As feral deer populations boom all over Australia, they are causing significant and widespread problems.

They can pose a direct threat to people by causing collisions on our roads, with aggressive behaviour and potentially spreading pathogens affecting human health, such as Leptospirosis and Cryptosporidium.

They also have the potential to cause agricultural and environmental impacts from which it can be very difficult to recover.

Road safety

Causing serious collisions on roads

Feral deer are a significant risk on roads due to their size and unpredictable behaviour.

Mature male Red Deer can weigh up to 240kg, which is almost the weight of a Harley Davidson motorbike, and three times the weight of a male red kangaroo.

That’s not something you want to suddenly see on the side of a windy road, especially in the dark.


Reducing the ability of farmers to earn a living

Feral deer are reducing the ability of many Australian farmers to earn a living.

Some farmers are spending more time managing feral deer on their property than they are managing their own livestock.

Other farmers are having to find income off the farm to cover the costs of the impacts of feral deer.  

This is causing significant physical, financial and psychological stress to many farmers in Australia.

The other impacts feral deer have on agriculture include:

  • Competing with livestock for grass and grain, during periods of drought – many deer can easily jump fences up to 2m high.
  • Biting cattle and spreading livestock pests such as cattle ticks, and diseases such as foot and mouth, and lymes disease.
  •  Damaging large areas of fencing.
  • Decimating vineyards and orchards by Ring barking and eating plants down below the soil line.
  • Spreading invasive weeds, which become expensive and difficult for farmers to manage.

Causing significant damage to native ecosystems

In natural landscapes, feral deer are causing significan damage to biodiversity.

The impacts feral deer have on the environment include:

  • Spreading invasive weeds which take over natural plant species habitat.
  • Creating erosion by eating out ground cover species.
  • Serious impact in all rainforest communities (e.g., subtropical,littoral, and cool temperate rainforests) which are browsed from ground todeer’s reach height e.g., removing mosses, ferns, fungi and epiphytic orchids.
  • Ring barking mature trees, and damaging forests to thepoint of collapse, as male deer rub the ‘velvet’ from their antlers.
  • Spreading invasive weeds which take over natural plant species’ habitat.
  • Fouling waterways including dams, rivers, creeks and wetlands, many of which feed into drinking water catchments.
  • Competing with native animal species for plants and grasses, leading to changes in the ecosystem.