Managing feral deer in NSW

The new Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation, effective 1 September 2022, removed some requirements for deer hunting.

In 2019, in response to abundant deer populations, the requirement for hunters to hold a game hunting licence before targeting deer on private land was removed. As such, some deer-specific regulations are no longer necessary and have been removed from the remade Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2022.

Landowners or occupiers as well as their employees and family have always been exempt from the need to hold a game hunting licence to hunt deer on their land. Now, private land hunters with permission to hunt from a landholder or occupier do not require a game hunting licence.

NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) holders, who hunt deer on public land with written permission issued by NSW DPIRD, must comply with restrictions on the use of dogs when hunting deer. All other deer-specific rules, such as deer seasons, have been removed from the Regulation 2022.

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 DPIRD
Must hold a NSW Game Hunting Licence No Yes Public land – Restricted class (R-Licence)
May hunt all deer species all year round YesYes No seasons apply in NSW
May use electronic device to hunt deer Yes Yes E.g. electronic game callers now permitted

Written permission conditions 12 and 13 prohibit hunting on public land at night using firearms or bows.
Deer must not be hunted at night on public land.

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).

Deer on private land are managed in the same way that rabbits, foxes, pigs and goats are controlled.

Landholders may give permission to individuals holding a firearms licence and an appropriate combination of firearm and ammunition, or skilled bow hunters using an appropriate bow and arrow, to target deer on their private property.

A formal control order has not been made under the Biosecurity Act 2015, which means there will is 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:

All species, including deer, are considered game animals for the purpose of public land hunting by NSW R-Licence holders.

Using dogs to hunt deer

A person targeting deer may only use a dog to locate, point or flush deer.

All dogs being used to hunt must:

  • wear a collar which has a metal tag or label attached with the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the dog is legibly printed
  • be microchipped
  • be on a lead or wearing a radio tracking collar that is switched on and shows the position of the dog
  • not be left or abandoned on public land.

These requirements are in addition to the special conditions for hunting pigs and other game animals using dogs as well as the requirements of the Game Hunting Licence Code of Practice and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions