Managing wild deer in NSW

Need to know:

Ecological management of wild deer

Ecological Deer Management (EDM) supports private landholders and public land managers in controlling wild deer populations. Management of wild deer herds is best achieved by tailoring a detailed plan for a particular herd and its’ ecology on a particular land area, along with adequate resources to carry out the plan.

Through structured assistance from licensed and reputable hunters, EDM minimises the impact of wild deer and supports those who need to manage them. This management approach acknowledges that, although wild deer can cause damage to environmental, agricultural, economic and community values; they are also a popular game species, highly valued by hunters. EDM leverages the volunteer resources of licensed hunters to achieve specific goals set out in management plans designed for the land manager.

EDM focuses hunting effort to assist both local and regional deer management objectives. The program will achieve this by:

  • Supporting private land managers affected by wild deer to create a tailored deer management plan for their land or region and by suspending the normal restrictions that apply to hunting wild deer.
  • Focusing hunter effort on doe/hind harvest while restricting buck/stag harvest to assist with deer management objectives.
  • Providing fair and equitable access to deer hunting opportunities for licensed hunters on declared public land in NSW.
  • Supporting the broader planning, coordination and research efforts for wild deer management in NSW.

Primefact 1524: Ecological deer management in NSW is a short overview of the program.

Ecological Deer Management Policy (PDF, 155.26 KB)

What are the rules for deer hunting in NSW?

Those seeking to hunt deer in NSW must hold a game hunting licence, either General (G-Licence, for private land only) or Restricted (R-Licence, for public land, including private land). They must also abide by special conditions that restrict when and how wild deer are hunted 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.

In some areas, special conditions for hunting deer have been suspended.

Four State Forests in southern NSW are subject to an EDM program during the deer hunting season, 1 March to 31 October each year.

Primefact 1467: Hunting wild deer in NSW is a summary of the rules that apply.

I own land that is impacted by wild deer... can I apply to remove the hunting restrictions?

Yes; where wild deer are identified as impacting environmental, agricultural, economic or community values in a local or regional area, DPI can suspend the normal restrictions on deer hunting.

Landowners or managers and group representatives for a land area may apply for a suspension of the regulations. Before we can suspend the regulations, the land representative must:

  • develop a Wild deer management plan for the area concerned
  • submit an application form detailing the deer species present and their impacts
  • nominate which parts of the regulation should be suspended
  • provide further information as requested.

Suspension of regulations in Local Government Areas

The NSW Government Gazette published suspension orders for eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) on Friday 2 June 2017.

A further four orders were published in the Gazette on Friday 4 May 2018.