit by a vehicle?

    8:04 am 15 Jun 19

    Jackie Fuller, deer are causing significant harm to the natural environment.

    8:42 am 15 Jun 19

    Jackie Fuller , I was at the NSW/Vic border last weekend near the snowy river and saw about 6 in the space of 2 Kms. That is 6 to many. They are an invasive species.

    9:29 am 15 Jun 19

    Jackie Fuller three weeks ago, one man was killed and another injured in Victoria by a deer. These creatures aren't Bambi.

    10:11 am 15 Jun 19

    Like I said....never seen one!.

    10:15 am 15 Jun 19

    Jackie Fuller You should get out more and don't fall into the "big, beautiful brown eyes" syndrome.

7:12 pm 14 Jun 19


    2:57 pm 15 Jun 19

    Goes with any decent CabSav or I'd recommend one I'm currently on, Lerida Estate 2017 Cullerin Syrah 😊.

    3:27 pm 15 Jun 19

    Very hard to cook venison, even harder to cook than roo. Both good for BB comp prep or when you're cutting for summer.

7:09 pm 14 Jun 19

I hope they saved their skins...

5:40 pm 14 Jun 19

all these blind people who can't see the damage they do have no eye deer. 😂

3:51 pm 14 Jun 19

And what happens to the dead deer? They just leave them?

Why can we go an kill them for food?

3:46 pm 14 Jun 19

Naturally they are not sharing their KPI's with us so for all we know their measure of "success" is just not crashing the helicopter or shooting a person by accident.

1:14 pm 14 Jun 19

Oh deer!

12:47 pm 14 Jun 19

Successful? 🤔

11:28 am 14 Jun 19

Michael Smith if only they had asked you😂

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