2021 deer harvest report now available


The Game Management Authority has today released the Estimates of the 2021 deer harvest in Victoria report.

The Game Management Authority has today released the Estimates of the 2021 deer harvest in Victoria report.

Results show that 118,900 deer were harvested in 2021. This is a 70 per cent increase on the estimated 69,900 deer harvested in 2020, which was impacted by COVID safety protocols, and a 49 per cent increase on the long-term average.

Sambar Deer was the most harvested species with an estimated total harvest of 68,916 deer, of which 57 per cent were female. Fallow Deer was the second most harvested species, with an estimated harvest of 35,351 deer, of which 56 per cent were female.

The number of licenced recreational deer hunters in 2021 was 49,857, the largest recorded to date. This is a 20 per cent increase on the number of recreational deer hunters in 2020 (41,056).

Of the 49,857 licensed deer hunters, 36 per cent actively hunted in 2021. On average, active deer hunters harvested an estimated 6.6 deer over 13.6 days.

Deer can cause damage to the environment, the agriculture sector, community assets and sites of cultural significance to Traditional Owners, and may pose a risk to public safety. Recreational hunters contribute to a range of control methods that are important for curbing the impacts of deer populations.

The most popular hunting areas were around the towns of Mansfield, Wodonga, Bairnsdale, Benalla and Kinglake Central. The highest number of deer harvested were around the towns of Mansfield, Bright, Healesville, Wangaratta and Lakes Entrance.

GMA Research Principal, Dr Jason Flesch, said the increase in deer harvest numbers were a result of more active hunters in the field during the 2021 deer hunting season.

“The easing of restrictions on travel and recreational activity during 2021 has likely led to an increase in hunter activity. This has resulted in an increase in the estimated number of deer harvested in 2021” Dr Flesch said.

“Information about the number of deer harvested by recreational hunters informs decisions about deer control and the management of hunting on public and private land in Victoria.”

Throughout 2021, approximately 2,400 licensed deer hunters were surveyed to collect information about their hunting activity. Information collected included how many deer were harvested, where hunting occurred, the hunting methods used, and the species of deer harvested.

The report is produced by the GMA in collaboration with the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research.

Rear the full report: Estimates of the 2021 deer harvest in Victoria.

For a copy of the Victorian Deer Control Strategy released in October 2020 visit: Victorian Deer Control Strategy.