The Draft Plan

The draft plan was available for public feedback  between 15 December 2022 and 20 March 2023. 

Thank you to all those who provided feedback, which will be considered by the Working Group in the preparation of the final plan.

A summary of the consultation feedback will be prepared soon.

About The Draft Plan

In just 30 years, farmers have seen feral deer go from being a novel addition to the landscape to a widespread and established pest across much of Australia. The spread of feral deer across Australia, is leading many farmers and conservationists to regard them as Australia’s next rabbit.


The National Feral Deer Action Plan is focused on supporting farmers, communities, organisations and government agencies to stop the spread and impacts of feral deer.


The Plan prioritises the need to contain large populations of feral deer and eradicate smaller, isolated populations. The Plan also prioritises the need for new control tools to augment shooting, trapping and fencing, and the need for all control programs to be coordinated across neighbouring properties and jurisdictions.


This Plan is for land management agencies, groups and organisations, governments, and land managers who are impacted by feral deer, or are likely to be impacted soon. The Plan is being developed by a Working Group, supported by the National Deer Management Coordinator, all of whom are working in partnerships and consultation with stakeholders across Australia.

Aims of the Draft Plan

The National Feral Deer Action Plan [Plan] aims to limit further spread of feral deer into new areas and reduce the impacts of large populations of feral deer on the environment, primary production and communities.


The Plan will raise awareness of feral deer impacts and control options to encourage early action on all small isolated populations, as well as large populations in priority areas.


The Plan also promotes the need to develop and trial new tools, and to build capacity to detect, cull and prevent further spread of feral deer.

The goals of this Plan are:

Stop the spread of large feral deer populations and reduce their impact.


(1) Coordinated containment and control efforts across multiple adjoining properties in priority areas


(2) Increased awareness to encourage coordinated control and early response

Control (drive down densities as far as possible) or eradicate small, isolated populations before they spread.


(1) Development of best practice tools and approaches in peri-urban areas and isolated populations


(2) Detect and respond quickly to incursions of feral deer in new areas

Protect significant sites from impacts from feral deer


(1) Identification and protection of threatened species, ecological communities and places of national and international cultural or environmental significance


(2) Priority response in areas that are recovering from bushfire

How we will do it

1. Neighbours/communities working collaboratively together

Because feral deer move readily across many property boundaries, they need to be managed at landscape scales. Landscape scale control of feral deer requires a coordinated, best practise approach, which seeks participation from all land managers, irrespective of land use.

The Plan will promote local and regional coordinators to support groups to pool efforts, share knowledge and responsibility for feral deer control.

2. Increase awareness

The Plan will build awareness of feral deer distribution, spread and impacts, and the need to act early, through workshops, forums, networks and media. It will also seek to fill data gaps in feral deer distribution and impacts.

3. Promote best practice to reduce impacts in large feral deer populations

The Plan will update and promote best practice guides, tools and approaches and highlight demonstration sites that employ strategic use of tools across landscape scales. The Plan will also promote the need to remove at least 35 to 50 per cent of a local feral deer population (particularly females) each year to counter natural population growth, and reduce impacts.

4. Prevent the spread

Preventing the spread of existing feral deer distributions (particularly into peri-urban areas) and eradicating isolated incursions is the most feasible approach to managing the national feral deer problem, at least until more cost-effective tools are available. The Plan will promote proactive surveillance and early response plans and strategic programs to tackle feral deer as soon as they pop up in new areas. It will also promote investment to eradicate small isolated incursions, to prevent future explosions in deer populations.

5. Protect areas of national significance from impacts of feral deer

The Plan will identify nationally or internationally important sites (e.g. RAMSAR, World Heritage, indigenous protected areas) that are threatened by or impacted by feral deer and promote the need for site management plans that proactively protect the environmental and cultural values from future impacts of deer.

6. R&D to improve control tools

Land managers and programs are often not able to shoot or trap feral deer at sufficient intensities to meet their management goals. Low-effort control tools such as baits, or automated detection technology would enable these programs to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Thermal technology is also advancing quickly, and is likely to play an increasingly important role in surveillance and control of feral deer in Australia. Research on new tools, as well as strategies to improve existing tools will increase our chances of managing feral deer impacts.

How we’re progressing

We're making headway

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