Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Australian Deer Association The Deer Hunting and Wild Deer

VIEWS: 411 PAGES: 38

Australian Deer Association The Deer Hunting and Wild Deer ...

More Info
									 Australian Deer Association

The Deer Hunting and Wild Deer
     Management Strategy


                       PO Box 220, Boronia, 3155
                                     March 2006
                                      5762 1911

1    Everything you wanted to know about traditional deer hunting . . . . . . . . . . . Page 3

2    A Brief History         . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 8

3    Deer hunting is safe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 8

4    A Vision for Deer Management in Victoria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 10
     4.1    Implementing the vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 10

5    The current environment of deer hunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 11
     5.1    The legislative basis for traditional deer hunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 11
     5.2    Memorandum of Co-operation signed with Parks Victoria . . . . . . . . Page 12

6    Position Statements of the Australian Deer Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 14

7    Position Statements - Detail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .           Page 16
     7.1    Game Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .               Page 16
     7.2    Formation of a State Game Authority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                     Page 17
     7.3    Tertiary courses in game management in Victoria . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                             Page 17
     7.4    Property Based Deer Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                        Page 17
     7.5    Research into deer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .            Page 18
     7.6    Opening and closing land suitable for traditional deer hunting . . . .                                  Page 19
     7.7    Deer Hunting Enforcement Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                       Page 20
     7.8    Deer hunting using hounds to trail the scent of sambar deer . . . . .                                   Page 22
     7.9    Applicant for a Game Licence must be members of an
            approved deer hunting organisation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    Page 24
     7.10 Approvals to hunt on licensed land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                      Page 25
     7.11 The management of deer by source of release . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                               Page 26
     7.12 Managing deer populations to minimise impacts for land managers                                           Page 27
     7.13 National Standard for Firearms Safety training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                            Page 28

8    Access for traditional deer hunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 30
     8.1   Grampians National Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 30
     8.2   Snake Island . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 31

9    About the Australian Deer Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 34

10   Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   Page 35
     10.1 The economic value of traditional deer hunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                            Page 35
     10.2 Perceived risks in hunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                Page 35
     10.3 No conflict in the bush . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .             Page 35
     10.4 The Environment Minister on control of deer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                           Page 37
     10.5 Safety statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         Page 37
1     Everything you wanted to know about traditional deer hunting

          QUESTIONS                                     ANSWERS
How many people go              Almost 14,000 in June 2005
traditional deer hunting in
And are the numbers of          Yes. Look at this chart drawn from Department of
hunters increasing.             Sustainability and Environment figures. It shows a
                                steady increase in numbers of licensed traditional deer

What deer do you hunt?          Mainly sambar but some hog, fallow and red deer.
Are they native to Australia?   No, all deer have been introduced - the first introduction
                                in Australia was in 1803.
Where are they from?            The sambar, for example, is from the Indian Sub-
I've never seen one!            No, that's how wild and wily they are!
How big are sambar deer?        Sambar deer are as big as cattle. Hog deer are the
                                size of a goat, fallow deer are larger, and red deer are
                                the size of a yearling steer.

                                                                                    Page 3
So they are not "doe-eyed           No. Sambar deer (below) are far removed from the
bambis" that you hunt?              stylised Walt Disney version of deer. They are rough,
                                    powerful and agile. They have a highly developed
                                    sense of smell and hearing. A Government publication
                                    has said, "These attributes, combined with their
                                    powerful build, speed and stamina, make them elusive
                                    even to the most experienced hunters."1

How wild are they?                  Very. In their native habitat they had to survive attacks
                                    by animals such as tigers and leopards. They have
                                    finely tuned survival skills and instincts.
Do they harm the environment        No. Compared to the dingo, an introduced animal that
or native flora and fauna?          preys on native fauna, the deer have a very low impact
                                    on the environment when the population is managed
                                    using deer hunting.
Where can you hunt?                 In the eastern forested highlands of Victoria for sambar.
                                    The Gippsland coast for hog deer and the Grampians
                                    for red deer. We can hunt in State Forest and some
                                    parts of parks. Fallow deer can only be hunted on
                                    private property
You can hunt in National and        Yes. We can hunt in parts of the Alpine, Baw Baw,
State Parks?                        Mitchell River and Lake Eildon National Parks as well
                                    as some Wilderness Zones.

     Department of Natural Resources and Environment - Alpine National Park Management Plans,
     September 1992

                                                                                                Page 4
How is it that you can hunt in     Well, traditional deer hunting has been consistently
parks?                             supported by the former Land Conservation Council. In
                                   submissions to Land Conservation Council inquiries
                                   few, if any, other user groups make any derogatory
                                   comments about traditional deer hunting.

                                   In each of its land use reviews, the Land Conservation
                                   Council has endorsed traditional deer hunting and
                                   recommended areas for hunting.
How much does it cost to go        Clothing, camping and general gear might be about
deer hunting?                      $1,000. Petrol and supplies might cost another $1,000.
                                   A rifle could cost $1,000. And then you really would
                                   need a FWD vehicle.
So it must be of significance to   Yes, about $40 million per year in Victoria.
the economy?
$40 million!!!                     Yes.
If I went next weekend would I     No, you need to develop quite a few bushcraft and
get a deer?                        hunting skills first.
The following weekend?             No, it might be 2 or 3 years before you take your first
What about a rifle and             The State Government specifies minimum calibres and
Firearms Licence.                  it must be a centre-fire rifle. This means you have to go
                                   through a rigorous testing procedure before you can
                                   buy your rifle. And don't forget first you must get a
                                   Firearm’s Licence under the new laws. Because we are
                                   very concerned about animal welfare and safety in the
                                   bush, you would have to practice with your rifle until you
                                   could consistently hit a 15cm target and make a clean
                                   kill. You would be ethically bound not to take a shot at
                                   a greater distance than you can reliably hit that target.
Do you need a Game Licence         Yes, you must apply for a Game Licence from the DSE.
Is hunting dangerous for other     No, we hunt well away from popular areas and mostly
people in the bush?                during the winter months. Most hunters would only fire
                                   a few shots a year at deer.
Do you use dogs when you are       We can use scent-trailing hounds to follow the scent of
hunting?                           sambar and, hopefully, lead the hunter to the deer.
                                   Specified gun dog breeds can also be used to point
                                   sambar. Hounds and gun dogs must never attack the
                                   deer. Of course we can't use hounds or gun dogs in
                                   National and State Parks.
What breeds are scent trailing     Beagles and Bloodhounds

                                                                                       Page 5
What if a hound gets lost?       Very few get lost. They all have tags and microchips to
                                 ensure that any hound found can be reunited with its
                                 owner. They are like domestic dogs and rely on
                                 humans for their food. There is no evidence of hounds
                                 becoming feral. They generally eventually search out
                                 human company in the bush.
What do conservationists think   Hunters are conservationists. We don't have any real
of deer hunting?                 conflict with the green lobby groups.

                                 Conservationists generally support us because in their
                                 eyes we are removing an introduced animal from the
                                 Australian bush. We don't agree with their reasoning
                                 but the result is the same and everyone is happy.
What about the environmental     We use roads to get to the campsite, but hunting is
impact of deer hunting?          conducted on foot. There is virtually no environmental
                                 impact, and certainly no greater impact than
                                 bushwalking. All we do is walk carefully and quietly
                                 through the bush. Generally we don't follow trails and
                                 don't walk in large groups.
Tell me, why do you hunt?        Well, it’s not much different to fishing, growing
                                 vegetables in the backyard, owning a "hobby" farm,
                                 collecting coins or stamps or going to bric-a-brac sales
                                 and garage sales. These are all expressions of our
                                 inherent instinct to hunt and to gather.
Tell me more                     The average deerhunter is successful on about one of
                                 six hunts. However, traditional hunting is about much
                                 more than killing a wild animal. On occasions deer
                                 hunters have looked at a deer through the telescopic
                                 sights on a rifle but have declined to pull the trigger -
                                 the hunt has been successful.
You mean sometimes hunters       If time and circumstances permit, sometimes hunters
do not take a deer when they     are content just to take a photograph. Taking a game
can                              animal is not the key to an enjoyable hunt, but the
                                 anticipation of doing so is essential to the hunting

                                 People opposed to hunting tend to ignore the fact that
                                 we are a race of hunter/gatherers and that they too rely
                                 on the efforts of other hunter/gatherers.
What about the reports of        Obviously every barrel has a few rotten apples and, to
illegal hunting?                 our great regret, we have our share.
What is being done about         We are working closely with the Victorian Government
illegal hunting?                 for years to eradicate illegal behaviour and secure more
                                 effective enforcement of the Wildlife and Firearms Acts.

                                                                                      Page 6
So what is the Australian Deer    The ADA represents traditional deer hunters and
Association?                      promotes:

                                  •      Responsible and ethical hunting of deer
                                  •      Membership involvement in deer management
                                  •      The right of land managers to effectively deal
                                         with illegally released deer
                                  •      Effective deer population management by land
                                         managers for both public and private land
                                  •      Hunter education

                                  The ADA lobbies:

                                  •      For improved access for deer hunting.
                                  •      Effective deer management, conservation and

                                  The ADA is actively involved in:

                                  •      Promotion of a code of hunting ethics
                                  •      Hunter education
                                  •      Collaborative working relationships with Land
                                         Managers to deal effectively with deer issues

What’s the first thing I should   Join the ADA and do a 2 day hunter education course.

                                                                                    Page 7
2      A Brief History

Currently there are almost 14,000 licensed Victorian deer hunters. There are many deer
hunters who come from interstate as well as a growing number from overseas who take part
in this activity in Victoria. Numbers of licensed deer hunters have grown by over 50% in the
last 6 years and 100% in the last 10 years.

The ADA welcomes this renewal of interest in the age-old traditions of deer hunting.

Deer were first introduced into Victoria in the 1860's by the acclimatisation movement.
Releases of numerous species at this time resulted in four species becoming established in
the wild - sambar, hog, red and fallow deer.

The sambar deer have expanded their range over the past 150 years so that they now
occupy most of the forested country of Eastern Victoria. A small population has also existed
at Mount Cole in Western Victoria for many years. Hog deer have similarly occupied the
coastal areas of Gippsland that suit their requirements. Red deer are established in the
Otways and in the Grampians of Western Victoria. Fallow deer herds have persisted in a
number of locations across the state.

More recently, additional populations of these species and others (rusa, wapiti and chital
deer) are becoming established in the wild, from either deer farm escapes or deliberate
illegal releases to the wild.

Deer hunting has a long tradition in Victoria and has grown rapidly in popularity since the
1960s. The majority of the hunting effort is directed at sambar and hog deer.

The ADA was formed in 1969 and has now grown from a single small branch in Melbourne
to an Australia-wide organisation with thousands of members. ADA is the most significant
deer-related organisation in Australia and produces the magazine Australian Deer and
through an associated organisation, the Australian Deer Research Foundation, has printed a
number of educational deer-related books.

3      Deer hunting is safe

Deer hunting is safe.

It has a safety record that far exceeds many other sporting and recreational activities.

Between 2000 and 2005, in Victoria, there was one death related to deer hunting. This
compares with 109 deaths in other sporting activities. The chart below illustrates the
comparative safety of deer hunting.

The single death involved a participant in deer hunting. This means that between 2000 and
2005 there were no deaths involving non-participants in deer hunting.

                                                                                           Page 8
The deer hunting safety record is excellent given that this is the major winter recreational
use of the alpine area below the snowline including parts of the Alpine National Park,
surrounding State Forest and the Gippsland coast.

The relative safety of deer hunting is also highlighted in “Hospital Admitted sports injury in
Victoria, July 2002 to June 2003" Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset (VAED)

The table below shows the number of hospital admissions for various sports for 2002/03.
This should be compared to just one admission for deer hunting.

                                                                                          Page 9
4   A Vision for Deer Management in Victoria

•   That traditional deer hunting is recognised by the State Government, its departments
    and the general community as a key plank in the environmental, cultural, social and
    economic wellbeing of Victoria in the same way that recreational fishing is currently

•   That deer are managed on public and private land as a valuable public resource for
    the benefit of the whole community, for the benefit of the deer themselves.

•   That a vibrant rural industry is developed, based on traditional deer hunting of legal
    populations in Victoria, including professional hunting guides, taxidermists, media,
    landholders, equipment suppliers and game managers.

•   That a degree course in Game Management be established at a Victorian university.

•   Victoria's sambar and hog deer herds are recognised nationally and internationally
    as a hunting resource of great significance and are valued, protected and nurtured
    by hunters and the general community.

    4.1    Implementing the vision

•   Acceptance by the Government of the ADA Deer Management Strategy.

•   Management of legally established populations of wild deer in Victoria.

•   Acceptance that rural communities could benefit from deer and deer hunting through
    employment and economic development.

•   Acknowledgement of the economic value of traditional established deer populations
    to the community as a means of securing management for those deer populations.

•   More effective enforcement in relation to the illegal release of deer.

•   More effective management of illegal deer populations so as to minimize conflict with
    rural land managers and conservation values.

•   Minimisation of illegal or unethical hunting practices that tarnish the image of deer

•   Development of Property Based Game Management programs based on the U.S
    and Tasmanian models.

•   Acceptance of professional guides to cater to a market segment that is the most
    likely to generate economic benefits to rural communities.

•   Ownership of land by hunters for hunting with a view to catering for metropolitan
    based hunters or to provide hunting opportunities for less common species, such as
    hog and red deer.

•   The training and employment of professional game managers by government.

                                                                                    Page 10
5      The current environment of deer hunting

       5.1     The legislative basis for traditional deer hunting

Traditional deer hunting has a strong basis in legislation.

•      The National Parks Act specifically permits traditional deer hunting in several parts of
       a number of parks.
•      Hunting is a use compatible with parks and reserves as provided for in the preamble
       to the National Parks Act and in sections of the Act, which specifically permit
       traditional deer hunting in some parts of some parks.
•      The objects of the National Parks Act provides for "the use of parks by the public for
       the purposes of enjoyment, recreation or education and for the encouragement and
       control of that use."

For wilderness parks there is reference to "for the use and enjoyment of those parks by the
public ... appropriate self-reliant recreation ..."

In relation to State Parks, "make provision for the public to observe, experience or otherwise
become acquainted in those parks with the countryside and rural skills activities".

The preamble to the Act does specifically mention "hunting". The preamble to the National
Parks Act states, “... (d) areas of natural beauty or interest primarily for recreational and
educational use but parts of which may be used for primary industry, hunting, shooting,
fishing or other uses appropriate to the areas;"(our emphasis)

•      Traditional deer hunting in Victoria has been accepted without comment for decades.
       The recent anti-hunting attitude comes from a small but vocal minority whose
       perception on public land management is elitist and purist.
•      It is only about 150 years ago that the prevailing attitude was to bring deer species to
       Victoria and assimilate them into the local environment. There is nothing to say that
       the current minority adverse attitude towards hunting is right or correct. In 50 years
       time the majority attitude might strongly support hunting as a return to the roots of
       human behaviour.
•      State Government funded research into attitudes of people visiting the bush (see
       appendices) also shows that people do not object to hunting.

Deer have been hunted on public and private land in Victoria for many years. In 1975 after
lobbying by hunting organisations, the Wildlife Act was proclaimed, this Act still forms the
basis for game (including deer) hunting in Victoria. Through this Act all deer species are
declared protected wildlife and most are classed as game, with four of those species having
proclaimed open seasons.

During the 1970s and 1980s the Land Conservation Council (LCC) of Victoria evaluated the
use of public land in Victoria and made recommendations to Government. Almost
invariably, these recommendations were accepted by Government. The LCC was generally
very sympathetic to hunting of deer on public land and with few exceptions recommended
that it should continue in areas that had traditionally been hunted, including in Coastal, State
and National Parks and on State Game Reserves.

A hunter must have a firearms licence to own a firearm in Victoria. As a centre-fire rifle is
required by law for hunting deer in this state, a category B licence is required. Testing to

                                                                                        Page 11
obtain a licence usually takes two hours but the applicant will have to wait at least a month
to do the test, then up to two months for the licence to be processed, then another month for
an application for a "Permit to Acquire" a firearm, so overall from deciding to start hunting to
being able to hunt will take the prospective hunter about four months. During that time the
prospective hunter will usually read and study all he can about deer and hunting, and may
join the ADA and attend a deer hunter education course.

A game licence is required in Victoria to hunt deer. This is issued by DSE and costs about
$40 per year.

The Hunting Advisory Committee (HAC) is a ministerial advisory committee comprising key
stakeholders, including ministerial, DSE and hunting organisation representatives, which
advises the Minister on hunting matters. The HAC also investigates and reports on issues
as directed by the Minister.

The Wildlife (Game) Regulations specifies what deer may be hunted and the methods and
times they can be hunted. DSE publish a small book, The Victorian Hunting Guide, yearly.
This guide is a wealth of information of where and when people may hunt deer and other
game species.

Bag limits and hunting restrictions are required to ensure fair utilisation of the resource.
Hunting methods are based on ethical hunting principles developed by the hunting
organisations and these are encapsulated in the wildlife regulations and the Code of
Practice for the Welfare of Animals in Hunting.

       5.2     Memorandum of Co-operation signed with Parks Victoria

The Australian Deer Association has signed a Memorandum of Co-operation with Parks
Victoria. This Memorandum "will preserve and enhance recreational deer hunting (stalking)
opportunities and apply science for improved management of wild deer populations in
Victoria's National and State Parks and Reserves."

This memorandum will provide the framework for suitable outcomes to Parks Victoria and
ADA in the following areas:

•      Research. The parties will cooperate in promoting, planning, supporting, reviewing
       and communicating research to facilitate a better understanding of deer species,
       sustainable management of deer populations and impacts on biodiversity. This may
       involve contributing to, and commenting on, management strategies to implement
       research findings.

•      Management Plans. The memorandum supports the establishment of a structured
       consultation process for park management plans, where the Australian Deer
       Association (Victoria) provides early input during the development of the draft
       management plan. The sharing of information and discussion at this early stage will
       enable The ADA to provide valuable comment on deer management, hunting
       management, tourism and recreation proposals in a timely manner.

•      Education. Opportunities exist under the memorandum to instigate programs to
       educate park users, hunters and the community about the benefits of hunting in
       parks and the involvement of hunters in the management of deer.

                                                                                         Page 12
•   Deer management. ADA will be able to assist Parks Victoria in the physical and
    theoretical management of deer populations in any park through the provision of
    expert personnel and knowledge gained worldwide in deer biology and deer
    management. ADA has members trained to recognised and accredited professional
    shooter standards that can be utilised at Parks Victoria direction to control deer as

                                                                                  Page 13
6      Position Statements of the Australian Deer Association

       6.1     Game Management

A program of game management should be introduced into Victoria

       6.2     Formation of a State Game Authority

Over the longer term, the Government should consider the establish a game only, or game
and fish council as a statutory authority, with full responsibility for the management of game
and fish by recreational users.

       6.3     Tertiary courses in game management in Victoria

The Government should assist in establishing tertiary courses in game management in

       6.4     Property Based Deer Management

Through its game management policies, the Government should encourage and facilitate
the establishment of Property Based Game Management such as exists in Tasmania and
South Australia.

       6.5     Research into Wild Deer

Funding should be made available to enable research into all free ranging deer species in
Victoria in order to determine what effect they have on the environment, if any, and to
enhance the economic value of those species to the Victorian community.

       6.6     Bunyip Sambar Project

The ADA continue its sambar deer research project in the enclosure in the Bunyip State

       6.7     Opening and closing land suitable for traditional deer hunting

Deer hunters should have access to all public land in recognised deer habitat where there
are no substantiated safety issues. ADA recognises that in some areas, access may have
to be restricted such as is now the case in some National Parks.

The Government should establish a Deer Hunting Area Access Procedure in order to have
an efficient, transparent and methodical process for considering requests to open public
land to deer hunting.

       6.8     Deer Hunting Enforcement Strategy

the Government needs to develop and implement a comprehensive Deer Hunting
Enforcement Strategy

                                                                                       Page 14
       6.9     Deer hunting using hounds to trail the scent of sambar deer

The ADA is developing policy in this area to ensure the future of using hounds to trail the
scent of sambar deer

       6.10    Applicants for Game Licence (deer) must be a member

An applicant for a Game Licence (deer) must be a member of an approved deer hunting

       6.11    Approvals to hunt on licensed land

The Government should amend the Firearms Act 1996 to change the provision under which
all licensed land is regarded as private land.

       6.12    The management of deer by source of release

The management of deer needs to reflect the source of their release. While sambar deer
should be managed as a valuable game resource, recent illegal releases of fallow deer from
farms should be eradicated

       6.13    Managing deer populations to minimise impacts for land managers

The Government should embrace the assistance that deer hunters can provide in managing
deer to minimise impacts for land managers.

       6.14    National Standard for Firearms Safety training

All deer hunters should be required to undertake appropriate training and achieve an
acceptable level of proficiency in bushcraft, marksmanship and navigation before they hunt
in the field.

                                                                                       Page 15
7      Position Statements - Detail

       7.1    Game Management

Position Statement - A program of game management should be introduced into Victoria

Game should be managed with sustainable and environmentally sound strategies that
ensure not only long term survival, but that the populations are managed for maximum
sustained annual harvests. Game management should ensure that habitat is healthy as this
is important for both agriculture and the local wild species. This is the concept of game
management developed by Aldo Leopold and strongly supported by the ADA.

Wildlife are accepted as part of the natural environment but should also be regarded as a
potential asset by landowners and land managers.

Unfortunately in Victoria, game management is characterised by disregard and neglect just
as hunting management is characterised by regulation and prohibition.

              7.1.1   The current situation

The Australian Deer Association considers that the Game Management Unit (GMU) in the
DSE should, as its name implies, deliver game management in Victoria.

Game management consists of:

•      Habitat management.

The GMU should seek to enhance habitat for game in Victoria. It should then be dealing
with other areas of government involved in land management to ensure, that wherever
possible, game management objectives are accommodated. For example, it should be
dealing with Parks Victoria on management plans. This could be as simple at ensuring there
is suitable habitat on state game reserves for hog deer which is a premier game species.

•      Population management.

The GMU should be researching and assessing the health and viability of game in Victoria.
Again, it should be dealing with other levels of government to ensure that in whatever
policies are being developed, an account be taken for the game present in these areas.

•      Hunter management

The GMU does currently devote some attention to hunter management. Unfortunately, this
most relates to restriction and prohibition. The GMU should also be dealing with hunters to
expand opportunities and encouraging the best in hunter behaviour.

              7.1.2   What is required

The first step is the development of a coherent game management policy within
Government. Preferably this should be evolved with an input from hunting organisations. .
The preparation of this could be facilitated by the Hunting Advisory Committee (HAC) with
the input of the hunting organisations, the department, Parks Victoria and the Bureau of

                                                                                    Page 16
Animal Welfare. This would have the advantage of setting the scene for all parties as to
what objectives were being pursued and allows for input from all stakeholders.

Once a coherent game management plan is prepared, the GMU would need to be funded
and staffed accordingly

It would be expected that the game management above would require the appointment of a
suitably qualified game biologist to ensure the success of the program. The experience of
this person would be paramount to the success of the program, as this person would need
to give direction to and oversee the game managers in the field.

The establishment of a game management policy would require the appointment of game
managers. They would probably work under the supervision of the game biologist. There
might be four game managers working out of locations such as Wangaratta, Bairnsdale,
Horsham and either Warragul or Melbourne.

       7.2     Formation of a State Game Authority

Position Statement - Over the longer term, the Government should consider the
establishment of a game only, or game and fish council as a statutory authority, with full
responsibility for the management of game and fish by recreational users.

A properly resourced State Game Authority (SGA) that is administered by hunters,
fishermen, game biologists and ecologists who are dedicated to the enhancement of this
public resource and the opportunities that this resource offers the broader community
should ensure the introduction of world best practice game management into Victoria.

Victoria is well poised to reap major economic gain from the enhancement of game hunting.
Victoria has significant populations of four of the six Australian deer species, the best
system of State Game Reserves in Australia. These current advantages could be
maximised for the benefit of the whole community, in particular rural communities, by proper
management and encouragement.

       7.3     Tertiary courses in game management in Victoria

Position Statement - The Government should assist in establishing tertiary courses in
game management in Victoria

When the government embraces the need for game management, personnel with
qualifications in game management will be required to administer the direction of that

This is a new concept only to Victoria, as this is standard practice overseas and States in
Australia such as Tasmania and NSW.

       7.4     Property Based Deer Management

Position Statement - Through its game management policies, the Government should
encourage and facilitate the establishment of Property Based Game Management such as
exists in Tasmania and South Australia.

                                                                                       Page 17
Increasing urban populations and the scarcity of available game to hunt means an
opportunity exists for the farming community to capitalise on this demand and generate a
secondary income, without detriment to the main farming focus. A win-win situation for both
farmer and hunter.

There is a pressing need for the development of Property Based Game Management
projects similar to those now operating so successfully in Tasmania and South-East South
Australia. A recent seminar attended by hunters, farmers and Government representatives
at the Arthur Rylah Institute emphasised that need, demonstrated the economic value of a
natural resource and outlined the basic requirements for the successful implementation of
the concept.

Hog deer are an excellent candidate for management on private land to benefit farmers,
hunters and the wider community. Much of the land that hog deer occupy is marginal
farming land and landholders potentially could have an income from carrying hog deer on
their properties without disrupting their normal farming activities. A number of property
owners are already deriving income from managing hog deer on their land.

The objectives of the Property Based Game Management program are to secure the
viability of the district's hog deer population by giving landholders an incentive to produce
hog deer on their properties and protect hog deer habitat.

Considerable interest had been shown in the program, the first of its type for Victoria, by
district landholders contacted by the Australian Deer Research Foundation in the lead up to
the launch.

The ADA is looking for particular types of properties that have or can support hog deer
populations that will not impact on normal farming operations and give the landholder the
opportunity to secure a secondary income.

Property Based Game Management on private land in Victoria has been demonstrated to
senior bureaucrats and politicians.

Tasmania's Game Management Services Unit, a unit within the Department of Primary
Industries, Water and Environment has successfully managed the introduction of 526
Property Based Game Management (PBGM) plans that cover 1.5 million hectares of public
and private land. These plans manage both native and non-native wildlife and meet the
expectations of hunters, landholders and the government.

       7.5     Research into deer

               7.5.1   Research into Wild Deer

Position Statement - Funding should be made available to enable research into all free
ranging deer species in Victoria in order to determine what effect they have on the
environment, if any, and to enhance the economic value of those species to the Victorian

ADA recognises that a full understanding of the species interaction with the environment is a
prerequisite to management. Any research undertaken should be part of a broader
management plan that clearly identifies a need for more detailed information to assist with

                                                                                        Page 18
               7.5.2   Bunyip Sambar Project

Position Statement - The ADA be permitted to continue its sambar deer research project in
the enclosure in the Bunyip State Park.

The ADA operates a sambar deer research project in a 13 ha enclosure in the Bunyip State
Park. The policy objectives are to permit ecological, zoological and scientific study of
sambar deer as endorsed by the Land Conservation Council study in 1994.

The most recent LCC study of the area (July 1994) recommended that "the area occupied
by the Bunyip Sambar Project not be expanded beyond that currently fenced, the land not
be used for any other purpose and the licence not be transferable."

The subsequent management plan (1998) stated that the aim of management should be to
"Manage the Bunyip Sambar Project so as to minimise effects of the deer enclosure on the
Park, and in accordance with LCC recommendations."

The management strategies were to

•      Assess the environmental implications of the Bunyip Sambar Project on the Park.
•      Manage the licences for use of the existing site under provisions of the National
       Parks Act, in accordance with the LCC recommendations and incorporating
       appropriate conditions to minimise adverse impacts on the Park."

The ADA has successfully resisted recent moves to close the Bunyip research program

       7.6     Opening and closing land suitable for traditional deer hunting

Position Statement - Deer hunters should have access to all public land in recognised deer
habitat where there are no substantiated safety issues. ADA recognises that in some areas,
access may have to be restricted such as is now the case in some National Parks.

Position Statement - The Government should establish a Deer Hunting Area Access
Procedure in order to have an efficient, transparent and methodical process for considering
requests to open public land to deer hunting.

There is a separate section in this paper that lists areas that should be opened to traditional
deer hunting.

               7.6.1   Openings

Just as there is now a process for closing land to hunting, there should be a process to
consider requests for opening land on which hunting is currently not permitted.

There are considerable areas of public land in Victoria that hold significant numbers of deer
that could be available for hunting. These areas should be opened for hunting unless there
are good reasons not to do so. For example, the very large national parks in East
Gippsland have now been colonised by sambar and should be made available for hunting,
both to provide hunting opportunity and to help manage deer numbers to protect
conservation values.

                                                                                        Page 19
A pressure point is building up in traditional deer hunting. More and more hunters are
seeking access to public land to hunt.

Requests to open new hunting areas recognise that traditional deer hunting:

•      has a very low environmental impact,
•      is the most flexible and precise management tool available,
•      can occur when other visitor use is at a minimum or at any suitable time, and,
•      provides a challenging experience to a significant and increasing number of people
       from Victoria, interstate and overseas, which is of high cultural value and which also
       has the potential to provide employment in many isolated regional areas where few
       employment opportunities are currently available.

There are large areas where hunting could be permitted and there needs to be a
transparent process to allow an evaluation of options.

              7.6.2   Closures

The Association has finally concluded protracted negotiations with the Government to
establish a proper and transparent process to be used when there are requests to close
areas to hunting due to substantiated public safety issues. This process, which was initiated
by ADA, acknowledges that some areas will be considered for closure due to increased
population and development. The joint development of this process between the DSE and
ADA shows the continuing responsible outlook that the Association maintains in dealing with
other stakeholder concerns.

       7.7    Deer Hunting Enforcement Strategy

Position Statement - the Government needs to develop and implement a comprehensive
Deer Hunting Enforcement Strategy

              7.7.1   The mission statement

•      To report illegal behaviour by deer hunters and other illegal shooters to the
•      To dissuade people from engaging in illegal deer hunting and shooting activity.
•      To encourage the Government to devote sufficient resources to more effectively
       address illegal deer hunting and other illegal shooting activity.
•      To increase the deterrence level to a point that has an effect on the number of
       offences committed.

              7.7.2   The problem identified by the ADA

Illegal hunting and/or shooting activities have been of concern for many years.

Following intensive lobbying by hunting organisations, particularly the ADA, the government
of the day amended the Wildlife Act and, several years ago, introduced a new set of hunting

The ADA then began requesting that resources be devoted to enforcing these regulations.
More recently, the ADA has become more vociferous in these requests.

                                                                                      Page 20
In some cases, the activity about which the ADA has been concerned has been illegal
shooting activity rather than illegal hunting. Some of the incidents appear to have little to do
with hunting but it is traditional deer hunting that seems to get the blame. It is of particular
concern to the ADA that some of the illegal shooters are masquerading as deer hunters and
that this is progressively damaging our reputation.

The illegal activities are just that - illegal. The existing laws and regulations are more than
adequate to deal with these illegal activities. All that is needed is adequate enforcement.

               7.7.3   Stakeholders in this issue

There are several important groups of stakeholders in this issue, all of whom require
enforcement of existing laws and regulations. The stakeholders include:

•      Law abiding hunters who see the laws flouted to their personal disadvantage or who
       see their traditional activities being brought into disrepute.
•      Members of the public and other bush users whose quality of recreation is severely
       degraded by the illegal activities of others.
•      Farmers and other rural residents who are intimidated, or have to live with illegal
       shooting activity or whose property is damaged.
•      Public land managers.

               7.7.4   Responsibility for action and the loop of inactivity

The ultimate responsibility for the implementation of wildlife and hunting regulations resides
with the Minister for Environment. The Regulatory Impact Statement for the Wildlife (Game)
Regulations 2001 (Appendix 4, of the RIS) clearly indicates that the "primary responsibility"
for dealing with illegal hunting activities such as using a vehicle to hunt game, dogs
attacking deer, using illegal breeds of dogs, spotlighting, etc., lies with DSE.

On the other hand, activities involving illegal use of firearms, generally involve the police.

However, a “loop of inactivity” emerges because of the following factors:

•      Wildlife officers are no longer permitted to carry sidearms and this limits their ability
       to confront armed lawbreakers. In the Minister's letter (22.12.03) to the ADA, he
       noted that, "Authorised officers from my Department will continue to work ... within
       Occupational, Health and Safety constraints."
•      A hunting incident, initially the responsibility of wildlife officers, can become an illegal
       shooting and firearms incident and become the responsibility of the police.
•      Even if the incident is clearly a matter for the police, they cannot always attend at a
       moments notice.

This loop of inactivity is exacerbated because there are just two wildlife officers in North
East Victoria and three in East Gippsland to undertake all DSE wildlife work. This level of
enforcement effort is clearly inadequate.

Illegal hunters and shooters are well aware of this loop of inactivity and continue their
activities with impunity.

                                                                                           Page 21
               7.7.5   Action that needs to be taken

Illegal behaviour must be minimised. This can be done by enforcement of the already very
adequate laws and regulations.

This is not just a matter of the ADA thinking that hunting behaviour should be improved; this
is a matter of law being obeyed. This is a basic tenet of civilised society. That is, laws must
be obeyed and it is a fundamental responsibility of government to enforce the adherence to
laws and regulations.

The following actions are recommended by the ADA:

•      The ADA has already recommended that penalties for breaches of some regulations
       in relation to hunting should be increased. An ADA paper, Proposal to Increase
       Penalties for Certain Wildlife, Forest and Vehicle Regulations has been provided to
       DSE and the Attorney General. The purpose of suggesting increased penalties is to
       provide more of a deterrent to illegal hunting practices.
•      The ADA considers that a strong and targeted enforcement event consisting of nine
       police officers for a 12-week period should be implemented, beginning in the first
       week of May 2006.
•      Part of a long term solution to these issues would be the appointment of an
       additional eight wildlife officers.
•      The authority for wildlife officers to carry sidearms should be reinstated. Wildlife
       officers will then be able to conduct patrols without constant police support
•      The introduction and use of Volunteer Wildlife Rangers to augment the enforcement

               7.7.6   The ADA’s work on enforcement

In frustration with the inaction on enforcement, the ADA embarked on some of its own
enforcement activities in 2004. The components included:

•      Operational workshops with police
•      Contact cards - the ADA has printed cards with the phone numbers of police, wildlife
       officers and ADA co-ordinators. The cards urge people to report illegal activities.
•      Supporting the establishment of “Bush Telegraph” by Parks Victoria.
•      Gathering intelligence
•      Supporting a "Dob in a poacher" program
•      The ADA continued to use its bi monthly magazine, Australian Deer to report the
       names of persons convicted of firearms and wildlife offences.

The ADA remains concerned about enforcement and continues to urge a higher profile
approach by the Government.

       7.8     Deer hunting using hounds to trail the scent of sambar deer

Position Statement - The ADA is developing policy in this area to ensure the future of
using hounds to trail the scent of sambar deer

Deer hunting using hounds to trail the scent of sambar deer has undergone considerable
change over the past few years. The main change has been to ban the use of foxhounds
and limit the breeds permitted to scent-trail sambar deer to beagles and bloodhounds.

                                                                                       Page 22
The change to the Regulations has resulted in the eradication of some illegal activities and
an improvement in the behaviour of the relatively small number of hunters who have
behaved irresponsibly. Despite these significant improvements, it is understood that there
continues to be some residual concern about hound teams acting irresponsibly and probably
illegally in the bush. The ADA is committed to resolving these issues and ensuring the
standard of hunter behaviour is acceptable satisfactory.

There are several activities that are being developed by the Association. Policy in this area
is being developed but the following gives some indication of the ADA’s intention.

               7.8.1   Illegal Hound Hunting Eradication Consultative Committee

The ADA will probably seek the re-establishment of Illegal Hound Hunting Eradication
Consultative Committee under a new name. The notion that the existing groups
representing hunters who use scent-trailing hounds should audit compliance to Codes of
Practice has been canvassed. It would be possible for hound hunters who are members of
hunting organisations to audit code compliance amongst their own members, but this is
probably not where the problem is greatest. Improving the behaviour of hunters who are not
committed members of any hunting organisation is a difficult task. It is likely that this will
only be done through enforcement. This is the main reason for seeking the re-
establishment of the Illegal Hound Hunting Eradication Consultative Committee. This
committee might be better named as the Scent-trailing Hound Committee (SHC)

               7.8.2   Complaint Resolution Committee

The ADA will probably establish a Complaint Resolution Committee to deal with any
complaints, or adverse comment, from rural residents. Its availability to resolve local issues
would be publicised in local media in “trouble spots”.

               7.8.3   Prepare a Code of Practice.

Hunters who use scent-trailing hounds currently comply with the ADA National Code of
Conduct, Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals in Hunting and Statutory Regulations.
Generally this material deals with prohibitions and restrictions. The ADA could bring all
these together and add items encouraging excellence amongst hunters who use scent-
trailing hounds. There is no suggestion that any Code be re-written or amended, simply to
bring all the pieces together into one Code. The main reason for this is to strengthen the
impression that hound hunters are becoming responsible for their own future and to foster
better levels of hunter behaviour.

               7.8.4   Submission on electronic devices used in hunting

The use of radios to assist in the hunt is illegal. The ADA is finalising a submission seeking
to make this practice legal in order to ensure that scent-trailing hounds are kept under

               7.8.5   Reviewing the regulations

The ADA is about to commence reviewing the regulations regarding the use of scent-trailing
hounds. It will present its findings to the government with a request for changes. It is
understood that the government is not likely to accept a need for change in the short term,

                                                                                       Page 23
but the Association is undertaking the work to set the scene for an eventual review of the

       7.9     Applicant for a Game Licence must be members of an approved deer
               hunting organisation

Position statement - An applicant for a Game Licence (deer) must be a member of an
approved deer hunting organisation

It has long been considered that prior to seeking a Game Licence to hunt deer, an applicant
should be required to be a member of an approved deer hunting organisation.

Naturally this ADA position statement relates to a Game Licence for hunting deer, and not
other game.

The reasons for this include:

•      Exposure to an approved deer hunting organisation would highlight the availability of
       courses to learn necessary deer hunting skills. Traditional deer hunting is a
       sophisticated and specialised recreation and the ADA considers that any applicant
       should be required to at least display some intention to learn the skills necessary to
       become a successful deer hunter. This is the case even if this is limited to reading
       the provided literature, such as Australian Deer, in the case of the Australian Deer
•      Membership would expose the applicant to the safety training that occurs within
       these groups.
•      All approved deer hunting organisations would be required to have a code of practice
       or ethics that potential deer hunters should be required to know, understand and
       abide by.
•      Membership would expose the applicant to some of the traditions and bushlore and
       that are an important part of a safe and responsible deer hunting experience.
•      Membership assists in imbuing a sense of responsibility to the recreation and to
       other hunters. Adverse hunter behaviour impacts on other hunters and it is
       important for hunters to see and meet with the other hunters that rely on each other's
       ethical attitudes and behaviours.
•      Members of hunting organisations can be expelled and this would assist in removing
       hunters with inappropriate attitudes or actions from the recreation.

Regulations can readily accommodate any person with a conscientious objection to joining a
deer hunting organisation.

There is adequate precedent for organisations to be approved for specified purposes. Apart
from the approval of organisations in relation to firearms ownership, hunting organisations
can be approved by the Bureau of Animal Welfare for registering scent-trailing hounds.

The ADA consider that requiring an applicant for a Game Licence (deer) to be a member of
an approved deer hunting organisation would assist in raising the standard of behaviour in
the bush and provide the recreation with some means of self-regulation.

The establishment of a framework that allows for self regulation is particularly important
given the history of minimal manpower available to enforce wildlife regulations and the
exponential growth in deer hunter numbers in the last seven years.

                                                                                       Page 24
Deer hunting is a highly regulated activity and rightly so but there is currently no requirement
for a new participant to deer hunting to demonstrate that they are aware of the Wildlife
Regulations that pertain to deer hunting let alone have an understanding of them. As would
be expected, new participants to deer hunting have little knowledge about this recreation.

With a requirement for membership of an approved deer hunting organisation in place, all
parties have a vested interest in the membership of any particular organisation acquiring the
knowledge to allow them to participate in licensed deer hunting without incident.

       7.10    Approvals to hunt on licensed land

Position Statement - The Government should amend the Firearms Act 1996 to change the
provision under which all licensed land is regarded as private land.

The law needs to be clarified to ensure that there is no confusion over the fact that persons
who are licensed to undertake some activity on public land, like cattle grazing, do not have
the authority to permit or prohibit hunting.

The Firearms Act refers to private land. Several years ago, there was discussion within
Government about what was included in private land. It was wondered whether some
leased and licensed Crown land should be defined as private land for the purposes of the
Firearms Act.

In May 2000, the Minister for Police and Emergency Services wrote to Peter Ryan (Leader
of the National Party) stating that. .."the Firearms Act 1996 clearly establishes the principle
that persons using firearms on private property need to obtain the permission of the relevant
landholder ..." and "... this principle extends to Crown land held under licence. ..."

This was sensible for some licensed and leased land to be regarded as private land. Good
examples were most of the 30,000 small pieces of Crown land, commonly unused roads
and water frontages, that are licensed, usually, to the adjacent landholder. (The exceptions
would be where the licensed land has been used for generations to access State Game
Reserves or Crown land for other traditional hunting uses.)

However, the policy that all licensed land should be regarded as private land for the
purposes of the Firearms Act was not sensible in relation to licences which permit, say a
mountain cattlemen, to graze cattle in the high country for an annual season of about 16
weeks. Although the Firearms Act now apparently includes all licensed land as private land
for the purposes of the Firearms Act, a cattleman who is licensed to graze cattle has no
authority to permit or prohibit hunting on that land. The cattleman's licence makes no
reference to permitting or prohibiting hunting. In any event, in a case where a mountain
cattlemen is licensed to graze cattle for a 16 week period, he would have no right to grant
access outside that 16 week period.

In practice, it would be impossible, for the following reasons, to have licensed graziers
authorising hunting.
•       It is not clear whether the licensee has any authority or rights outside the seasonal
        grazing period, which, in any event, is generally is not the hunting season.
•       Hunters would not know if the land is licensed for grazing.
•       There are no boundary fences to let hunters know they are entering land on which
        there is a grazing licence.

                                                                                        Page 25
•      If hunters did know the land was licensed for grazing, they might not know who the
       licence holder is or how to contact them.
•      When hunters are on the ground in a potentially licensed area, it would be difficult to
       contact the licence holder.
•      The land would probably not have a grazing licence on it for the whole year. The
       hunter might not know the dates of the grazing season.

For the purposes of the Firearms Act:

Crown land should be regarded as private land if;
•     the land is in the form of unused roads, water frontages or other small plots of land,
•     the land is usually licensed to the adjacent farmer,
•     the licence is for at least the full year,
•     the licence provides the licence holder with land management responsibilities,
•     the licence holder pays municipal rates, and,
•     the licensed area has not traditionally been used to access State Game Reserves
      and other traditional hunting areas.

Crown land should be not be regarded as private land if;
•     the land involves large grazing area licences,
•     the licence is for a grazing season and less than a full year,
•     the licence does not provide the licence holder with land management
•     the licence holder does not pay municipal rates.

In simple terms the position is:
•      The Firearms Act gives lease and licence holders the legal right to stop hunters
       coming on leased or licensed land.
•      This is appropriate for a lot of leased land but for some licensed land, this was an
       unintended and inappropriate consequence.
•      For several years, DSE acknowledged the problem, agreed with the ADA that it
       needed to be resolved and stated to the ADA that the solution presented by the ADA
       and the Public Land Council of Victoria (outlined above) is appropriate. Former
       Director of Flora and Fauna, Michonne Van Rees advised the ADA that its material
       had been given to the internal group looking at this issue and that it had reported
       back that an amendment to the Firearms Act was necessary and that the ADA/PLCV
       solution appeared appropriate and sound.
•      DSE has now provided a legal opinion from the Solicitor General (above). This
       states the legality of the position and this is not news - it simply clarifies the
       existence of the problem. It does nothing to resolve the problem.
•      The Crown could find itself in a difficult legal position if something were to go amiss
       in the provision of permission or prohibition by people who do not have clear and
       unambiguous authority to do so.
•      The law will have to be changed.

       7.11    The management of deer by source of release

Position Statement - The management of deer needs to reflect the source of their release.
While sambar deer should be managed as a valuable game resource, recent illegal releases
of fallow deer from farms should be eradicated

                                                                                       Page 26
The highest priority for the ADA is to protect the "traditional" deer populations in Victoria
rather than the numerous populations that are derived from deer farm escapes or from
illegal releases. The traditional populations are those that spring from the original 19th
Century releases made by the Victorian Acclimatisation Society or legal releases sanctioned
by the government, such as the fallow herd at Koetong.

Recently established illegal populations cause significant damage to agriculture as they
mostly occur on private land or move between forested areas and farmland to feed and find

       7.12    Managing deer populations to minimise impacts for land managers

Position Statement - The Government should embrace the assistance that deer hunters
can provide in managing deer to minimise impacts for land managers.

There are persistent reports of deer causing damage on farms. Farmers report deer
destroying young trees and grazing improved pastures. Numbers of deer are said to be
increasing with many populations of illegally released deer appearing to have the most
impact. As red deer and fallow deer were the main species held in captivity for farming and
significant numbers have been illegally released, these species are of particular concern.
Red deer and fallow deer both by nature prefer living adjacent to agricultural land thus
readily coming into conflict with the rural community.

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has raised concerns in relation to deer impacting
on their farm programs. As a result of this an agreement was reached between VFF and
ADA in 2004 whereby ADA would provide resources to help those VFF members seeking
assistance to address deer related issues. ADA is currently providing such assistance.

The ADA further recognise that there is value in a collaborative working relationship with the
major deer hunting organisations in Victoria.

The ADA further supports the removal, where practicable, of illegal deer populations.

The issue has several facets. These, and proposed solutions are listed below:

               7.12.1 Deer on private land

Landholders can obtain a destruction permit from DSE and shoot the deer themselves. This
tends to be a very time consuming approach and the landholder will typically have little
knowledge of deer and deer hunting.

Landholders can seek the assistance of ADA to address the management needs of local
deer populations to minimise any impact on the property. ADA has the resources, at no
cost to the landholder, to conduct long term programs.

               7.12.2 Deer on adjacent public land but coming into private land.
                      (Excludes parks)

Landholders can seek assistance from ADA to address the issue of deer encroaching from
public land. As State Forest is open to deer hunting ADA can also focus resources in that
area if necessary.

                                                                                        Page 27
               7.12.3 Deer on adjacent parkland but coming into private land

Deer can be hunted on some parts of some parks. Where this is permitted, the landholder
could seek assistance from ADA to manage deer in the area of concern.

For areas of parks where hunting is not permitted, the landholder and ADA need to talk to
Parks Victoria. Through its Memorandum of Co-operation with Parks Victoria, the ADA
could suggest a focussed deer control program.

               7.12.4 Fallow deer

At present, due to the current Wildlife (Game) Regulations, fallow deer cannot be hunted on
public land. In recognition that fallow deer are one of the main concerns for farmers, and
the potential impact that unmanaged deer populations could have on public land, the ADA
has put a submission to the Minister for the Environment, to allow hunting of fallow deer on
public land. ADA does not support protection of fallow deer populations that have been
released illegally, which is the majority of fallow deer populations in Victoria.

               7.12.5 Red deer

The ADA is also seeking by way of an amendment to the Wildlife (Game) Regulations a 12
month open season on red deer except for the Grampians population. This is to allow for
more effective management of the many illegal red deer populations across Victoria.

               7.12.6 Other illegal deer species

Other deer species previously held in captivity have also been illegally released into the wild.
They include Chital, Rusa and Wapiti along with various hybrids such as red-wapiti and
sambar-rusa crosses, which were considered by some deer farmers as attractive
alternatives for venison production.

The ADA is concerned about the threat that these species, in particular Rusa and Wapiti,
can have should they contaminate traditional sambar and red deer populations through
cross breeding.

These three illegal species, along with all hybrids, require immediate effective management
to remove them from the wild.

ADA has sought through the Minister for the Environment amendments to the Wildlife
(Game) Regulations to allow for twelve month hunting seasons for these species and their
hybrids. There is no valid reason why these species should be provided with any protection
in the way of a part closed season.

       7.13    National Standard for Firearms Safety training

Position Statement - All deer hunters should be required to undertake appropriate training
and achieve an acceptable level of proficiency in bushcraft, marksmanship and navigation
before they hunt in the field.

The ADA presently conducts an internationally recognised two-day Hunter Education course
for deer hunters and other interested people. This course has been running continuously for
18 years and is now accredited by the NSW Game Council for application in achieving a

                                                                                        Page 28
restricted game licence in that state. The course was the first of its type in Australia and has
achieved international recognition for its content and the experience and calibre of the
presenters. ADA in other states, and other hunting organisations have modelled their
hunter education courses on the ADA course.

ADA is presently developing three extension courses for deer hunters. These courses are
provisionally titled the Public Land Hunter Accreditation Course, the Advanced Deerhunter
Course and the Deer Management Program.

                                                                                        Page 29
8      Access for traditional deer hunting

These policies have been discussed above.

Position Statement - Deer hunters should have access to all public land in recognised deer
habitat where there are no substantiated safety issues. ADA recognises that in some areas,
access may have to be restricted such as is now the case in some National Parks.

Position Statement - The Government should establish a Deer Hunting Area Access
Procedure in order to have an efficient, transparent and methodical process for considering
requests to open public land to deer hunting.

       8.1     Grampians National Park

Parks Victoria’s Grampians National Park Management Plan, March 2003, refers to
"over-grazing by native and non-native herbivores (e.g. deer, rabbits)" as a concern.

The ADA, as demonstrated through its commitment to the Memorandum of Cooperation
between PV and ADA, supports the objective to conserve, protect and enhance
environmental and cultural assets.

Within this framework ADA seeks controlled, limited, balloted hunting in strategic areas of
the Grampians National Park (GNP) to
•       Contain the red deer population at an acceptable level
•       Minimise any possible impact on GNP conservation values
•       Minimise any possible impact on adjoining freehold landowners
•       Provide ADA members with strictly controlled hunting access to a historical red deer
        population that is a cultural asset of significance.


As a result of the declaration of the Wildlife Sanctuary and the later declaration of the
National Park in 1984, management of the historical red deer population within the
Grampians National Park has been limited to the activities of poachers working within and
around the fringes of the Park, along with the limited harvest resulting from the attempts by
legal hunters during the declared red deer seasons.

Current status

A significant portion of the red deer population inhabit the fringe areas of the GNP which
provides them access to highly valued grazing in improved pasture, crops and grasslands.
The woodland areas provide some browse along with the necessary shelter and sanctuary.
Thus depending upon location of favoured browse and grazing, the deer tend to utilise
particular zones of habitat.

Population management

For the most effective management of the red deer population, zones of habitat within the
GNP, which can be identified as being the most preferred by the deer, need to be focused

                                                                                        Page 30

The ADA will be seeking to work with Parks Victoria through the Steering Committee under
the auspices of the Memorandum of Co-operation to achieve the objectives as outlined

       8.2    Snake Island

The ADA recommends that Snake Island be opened to balloted hog deer hunting.

The ADA’s submission on this issue is available on request.

              8.2.1   Introduction

The ADA has a comprehensive submission on the proposal for hunting on Snake Island.
The Association would be pleased to provide this on request.

The ADA considers that the new management plan for the Nooramunga and Corner Inlet
Marine and Coastal Parks should include a trial balloted hog deer hunt on Snake Island.

The trial could be on the same lines as was proposed, in an earlier draft management plan
for the area.

This proposal is supported by two papers prepared by the predecessors of Department of
Sustainability and Environment

An earlier Draft Management Plan for this area recommended,

"Conduct a fully supervised trial balloted hunt for Hog Deer on Snake Island in 1997. The
trial will assess whether an annual hunt is appropriate on the island based on:
• safety of park visitors
• impacts on native fauna
• conflicts with other uses of the island."

              8.2.2   The proposal

The trial could be on the same lines as the previous draft management strategy of

•      Hunters chosen by ballot

•      A maximum of 40 hunters in groups of 8 for a five-day week each.

•      The hunting season would be for 5 weeks (five-day weeks) during late summer and

•      Prior to the hunt, balloted hunters would be briefed by Department of Sustainability
       and Environment officers on any particular hazards, the likely whereabouts of cattle
       and any areas that need to be avoided.

•      There would be a high level of management over all aspects of hunting on the island.

                                                                                     Page 31
•       It is expected that each hunter would be able to take one hog deer.

In consideration of other users concerns, ADA proposes that hunting only take place on the
area of the island south of the cattlemen's huts. This allows any person or group to access
half of the island without coming into contact with any hunters.

               8.2.3   The history of support for balloted hunting on Snake Island

The predecessors to the Department of Sustainability and Environment (Department of
Natural Resources and Environment - DNRE) twice supported the opening of Snake Island
to hog deer hunting.

In its 1991-92 Budget Paper, DNRE stated:

"....Extra areas proposed for opening to hunting include Snake Island.”

The DNRE paper, "Hog Deer Hunting - Snake Island"2 referred to this statement and noted
that in December 1991 DNRE staff met in Yarram to consider whether hog deer hunting
should be permitted and decided to prepare a report on the issue. This report subsequently

        "That hunting of Hog Deer on Snake Island be permitted in 1992/93 on a one off trial
        basis ..."

The former DNRE twice recommended that hog deer hunting be permitted on Snake Island.

The ADA wrote to several local Shire Councils about this issue. Two of the Councils
responded and indicated that they had no difficulty with the recommended trial. The South
Gippsland Shire Council noted that, "It is not intended to make a submission on the Draft
Plan, the Shire is not opposed to the trial." (Their ref. RS/01/002 19.9.96) The Wellington
Shire Council wrote, "Council is guided by the responsible department, in this case Natural
Resources and Environment ... In assessing the draft management plan Council will form
an opinion on the economic benefit and environmental sustainability of the proposed plan.
At this stage we have no reason to be concerned over either of these aspects." (Their ref.
25/40/1 Folio: 300 - AH:ah 19.9.96)

There are several safety issues and these are comprehensively dealt with in the
Associations submission. Other issues dealt with in the submission are:

•       Visitation rates on Snake Island are low
•       Hunting does not conflict with conservation
•       The current existence of illegal hunting. There is a significant amount of illegal
        hunting on Snake Island. This is totally uncontrolled and is frequently carried out by
        spotlight to increase the chance of taking a trophy head. If there were to be any
        danger from hunting hog deer with rifles, in the first instance this would be from
        these illegal hunters. The ADA expects that the presence of balloted hunters and
        those supervising the hunt, will significantly discourage illegal hunting on the island
        by their very presence during this peak poaching time. This also has shown to be
        the case worldwide where closed areas are opened to hunting.
•       The ADA conducted a mock hunt to test safety issues

               Mem o from K. King to R. Gowans, 24 March 1992

                                                                                        Page 32
•   The Minister for Environment, the Hon. John Thwaites recently endorsed the ADA’s
    concerns to improve the management of hog deer and to provide for more hunting
    opportunities when he referred this issue to the Hunting Advisory Committee.
•   The ADA will be invoking part of its Memorandum of Co-operation with Parks Victoria
    in its discussions regarding hog deer hunting on Snake Island.
•   Meetings with the Snake Island Cattlemens Association discussed the reasons for
    resistence by the Snake Island cattlemen.

                                                                               Page 33
9      About the Australian Deer Association

The Australian Deer Association Inc. (ADA) was established in 1969. It is the largest deer
hunting and deer conservation organisation in Australia.

The ADA is a national organisation and has a total of 19 branches throughout Victoria,
South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales and the ACT. The Victorian
division of the ADA is well established and has six very active branches: Melbourne,
Gippsland, East Gippsland, Murray Valley, Western Port and Central Victoria.

The Association and its members are dedicated to the retention of habitat for deer and other
wildlife, the preservation and extension of public access to Australian bushland and the
management of deer as a cultural resource.

The ADA takes a strong stand against cruelty and incompetent or irresponsible hunters.
The Association requires that ethical hunting is a condition of membership. Therefore, all
members must abide by the Association's Code of Conduct.

The ADA has a strong history of initiating deer conservation projects and has proposed
changes to hunting regulations where they have been considered necessary for the benefit
of the deer. The ADA conducts comprehensive hunter education programs which have a
strong emphasis on ethical behaviour. The hunter education courses, which are run in
Victoria, are the best of their kind in Australia, are internationally recognised and duplicated
by groups overseas.

The ADA has actively encouraged and financially supported the production of numerous
publications on deer management and conservation, hunting, hunter safety, education and
training both in Australia and overseas.

                                                                                         Page 34
10     Appendices

       10.1    The economic value of traditional deer hunting

                          Summary table - Victoria and Australia

                      Item                           Victoria                Australia
     No. of hunters                                      10000                     17500
     Spent on equipment each year                 $33,000,000               $58,000,000
     Spent on trips each year                      $7,490,000               $10, 470,000
     Total spent each year                        $40,490,000               $68,470,000

These statistics show that traditional deer hunting is worth at least $40 million to Victoria
each year.

This material is drawn from Economic values of recreational deer hunting in Australia, Myron
Cause, 1990. (Licensed deer hunters at September 2005 were over 14,000)

       10.2    Perceived risks in hunting

The facts about risks and traditional deer hunting are that;

•      The quality of bush experiences should not be disturbed. A hunter might only fire 2-
       3 shots per year.
•      Traditional deer hunting is unlikely to conflict with other forest users because most
       deer hunting is undertaken during winter when visitor levels are at a minimum.
•      With regard to safety,

       •       Shots are seldom fired.
       •       Hunting areas are well away from camping areas.
       •       Shots are fired only at deer. Traditional deer hunters do not shoot at targets
               or shoot to sight in their rifles in National Parks - in any event this is illegal.

Traditional deer hunting can be adequately controlled by seasons and these could be
adequately advertised to ensure that anyone who does perceive this hazard visits the area
at another time of the year.

       10.3    No conflict in the bush

During the LCC's public consultation on investigations, the ADA reviews other group's
submissions to read what they said about traditional deer hunting. A large proportion did not
even mention hunting. One group, the La Trobe Mountaineering Club stated, "Club
members believe that hunters on foot without dogs are acceptable users of wilderness
areas." (Submission to LCC on Wilderness issues.)

Many contain relatively simple stereotyped philosophical objections to a list of commercial
and recreational activities and traditional deer hunting was lumped into the list. In most
cases there was little substantiation of the objection.

                                                                                           Page 35
Even the normally hard line Victorian National Parks Association has stated, "The activities
of hunters coincide with the long term goal we have set out, provided they act with
environmental responsibility under the direction of DCE staff ...". (Submission to LCC on
Wilderness issues.)

There have been several surveys about attitudes to other visitor activities and the relevant
sections are summarised below. They generally highlight that people do not object to
traditional deer hunting in the Alpine Area of Victoria.

Yann Campbell Hoare and Wheeler, "Market analysis of Victoria's public land", report
for the Department of Conservation and Environment, June 1990.

Respondents were asked, "In your opinion, generally is Victoria's public land managed -
very well, quite well, not very well, very badly, don't know”. Those who responded "not very
well" or "very badly" were then asked, "Why did you say that?" The responses were;

! Government doesn't manage anything well                                                  14%
! Too much litter, not enough bins                                                         14%
! Too much land, inadequately staffed                                                      12%
! Need more, better facilities                                                             10%
! Bushfire danger, stopped grazing, inadequate fire breaks                                 10%
! Overdone, too much, greenies too much influence                                           7%
! Should promote, advertise more                                                            5%
! Don't believe in a lot of logging, wood chipping                                          4%
! Other comments                                                                           32%
! Don't know                                                                                6%

None, or a statistically insignificant number, expressed concern about traditional deer

When asked "What did you particularly dislike about National Parks, 66% said, "Nothing".
None, or a statistically insignificant number, said anything about traditional deer hunting.

Alpine Area Visitor Survey, Easter 1989, Department of Conservation, Forests and
Lands, Alexandra Region.

An Easter 1989 Visitor Survey found that 7.8 of visitors to the Alpine Area intended going
hunting. Respondents were given room for comments and these covered issues such as
horses, cattle grazing, 4WDs, trailbikes, huts, rangers, size of National Parks. There was
no adverse comment about hunting.

Gippsland Hinterland Region Consumer Perceptions, Destination Australia Marketing
and Consultancy Pty Ltd. Report for Department of Conservation, Forest and Lands,

The majority of people are not opposed to hunting and fishing.

A survey produced the following statistics on people's attitudes to hunting and fishing.

               Participate in hunting or fishing                           23%
               Not interested but do not oppose hunting or fishing         46%
               Opposed to hunting or fishing                               31%

                                                                                       Page 36
       10.4    The Environment Minister on control of deer

Friday, September 2, 2005

Bracks Government announces weed and pest control for alpine national park

Environment Minister John Thwaites today announced a comprehensive program involving
Clean Up Australia, Sporting Shooters and other community groups to combat pests and
weeds in Victoria's Alpine National Park.

Mr Thwaites said the $2.85 million package would help restore the Alpine National Park and
preserve the unique High Country environment for future generations.

"These initiatives to control pests and weeds complement the Government's decision to end
cattle grazing in the Park," Mr Thwaites said.

"The combination of these measures gives us the best chance to restore and preserve the
environmental values of the Park, with the Alpine Grazing Taskforce Report saying that
weeds would be easier to manage in the park once cattle grazing ceased."

The program titled The Alps, A fresh start – a healthy future is part of the State
Government's $7.5 million package of high country initiatives – which also included
assistance for cattle graziers and funding for the Bogong High Plains Road roads and
tourism initiatives.

The $2.85 million program features:

$650,000 for Parks Victoria to work with Clean Up Australia and other community groups to
restore the Park's Alpine bogs so they can perform their normal function of filtering water
before it reaches water catchments. They will also work to restore moss beds and other
native vegetation; and
$2.2 million to support:
•       A roving team to control weeds such as blackberries and English Broom and
        measures to eradicate willow trees that choke waterways;
•       Parks Victoria partnerships with shooters through groups such as the Sporting
        Shooters Association and Gamecon to control feral goats, pigs, foxes and cats;
•       Parks Victoria will also work with the Alpine Brumby Management Association and
        the Australian Deer Association to control brumbies and deer;
•       Wild dogs on the Parks fringes will also be targeted.

"These initiatives take an all-encompassing and cooperative approach to ensure the fragile
environment will be protected well into the future," he said.

The Bracks Government's legislation reinforcing its decision not to renew grazing licences in
the Alpine National Park passed through Parliament in June this year.

(Our emphasis)

       10.5    Safety statistics

Hospital Admitted sports injury in Victoria, July 2002 to June 2003

                                                                                     Page 37
To estimate the frequency, rate and comparative risk of hospitalisation among sports
(including active recreation), in Victoria, records were selected from the Victorian Admitted
Episodes Dataset (VAED) if the activity when injured was ‘while engaged in sports'.

Analysis of the comparative risk of hospitalisation per participant across the identified sports
was completed utilising available participation data.

Adult participation data were obtained from ‘Participation in exercise, recreation and sport,
2001', Australian Sports Commission (ASC).

Information drawn from Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset (VEMD) for the eight year
time period January 1996 to December 2004. The VEMD is a dataset containing records of
emergency department presentations in 35 Victorian hospitals, covering all hospitals in
Victoria which have a 24-hour emergency department.

Please note that the identification of ‘hunting' related incidents involves searching for the
text term "hunt" or "shoot" in the 'description of injury event variable' and therefore relies on
this information being entered at the time of patient presentation in the busy emergency
department. Unfortunately, this "real time" data entry in a busy emergency department
means that quality of narratives is varied and may underestimate the incidence of hunting
related injuries, ie. Narratives are not detailed enough to mention the activity "hunting"
Therefore, changes in the number of injuries that is evident in this data provided may be a
result of changes in data quality, and may not necessarily reflect an increase or decrease in
injury incidence.

Other data is from the National Coroner's Information System (NICS). The NCIS is a world
first national database of coronial information, which contains data from the coronial files of
all Australian states and territories (except Queensland) dating back to 1 July 2000.
Queensland data commences from 1 January 2001.

                                                                                         Page 38

To top