West Victoria Deer Control Plan

The West Victoria Deer Control Plan 2023–2028 (the Plan) is the Victorian Government’s plan to reduce the impact of deer across the west of Victoria. The plan aims 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 will spread further and become more established across western Victoria. The distribution of deer throughout western Victoria is not comprehensively documented, however, Fallow, Red, and Sambar deer are all known to occur, with new Hog deer populations emerging.

Population records indicate deer are not as widely distributed and established across the west as they are in other parts of the state. Opportunities for control include local elimination or containment, and to prevent their further spread into new areas in Victoria’s west, whilst also reducing the impacts of deer where they currently occur.

There is less core deer habitat in west Victoria and more fragmented vegetation compared to east Victoria. Greater areas of agricultural and private land use may assist in slowing deer spread and increase the efficacy of control programs.

The Plan was prepared in consultation with the West 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 ha 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 West 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