Managing feral deer in NSW

Removal of private land deer hunting licence

To better support landholders managing the current drought conditions and abundant deer herds, the NSW Government will amend the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 (the Act) by Ministerial order on Friday 6 September 2019. The change removes the requirement to hold a NSW Game Hunting Licence before hunting feral deer on private land, allowing them to be managed in the same way that rabbits, foxes, pigs and goats are controlled.

A formal control order has not been made under the Biosecurity Act 2015, which means there will be no obligation to eradicate placed on landholders and managers beyond the general biosecurity duty.

Why remove the licence requirement?

Removing the licensing requirement for feral deer allows landholders more options for control. It also supports landholders by allowing individuals who hold a firearms licence and an appropriate combination of firearm and ammunition, and skilled bow hunters using an appropriate bow and arrow, to target them on private property where they have permission to hunt.

This means, from Friday 6 September 2019, deer may be managed in the same way that rabbits, foxes, pigs and goats are controlled on private land.

However, deer remain a game animal for the purpose of regulated hunting on public land by NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence holders.