Smarter deer control

Trial work has shown large-scale traps have the capacity to become a tool for South Australian landholders to help control feral deer damage on-farm and in the landscape.

The trial is a part of a project funded by the Federal Government’s Smart Farms, Small Grants program and the Limestone Coast Landscape Board Grassroots grants, which aims to educate landholders on feral deer control and sustainable agricultural practices.

Livestock SA project manager Pene Keynes said there was great interest in the traps and discussions have shown feral deer control is a priority for landholders.

“This trial has highlighted the value of testing these innovations over different landscapes with different techniques,” she said.

The trial has shown there is potential for these traps to capture deer slowly and consistently.

PIRSA’s Deer Control Coordinator Jennifer Gillis said these traps have helped raise awareness of feral deer impacts.

“From the outset we assumed that trap design was important including trap location, the fence height being a minimum 1.9 metres and the dimensions of the trap,” she said.

“Adjustments to the length of the wings, lure preferences, monitoring cameras and trap gates have been made throughout the monitoring period to improve the traps.”

These trials will continue to be monitored for a year.

It is hoped that over time the deer get more comfortable with the traps and are attracted to the lures resulting in greater opportunity for trapping.

The traps will not replace other feral deer control methods in the long term however, are expected to be another tool available to control feral deer for producers and landscape boards across the state.

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