Cost-effective management of wild deer


Wild deer are present in all Australian states and territories and are causing increasing agricultural, environmental and social impacts. The six species of deer occupy a wide variety of habitats including rangeland (chital deer), agricultural (fallow deer), plantation forests (sambar deer and red deer), and montane forest (sambar deer).  

Land managers have started to use aerial shooting, ground shooting and exclusion fencing to manage wild deer, but the cost-effectiveness and appropriateness of these methods have not been evaluated. Best-practice guidelines for managing wild deer were identified as a priority need at the 2016 National Wild Deer Management Workshop.  

This five-year project will provide land managers with the tools and expertise required to cost-effectively manage wild deer. The project will provide national leadership through the coordination of existing and planned deer management programs in QLD, NSW, VIC and TAS.   




This project has four key objectives: 

  1. In collaboration with the associated organisations, establish demonstration sites at which on-ground management, research and training will occur in NSW, QLD, VIC and TAS. 
  2. Evaluate the costs and efficacy of the main control tools (i.e. aerial shooting and ground shooting) at demonstration sites, supported by population modelling to assess longer-term impacts of control on deer populations. 
  3. Disseminate knowledge widely through: field days at demonstration sites; presentations at workshops, symposia and conferences; media releases; articles in peer-reviewed journals; and best-practice guidelines available from the PestSmart website. 
  4. Build technical and research capacity in wild deer management by up-skilling research and technical staff involved in vertebrate pest management and by training post-graduate students. 

Project Leader

Dr Dave Forsyth
Project Team
  • Dr Dave Forsyth, NSW DPI
  • Dr Andrew Bengsen, NSW DPI 
  • Troy Crittle, NSW DPI 
  • Dr Tony Pople, QDAF 
  • Michael Brennan, QDAF 
  • Matt Amos, QDAF 
  • Dr Dave Ramsey, VIC DELWP 
  • Richard Duncan, UC 
  • Bronwyn Cameron, NSW North West LLS 
  • Mal Leeson, NSW Central Tablelands LLS 
  • Ashley Blokland, Charters Towers Regional Council 
  • Elaine Thomas, Parks Victoria 
  • Sally Bryant, Tasmanian Land Conservancy 
  • Jordan Hampton, Ecotone Wildlife Veterinary Services 
Project Partners
  • New South Wales Department of Primary Industries  (NSW DPI)
  • Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF)
  • University of Canberra 
  • Tasmanian Land Conservancy
  • Ecotone Wildlife Vet Services
  • eSYS
  • Chatered Towers Regional Council
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