Santa’s deer coming to town

Rusa deer problem on Somerset's improved pastures


Sheep
Wild Rusa deer are becoming more intrusive with reports of their willingness to coexist with people. Picture: Brisbane City Council.

Wild Rusa deer are becoming more intrusive with reports of their willingness to coexist with people. Picture: Brisbane City Council.

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It seems Santa's lost feral deer are intruding into some regional properties and towns in our Somerset region.

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Rusa deer are becoming an increasing problem across the Somerset region in south east Queensland.

Somerset Regional Council deputy mayor, Dan Hall, believes the deer’s willingness to cohabitate with people is resulting in more intrusion by the species to smaller landholdings and towns.

Cr Hall noted well-known Red deer are more flighty than the Rusa type and therefore willing to live in more populated areas.

He said livestock producers are having issues with deer after spending good money on improved pastures on their properties.

“The commercial deer industry isn’t viable at present, so motivation for professional shooters outside game hunting ain’t high, therefore population control and management is an important focus for local graziers and farmers,” he said.

The Somerset Regional Council currently supplies traps to landholders to help manage feral deer in the region.

But Cr Hall said the local deer population is still at manageable numbers for a declared pest animal.

“We have quite a number of feral deer across our region, mainly Red deer, but we're not overrun with numbers at present.

Somerset Regional Council mayor Graeme Lehmann with the Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey AC at the official unveiling of 'Norman' the red deer sculpture in October outside the region's local art gallery.

Somerset Regional Council mayor Graeme Lehmann with the Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey AC at the official unveiling of 'Norman' the red deer sculpture in October outside the region's local art gallery.

“The Rusa deer are the main problem because they’re spreading out and coming into people’s house yards due to a lack of fear towards humans.”

Rusa are more compact body type than Red deer with greyish brown coats and distinct light coloured hair on their chest and throat.

The state Government’s feral deer management strategy has reportedly helped manage feral deer in the Somerset area, but Cr Hall attributes much of credit to rural producers and professional shooters for keeping control of local deer numbers.

“Somerset Regional Council’s objective is to keep feral deer at reasonable numbers and they are currently at a manageable commodity level,” Cr Hall said.

“The deer holds an importance to people in our region because they were a gift from Queen Victoria and released at Cressbrook.”

Cr Hall noted as a local grazier he hasn’t seen the large 50 head plus herds of deer in the region like during the 1970s.

“I believe the numbers are similar or a little less than during the 70s, but we now have more Rusa deer and they are becoming a problem,” he said.

The story Santa’s deer coming to town first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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