Deer Research

Many deer species were introduced to Victoria by the Acclimatisation Society in the mid-1800s and some have become established. Others have established through illegal releases or as escapees from deer farms. Of these, Sambar, Fallow and Red Deer are well established in Victoria.

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In order to manage game species effectively it is important to quantify the numbers harvested. Each year the Game Management Authority conducts phone surveys to estimate the number of deer, duck and quail harvested in the state.

The following reports detail the results of the those surveys.


2019

2019 Victorian Deer Harvest Report (Full Report)


2018

2018 Victorian Hog Deer harvest report  (Full Report)

2018 Victorian Deer harvest report (PDF version)


2017

Estimates of the 2017 deer harvest in Victoria (PDF version)

2017 Victorian Hog Deer harvest report (PDF version)

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail from 1985 to 2015: Combining mail and telephone survey results (PDF version)


2016

Estimate of deer harvest in Victoria 2016 (PDF Version)

2016 Deer harvest summary sheet (PDF Version)

Results of 2016 balloted Hog Deer hunting at Blond Bay State Game Reserve and Boole Poole Peninsula (PDF version)

Wilsons Promontory National Park Hog Deer Control Program Report  2016 (PDF Version)


2015

Estimate of harvest for deer in Victoria 2014 and 2015 (PDF version)

Wilsons Promontory National Park Hog Deer Control Program Report 2015

Hog Deer checking station Survey 2015


2014

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version)


2013

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version) (Word Version)


2012

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version) (Word Version)


2011

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version) (Word Version)


2010

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version) (Word Version)


2009

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version) (Word Version)

The GMA is currently conducting research into hound hunting for Sambar Deer in Victoria, in collaboration with the Australian Deer Association. The aim of the research is to better understand what drives the effectiveness and efficiency of hound hunting. This research relies on hunters collecting and providing the GMA with data including hound pack size and shooting distance, which we then compare to geographic data to help measure efficiency in particular locations. The information provided by hound hunters allows us to describe the various factors that influence hunt outcomes, such as hunt length. Hound hunting crews have volunteered to contribute to the research through the Australian Deer Association.

Previous research has relied on hunter surveys and measuring catch-per-unit-effort for the whole day, even if only part of the day was spent hunting. This research will provide greater insights on a more detailed scale and allow us to get a more accurate picture of the efficiency and effectiveness of hound hunting in Victoria.

It is anticipated that the research will conclude in late-2021.

The GMA is conducting research into the use of lead-free bullets for game deer hunting in Victoria.

The research is trialling the efficacy of commercially available lead-free bullets to determine if they are comparable to traditional lead-based products used to hunt Victorian deer species.

Lead-free products are becoming more common in the market and some countries are moving away from the use of toxic lead in bullets. This is largely due to the negative impacts of lead on the environment, scavenging wildlife (through ingestion of lead fragments in gut piles etc.) and human health (through ingestion of lead fragments in gut meat). While research has been conducted overseas to assess the efficacy of lead-free bullets (including some deer species that occur in Australia), no trials have been conducted in Australia, and many deer species hunted in Victoria have not been included in past assessments (e.g. Sambar Deer).

Hunters have volunteered to participate in the research through the Australian Deer Association. The research will contribute to knowledge in this area, on a global scale, while also providing new information for the Australian context.

It is anticipated that the research will conclude in late-2021.

Hog Deer research

Hog Deer (Axis porcinus porcinus) are a valued social resource and highly prized game species for many stakeholders in Victoria.  However, they are introduced fauna and in some circumstances can contribute to negative impacts on native biodiversity.  In addition, some landowners do not share the same appreciation for the deer or its intrinsic value due to the effects the deer may have on primary production.  Therefore it is important to monitor this important species to ensure that it is managed sustainably.

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The GMA is working with the Hog Deer hunting community to better understand the abundance and distribution of Hog Deer in Victoria.

You can help by collecting tissue samples from harvested deer and making them available for genetic analysis. Understanding the genetics of the populations will allow us to identify the movement between populations.

The data gathered will provide baseline information on Victoria’s Hog Deer populations and will help us to monitor any changes in abundance and distribution in the future. This information will also help us to understand how Hog Deer respond to management actions or changes in the environment, climate, disease or other factors.

How to collect Hog Deer tissue samples,

what to do with them and how we will use them

Take a zip lock bag or sealed container and a permanent marker pen with you into the field.

Collect a sample of liver from a recently harvested Hog Deer (approximately 1cm x1cm x1cm). If liver is not available, a skin sample could be collected instead, however, liver is preferred. Muscle is of less value but will also be acceptable if liver or skin is not available. Make sure that the sample is not contaminated with soil, hair or gut contents. 
 

When you collect the sample, use a clean knife each time to avoid contamination. Clean the knife using detergent and water or use a 10% bleach to water solution. Be sure to rinse the knife with clean water after cleaning with detergent or bleach.  Do not use alcohol or alcohol wipes to clean the knife.

Place the sample into a plastic zip-lock bag or secure container and refrigerate/put on ice as soon as possible after collection and then freeze the sample.

 
 

On the zip lock bag or on a sticker on a secure container, record the following: your Hog Deer tag number, the sex (male/female) of the animal, whether it was an adult or juvenile, the location where the animal was harvested (GPS coordinates/closest town to within 10km, or “location undisclosed”), the date it was harvested. The exact details of harvest location you provide will remain confidential.

It is best to record the location that the animal was harvested using GPS coordinates.  If that isn’t possible, recording the nearest town to within a maximum of 10 km away is OK.  Any further and the data will not be of any value.  If you don’t want to record the location, just write “location undisclosed”. The GPS data will only be used for research purposes.

 
 

You can freeze the sample straight away if a freezer is available.  If you can’t freeze the sample prior to attending a checking station, that’s OK as long as the sample is kept refrigerated or on ice.

Take the refrigerated/frozen sample to your nearest checking station within the required 24-hour period with your harvested Hog Deer. The checking station operator will collect the sample when you take the animal there for processing. A list of checking stations, the hours of operation and contact details can be found at www.gma.vic.gov.au.

 
 

The information you provide will help assess the abundance and distribution of Hog Deer populations across Victoria. This will help us to better manage the populations to ensure they remain healthy, sustainable and in balance with other management priorities. The exact details of harvest location you provide will remain confidential.

Parks Victoria, in partnership with the Australian Deer Association, Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Vic Branch) and the Game Management Authority, conducted a trial Hog Deer control program at Wilsons Promontory National Park between 18-20 August 2015.

The program seeks to build knowledge and understanding of the impact of the population of Hog Deer on the Prom, its habitat and endangered and vulnerable plant species within the park.  It was developed to ensure everything is being done to protect and preserve the health of Wilsons Promontory and that it remains a world-class national park and tourism attraction.

The reports which summarise the data collected during the control programs can be found in the harvest report section of the GMA website.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US-DnJ5xucM&t=24s

2020 Blond Bay ballot hunt report from the Advisory Group (BBHDAG)

This information below relates to the 2019 ballot and is based on the data collected at checking stations and from the hunter Hog Deer return forms. As interest in Hog Deer hunting continues to grow, accurate data is critical to ensure hog deer hunting remains sustainable.

A Hog Deer Control trial was conducted at Wilsons Promontory National Park in 2015.  This collaborative effort between Parks Victoria, the Game Management Authority, Australian Deer Association, Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria), Deakin University and other research and government agencies is summarised in this video. Fourty-two deer were removed from 18 to 20 August and monitoring will continue to build knowledge and understanding of the impact these deer are having on this iconic national park.

Page last updated: 11 Nov 2020