/Did you see the size of that?: Cyclists near miss with darting deer

Did you see the size of that?: Cyclists near miss with darting deer

Posted

April 08, 2019 13:51:30

A cyclist has narrowly missed hitting a feral deer while on a ride in the Adelaide Hills, as deer populations soar to record levels in South Australia.

Key points:

  • A man was lucky to avoid hitting a large deer while on a ride in the Adelaide Hills
  • There are now 10,000 deer throughout South Australia
  • A new State Government policy puts more requirements on farmers to eradicate them

There are now about 10,000 feral deer in South Australia — the highest number the state has seen, according to the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA).

Cyclists Paul Danher-Hart and Stuart Hollingsworth were riding through the Adelaide Hills on Saturday when a deer jumped across the road in front of them.

“I heard Stuart yell ‘bloody hell, did you see the size of that?'” Mr Danher-Hart said.

Once they finished their ride, he looked back through the footage captured on a camera mounted on his bike, and saw the deer.

He said it was the first time he had seen a deer after riding in the Adelaide Hills each weekend for 20 years.

A hit at full speed could be fatal.

“I’d imagine they’d be pretty heavy,” Mr Danher-Hart said.

State Government to address the deer issue

The State Government has introduced a new feral deer policy that requires landholders to completely destroy all feral deer on their properties.

The new policy includes a deer control coordinator and a requirement of deer farmers to tag all deer more than 12 months old.

New deer farmers will also have to build fences at least 1.9 metres tall to keep them in.

PIRSA principal biosecurity officer for pest animals Brad Page said deer hotspots included the South East and the Adelaide Hills, but the pests were also seen in low numbers in the Mid North and on the Eyre Peninsula.

“They’re in a lot of areas, and so this policy is really trying to have an impact on deer numbers before they go too high,” Mr Page said.

Deer are not allowed to be released from captivity, and keepers must notify neighbouring landholders if any escape.

Mr Page said the deer control coordinator would warn landholders about the damage done by increasing numbers of the pest in other areas.

“Saying to them ‘if you let your deer go and you don’t get onto them and destroy them while they’re in low numbers, then these are the sort of impacts they’re going to have’,” he said.

“They’ll be impacting on your pastures and crops, they’ll be impacting on your farm infrastructure, such as fences.”

Compliance the key to solving the problem

Keith cattle farmer James Darling believed there were many more deer than the official estimate.

He said ensuring compliance with the new policy would be important for it to have any effect.

“If compliance is not enforced, then the policy is not worth the paper it’s written on,” he said.

“The compliance issues are tagging and fencing.”

He said deer had damaged his fences, competed for pasture, killed young trees and disturbed native wildlife, including destroying malleefowl nests.

Continued funding for aerial control was also important, he said.

Pig population also targeted by the new policy

Environment Minister David Speirs said the new policy also applied to feral pigs.

“Although their numbers are still low in most areas, they could expand quickly if we don’t act swiftly,” Mr Speirs said.

“The policy includes the requirement for land managers to destroy all feral pigs on their properties and prohibits any movement, possession and sale of feral pigs.

“The most important messages are that no deer or pigs should ever be released into the wild, and that all landholders need to make an effort to reduce their numbers.”

Deer were first released in South Australia in 1880 for hunting.

Feral deer have been eradicated from Kangaroo Island.

Topics:

environmental-impact,

environmental-management,

animals,

pests,

livestock,

pig-production,

adelaide-5000,

mount-gambier-5290,

keith-5267,

mount-osmond-5064,

williamstown-5351,

sa,

jamestown-5491,

port-pirie-5540