Deer control program to commence in Howitt-Wellington Plains

Friday 27 January, 2017

Parks Victoria’s trial deer control program will be extended to the Howitt-Wellington Plains area of the Alpine National Park for the first time, commencing Friday 3 February to Sunday 5 February 2017.

Parks Victoria in partnership with the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) and the Australian Deer Association (ADA), is implementing a three-year trial deer control program to limit environmental damage deer are causing in the Alpine National Park. This trial is the first of its kind in the park and will investigate the effectiveness of ground shooting as a method for controlling deer to reduce their impact on the sensitive alpine peatlands.

Alpine peatlands are boggy wetlands which occur at the headwaters of waterways in the Alps. They play an important role in maintaining the healthy functioning of water catchments in the Alps and provide critical habitat for a number of important native plants and animals.

Since the trial commenced in May 2015, a total of 86 have been culled from the Bogong High Plains, and the control program is now being extended to the Foothills and Southern Alps section of the Alpine National Park, known as the Howitt-Wellington Plains.

Recreational deer hunting is permitted in the Foothills and Southern Alps section of the Alpine National Park and is a popular activity in this area. The park will not be closed when deer control work is being undertaken, although some localised access restrictions will be applied.

Parks Victoria’s Area Chief Ranger Foothills and Southern Alps, Mike Dower said visitor safety is paramount and the first control program will take place during the closed season for deer hunting and use members from Australian Deer Association and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia.

“Signs will be placed at major access points advising visitors when deer control is being undertaken and which tracks are closed. The volunteer shooters have significant experience and expertise in deer hunting and will be readily identifiable and act in accordance with all legal requirements to ensure the safe use of firearms.”

Mr Dower explained that Parks Victoria’s Deer control trial differs from recreational hunting in that it is aimed at protecting alpine peatlands.

“By undertaking deer control in the Howitt-Wellington Plains section of the park where recreational hunting is permitted, we may also be able to provide higher quality animals for recreation hunters by reducing the competition among the remaining animals.

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