Managing feral deer in NSW

Certain deer hunting regulations that were suspended in 2018 have been extended for another five years (16 November 2021 – 15 November 2026).


For NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) public land hunters holding written permission issued by DPI:

  • deer seasons no longer apply
  • electronic devices or callers may be used.

Private land hunters with permission to hunt from a landholder or occupier do not require a game hunting licence.

Rule Private land Public landNotes
Must have permission of the landholder before entering any lands to hunt deer Yes Yes Public land – written permission from NSW DPI
Must hold a NSW Game Hunting Licence N/A Yes Public land – Restricted class (R-Licence)
May hunt all deer species all year round N/A Yes Legal season for fallow, red, wapiti and hog deer suspended
May use electronic device to hunt deer N/A Yes E.g. electronic game callers now permitted

Use of spotlights on public land is still prohibited. Written permission conditions 12 and 13 prohibit hunting on public land at night using firearms or bows and the use of spotlights while hunting.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions


Deer hunting on private land

Individuals seeking to target deer on private land must have:

  • permission to hunt from the landholder or manager
  • a current firearms licence (where firearms are used).

To better support landholders managing drought conditions and abundant deer herds, on Friday 6 September 2019 the NSW Government removed the requirement to hold a hunting licence before targeting deer on private land.

Removing the private land licensing requirement allows landholders to manage deer in the same way that rabbits, foxes, pigs and goats are controlled. 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.

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

Note: the private land NSW General Game Hunting Licence (G-Licence) is still required for individuals seeking to participate in the Native Game Bird Management Program.

Deer hunting on public land

Individuals seeking to target deer on public land must:

Deer remain a game animal for the purpose of public land hunting by NSW R-Licence holders. However, some hunting regulations were suspended in 2018 and then re-suspended on Tuesday 16 November 2021.

Suspended regulations include:

  • deer hunting seasons – all deer species may be targeted year-round
  • electronic devices or callers – licence holders may now use electronic game callers.

Use of spotlights on public land is still prohibited. Written permission conditions 12 and 13 prohibit hunting on public land at night using firearms or bows and the use of spotlights while hunting.

Note: new R-Licence holders will receive a copy of all the regulations applying to their licence, with their licence card. This attachment does not refer to the suspended regulations.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions