On Friday 6 September 2019, the licensing requirement in NSW for feral deer on private land changed under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002.
Need to know
From Friday 6 September 2019, a NSW Game Hunting Licence is no longer required when hunting feral deer on private land.
Individuals seeking to hunt deer must have permission to hunt from the landholder or manager as well as a current firearms licence where firearms are used.
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 remain a game animal for the purpose of public land hunting by NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) holders.
Affected G-Licence holders may choose to upgrade to an R-Licence, attempt the native game bird endorsement or apply for a refund.
Removal of private land deer hunting licence
To better support landholders managing the current drought conditions and abundant deer herds, the NSW Government will amend the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 (the Act) by Ministerial order on Friday 6 September 2019.
The change removes the requirement to hold a NSW Game Hunting Licence before hunting feral deer on private land, allowing them to be managed in the same way that rabbits, foxes, pigs and goats are controlled.
A formal control order has not been made under the Biosecurity Act 2015, which means there will be no obligation to eradicate placed on landholders and managers beyond the general biosecurity duty.
Why remove the licence requirement?
Removing the licensing requirement for feral deer allows landholders more options for control.
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.
This means, from Friday 6 September 2019, deer may be managed in the same way that rabbits, foxes, pigs and goats are controlled on private land.
However, deer remain a game animal for the purpose of regulated hunting on public land by NSW Restricted Game Hunting Licence holders.
This article was first published in The Fence magazine.