Managing wild deer in NSW

In NSW, wild deer are classified as a ‘game animal’ under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 (the Act). This means that individuals seeking to hunt deer in NSW are required to hold a NSW Game Hunting Licence, either General (private land) or Restricted (public and private). They must also abide by special conditions and adhere to a mandatory code of practice.

Some individuals are exempt from the requirement to hold a licence and obey special conditions for wild deer.

The rules governing hunting of wild deer in NSW are set out in the Act and its Regulation 2012. Read the Rules & regulations page for more information.

Read the suspension order published in the NSW Government Gazette. The order is in effect for three years.

State-wide suspension of certain regulations for hunting wild deer

To minimise the impacts of abundant wild deer herds across the State, some of the deer hunting regulations have been suspended. The current suspension applies across all of NSW for a period of three years.

Wild deer were identified as a priority species in the 11 Local Land Services Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans. Suspending the normal rules for deer hunting allows more options to control and minimise their impacts on landholders, the environment and communities.

Licensed, reputable hunters are invited to add their details to the Deer Assistance Hunter Register so landholders may contact them for help managing the impacts of wild deer.

Being placed on a hunter register is not a guarantee of being called by a landholder or of gaining access to a property to hunt deer.

Wild deer hunting rules

Rule Private land Public land 
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 Yes Yes General or Restricted
Must obey the Hunters Code of Practice Yes Yes  
May hunt all deer species all year-round Yes Yes Legal season for fallow, red, wapiti and hog deer suspended
May use a bait, lure or decoy to attract deer Yes Yes Does not include poison baits
May hunt deer at night Yes No Not suspended on public land due to public safety issues
May use a spotlight or other electronic device Yes No Not suspended on public land due to public safety issues
May hunt from a motor vehicle Yes No Not suspended on public land due to public safety issues

Deer Assistance Hunter Register

Farmers who require help managing a wild deer population may access a register of volunteer hunters.

I’m a landholder – how do I access the hunter register?

Landholders and land managers may phone 02 6363 7650 or email game.licensing@dpi.nsw.gov.au to access a list of volunteer hunters who have registered for their Local Land Services region.

I’m a hunter – how do I add my details to the hunter register?

Hunters holding a NSW Restricted or General Game Hunting Licence are invited to complete the Deer Assistance Hunter Register form to add their contact information to a register that landholders may access.

The following information is required when registering:

  • NSW game hunting licence number
  • Firearms licence number (if using firearms)
  • Local Land Services region
  • Contact details

I’m a hunter – how do I contact landholders?

Landholders may choose to contact you if they require assistance. There is no Deer Assistance register listing landholders requiring help, only licensed hunters.

Should a landholder require assistance, they may request access to the hunter register for their Local Land Services region by contacting the NSW DPI Game Licensing Unit.