Alpine Deer Aerial Shooting Trial concludes

Tuesday 4 June, 2019

Outcome of operation successful

Parks Victoria has successfully completed stage two of the deer aerial shooting trial in the Alpine National Park, around Mt Bogong and the Bogong High Plains.

The aerial trial forms part of the comprehensive deer control trial that Parks Victoria commenced in 2015, which has also involved on-ground operations utilising the expertise of contractors and volunteer shooters from the Australian Deer Association and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia.

The deer aerial shooting trial plays a key role in determining the most efficient, cost effective and humane methods of managing deer in order to protect sensitive alpine habitats, and the unique wildlife and plants that occur in them.

In the May operation, more than 130 deer were shot by the professional aerial marksman in just over 18 hours of aerial shooting time. This adds to the 119 deer that were shot in the first stage of the trial in October, equating to a deer approximately every 8 minutes over the course of the trial. The operation was conducted in the strictest manner to ensure it adhered to high standards of safety and carried out humanely.

The operation targeted high elevation isolated parts of the park, that contain sensitive alpine vegetation communities with high conservation value but are very difficult to access on foot.

During both operations the air crew noticed significant track networks and large wallows that had been formed by deer.

Based on preliminary findings, deer control will continue to be delivered in the park where required. During 19/20 Parks Victoria will collate and evaluate all the data from both aerial operations, as well as the results of the on-ground deer operations, and use this to help inform what combination of deer control tools are required to protect these environmentally sensitive areas in the Alpine National Park in the long term.

Based on the results of the deer control trials, an ongoing, sustainable, landscape-scale deer control action plan will be prepared in line with the Greater Alpine National Parks Management Plan.

Quotes attributed to Chief Conservation Scientist, Dr Mark Norman:

“Large numbers of deer are causing significant damage to vulnerable alpine wetlands, waterways, rare plant communities in the Alpine National Park and numerous native habitats in Victoria.”

“It will take a wide range of tools and continued investment to solve this large-scale issue, tools including professional and volunteer ground shooters and aerial shooting.”

“A helicopter can access remote and steep terrain that is difficult to access by foot, enabling us to target deer in these areas of the landscape.”

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