A SOUTH AUSTRALIAN plan to eradicate feral deer in the state by 2032 has been met with opposition from shooters – and not for the reason people might expect.

The South Australian Government says there are approximately 40,000 feral deer in the state, and that 34% of them need to be culled annually to prevent numbers increasing, never mind reducing existing numbers.

Shooters Union South Australia president Peter Heggie said the issue was not eradicating feral deer, but that recreational hunters and volunteer pest controllers were not invited to be part of the solution.

“There are approximately 50,000 licensed hunters in South Australia who would be extremely glad to deal with the feral deer problem at no charge to the government,” he said.

“In fact, the Government would probably make some money charging an access fee for the state forests etc the deer are hiding in.

“Another benefit would be the shooters can harvest the meat from any deer they take, filling the freezer with organic, free-range protein and feeding their families in the process. Given the skyrocketing cost of living, I’d have thought the government would love to be supporting an initiative that helps feed South Australians for less money.”

Mr Heggie expressed his continued frustration that the government appeared to be going out of its way to avoid letting licensed shooters and volunteer pest controllers be part of the solution.

“Every time the issue of feral deer comes up, there are lots of studies commissioned and reports written and so on, but almost none of them ever have “Make it easier for hunters to go and shoot all the feral deer”, despite it being an obvious, practical, and cost-effective solution,” he said.

“Right now, getting two professional shooters up in a helicopter costs about $75,000 per day. That’s money that could be better but towards any number of things, including social services, community infrastructure, and reducing the cost of living for South Australians.

“We’d love to be part of the feral deer solution – we’re only a phone call or an e-mail away if the government wants to discuss it with us.”