East Victoria Deer Control Plan

The East Victoria Deer Control Plan 2023–2028 (the Plan) is the Victorian Government’s plan to reduce the impact of deer across the east of Victoria. The aim of the Plan is to have a consistent framework to guide investment and collaborative on-ground actions, for the greatest biodiversity benefit whilst reducing impacts across multiple values and land tenures.

The Plan is one of three region-specific plans developed to address the state’s deer control response under the Victorian Deer Control Strategy (VDCS).

Impacts to a wide range of environmental, economic, and social values have been attributed to wild deer in Victoria. The most significant impacts align to priority values identified within the VDCS, including biodiversity, water quality, public safety, agricultural assets, and Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Population modelling indicates that if we do not act, deer populations in the east will continue to grow with impacts intensified, and act as a continuous source for spread to other parts of Victoria.

Deer are widespread and well established throughout the east, particularly Sambar and Fallow Deer, with small populations of Hog deer in coastal areas and Red deer in fragmented populations. Opportunities for control include identifying priority areas for asset protection, containment of populations, and areas where local elimination may be achieved.

There is a higher proportion of core deer habitat in east Victoria, with larger areas of contiguous habitat when compared to more fragmented landscapes in the west, with a higher proportion of natural areas including state forests, parks and reserves.

The Plan was prepared in consultation with the East Regional Deer Control Partnership Group made up of stakeholders involved in managing or monitoring deer impacts, including land managers, local government, conservation, industry, community groups and Traditional Owners, with input from the Victorian Deer Advisory Committee.

The Plan encourages agencies and the community to develop local cost-effective deer control options collaboratively, and contribute to monitoring to improve knowledge and success of the program over time.

We anticipate there will be 150,000 hectares of deer control in priority locations across Victoria per annum. This Plan will guide these actions whilst contributing towards Biodiversity 2037 targets. The Plan is supported by the Victorian Government commitment of $19.25m over 4 years and $4.4m ongoing.

Priority biodiversity values

Figure. 1: Map of priority values for protection based on biosecurity principles and high cost-benefit areas for deer control (Strategic Management Prospects) for the East Victoria Deer Plan regional area.

Figure 1. Map of priority values for protection based on biosecurity principles and high cost-benefit areas for deer control (Strategic Management Prospects)

Page last updated: 01/06/23