Feral red deer. From Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Photo Contributed
Feral red deer. From Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Photo Contributed Contributed

Wild deer are causing a stir in parts of the South Burnett

WILD deer populations are on the increase in the South Burnett, causing particular concern for landholders close to dense country, pine plantations and forests.

According to a report released by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, large deer populations have significant agricultural, environmental and social impacts.

Competing with livestock for pasture, carrying pests and diseases, crop damage, motor vehicle accidents and damage to forestation are listed as some of the main issues deer cause financially and environmentally.

Alan King, Rob McCoust and Syd Frohloff are all cattle producers from the dense country of Kooralgin, just south of Yarraman, and noticed an increase in deers in the last few years.

"We've all lived in this area nearly all our lives and when we were young fellas, we never saw a deer," Rob McCoust said.

In the past year, Alan King shot seven deer - an act he'd never had to consider in the past.

"We hardly ever saw a deer four years ago.

Now it's not hard to see 20 or 30 deer at a time on our hills during the roaring season," Mr King said.

Deers are declared a feral pest in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

The landholders have become increasingly frustrated by deer, especially when control efforts are limited and illegal hunting is rampant.

John Higgins from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said deer were known to transfer tick to cattle - a serious economic pest of the state's cattle industry.

"If the deer are by themselves and there's no cattle, the tick will eventually die out," Mr Higgins said.

"But where there's cattle and deer, they'll spread it no problem at all."

Mr King believed the increase of cattle tick could be attributed to the peak in deer population.

"The deer seem to travel extremely long distances and the stags are the ones who are travelling through extremely ticky country and bringing them back," he said.

"One tick can bring so much damage and we have to clean it up and that's a big cost when it's happening constantly."

Matt Amos from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said deer spreading ticks was a real problem.

"I've seen photos of them after they've been shot and they're just loaded with cattle tick.

"If you're going to do the shooting you need to get stuck into them," Mr Amos said.

"It's like any pest animal - if you can get them when their numbers are low, you can keep them low."

South Burnett

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