Wild deer to be culled at Raymond Terrace in the new year

Locals are locking horns with Port Stephens Council over plans to cull a population of wild deer at Raymond Terrace in the new year.

The numbers of the deer have boomed around Beaton Avenue and the Irrawang Swamp downstream of Grahamstown Dam and are increasingly causing problems on local roads and in the local habitat.

Council said they have received an increasing number of complaints and reports of near misses on roads with deer this year – there have been at least five collisions with deer over the last 12 months which is double the amount per year for the past 10 years.

Council has consulted with local residents on a plan to cull the deer to reduce the risk to locals and following communication sent to residents, Council was contacted by 10 locals with varied responses.

Council and Hunter Water have been working with the RSPCA, NSW Police, Local Land Services and a consultant engaged for a control program to reduce the number of deer which most of the locals who responded agreed with.

At a recent meeting of the Hunter Regional Pest Animal Committee it was agreed that a controlled shooting was the most humane method of control.

Council’s Strategy and Environment Section Manager Brock Lamont said it is something that has to be done.

“Council is part of a broader group of the Hunter Regional Pest Animal Committee so we have been working with that committee generally about the deer issues that continue to raise their head across the whole of the lower Hunter,”

“Due to the wet weather and the ground conditions at the moment it hasn’t really been favorable for us to proceed with that [control program] this side of the Christmas break so we’d be looking at continuing with the planned deer management options in the new year,” said Brock Lamont.

He said they can put more signs up or spend a lot of money on deer proof fencing but it simply won’t address the root of the problem.

“The deer have a detrimental impact on the local environment in terms of they are stunting vegetation growth and allowing any sort of habitat to recover and continue to grow in that area so again we looked at mechanical options but it doesn’t really address the root of the problem that the deer population continues to grow and grow and grow and that will spread their reach beyond the food sources that are available to them,” he said.

“Whilst we acknowledge we won’t get agreement from absolutely everyone on any of these sorts of issues, obviously they are quite emotive in nature, I think looking at the broader picture and the impact on the broader environment is paramount to me and also the continued issues that we face with potential vehicle collisions  and threats to people’s property in that area.”

Council said they will keep the community informed of the process along the way and the deer would be removed with the meat donate to local zoos to feed animals.

Image credit: Pav KR Facebook Raymond Terrace Community Page