FAQs about wild deer management in NSW


Ecological Deer Management or EDM - a way of managing wild deer using volunteer efforts of licensed hunters and other management techniques, according to a management plan for a particular land area that has defined aims and objectives to reduce the impact of wild deer.

Wild deer management plan – a framework for the management and control of wild deer for a specific parcel of land that is tailored for the most effective management of the herd and its ecology over a specified amount of time.

NSW game hunting licence holder - any individual who holds a NSW General or Restricted game hunting licence authorising the harvest of wild deer on certain lands according to specific rules and conditions.

Legal land area – a Lot and DP, number identifying a private parcel of land; a Local Government Area or another region as specified in legislation.

Special rules for deer hunting - the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 specifies that individuals seeking to hunt deer must hold a NSW game hunting licence. The Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2012 sets out special conditions that apply when deer are hunting in NSW.

Questions and answers

Why have some regulations for deer hunting been suspended in Local Government Areas?

Estimates of deer distribution and abundance in NSW have shown that in some areas of the State, wild deer have increased in number over the last five years. These areas have also seen an increase in the number of complaints about deer impacts.The suspensions as part of the DPI Ecological Deer Management program remove any perceived or actual impediments to hunters assisting landholders with deer control.

What  Local Government Areas (LGAs) are involved?

  • Bega Valley LGA
  • Coffs Harbour LGA
  • Glen Innes Severn LGA
  • Kempsey LGA
  • Liverpool Plains LGA
  • Nambucca LGA
  • Port Macquarie Hastings LGA
  • Snowy Monaro LGA
  • Snowy Valleys LGA
  • Tenterfield LGA
  • Upper Hunter LGA
  • Wollongong LGA.

Do I still need to have a G-Licence or R-Licence to hunt deer in NSW?

Yes – unless you are exempt.

Do I need permission from the landholder or land manager to hunt deer on their property?

Yes – every time you hunt you must have permission to do so from the landholder or manager.

What hunting regulations have been suspended in the listed Local Government Areas?

Part 3, clause 18 of the Game and Feral Animal Control Regulation 2012, allows the suspension of game hunting rules contained in clauses 5-18 of Schedule 1 to the Regulation, provided there is an approved wild deer management plan and established wild deer impacts.

A suspension of clauses 5-18 of Schedule 1 to the Regulation allows:

  • hunting during closed seasons for fallow, red, wapiti and hog deer
  • hunting at night
  • hunting using a spotlight or other electronic device
  • hunting deer fleeing from fire or smoke
  • hunting from an aircraft, watercraft or motor vehicle
  • hunting using a bait, lure, decoy or live animal to attract deer
  • for dogs used for locating, pointing or flushing deer  - more than one dog can be used by a person hunting alone, more than two dogs can be used by a group; dogs used in this way do not require a radio tracking collar or leash.

Do the suspensions affect hunting on declared public land for hunting like State forests?

No – the suspensions do not change any licence condition or special rule for hunting of wild deer on public land that is declared and open for hunting. This is because every State forest area open to hunting is subject to an extensive public land risk assessment. that evaluates public safety against hunting in State forest areas.

What about other public lands? Can I hunt deer on these lands under the suspension?

No – access to other public lands for hunting is highly restricted. You must have permission from the land manager to hunt on these lands.

However, if you have obtained prior permission to hunt on certain other public lands within a suspended LGA, the suspension order does apply. We encourage you to contact DPI to discuss your circumstances on 02 6363 7650 or game.licensing@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

How can I get involved?

For nine LGAs with suspended regulations, DPI administers both a hunter register and a landholder register to connect landholders with licensed hunters. Both hunters and landholders can apply to be on a register, and to receive contact information from a local LGA register.

It's important to remember that listing your contact information on an EDM register is not a guarantee of finding available licensed hunters or of gaining access to a property to hunt deer.