Since the introduction of feral deer into the Limestone Coast their impact on primary production, community and the environment has been increasing.

There are an estimated 24,000 feral deer across the Limestone Coast. The impact of feral deer to primary production, the environment and community in the region is significant.

Whether you are a landholder, hunter or community member, we all have a role to play in removing this declared pest from our region.

Through its Feral Deer Eradication Program (the Program), the Limestone Coast (LC) Landscape Board is eradicating feral deer from the Limestone Coast.

The Program is free for landholders to join and supports them to remove feral deer on their properties and our landscape.

Together, we can eradicate feral deer from the Limestone Coast.


Hear from landholders

Hear from landholders in the Limestone Coast talking about the impacts of feral deer and the benefits of participating in the Feral Deer Eradication Program.

Case Study, Nathan Paine, Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Forest Products Association

Case Study, Lee, Limestone Coast sheep and cereal farmer and participant in the Feral Deer Eradication Program

Case Study. Ben, Limestone Coast primary producer and participant in the Feral Deer Eradication Program

Case Study. Peter, Limestone Coast farmer and participant in the Feral Deer Eradication Program

Case Study. Anne, Limestone Coast landholder and participant in the Feral Deer Eradication Program

Operation results

In 2023, over 6,531 feral deer were removed from the Limestone Coast as part of a coordinated effort to reduce the pest’s impact on the region’s agriculture, native habitats and public safety.

Over 320 private properties, forestry reserves and conservation parks were accessed in 2023 which demonstrates the commitment of the community to protect the region.

Over 1,028,941 hectares were covered using aerial and ground shooting and Conservation Wildlife Management SA volunteers.

The annual results demonstrate the effectiveness at removing feral deer using a suite of tools such as thermal assisted aerial shooting, standard aerial shooting, professional ground shooting contractors, meat harvesters and volunteers.

2023 Feral Deer Eradication Program operation results

Feral deer

Unfortunately, a large proportion of South Australia’s feral deer population is here in the Limestone Coast and that is why we are investing significantly to achieve eradication.

The Limestone Coast have an opportunity right now where the feral deer population is not as wide-spread compared to the eastern states and with the right approach feral deer can be eradicated from the region.

South Australia’s feral deer population could explode by more than 500% in the next decade, costing primary producers up to $242 million if further action is not taken.

When just one red stage can reduce a farms grazing capacity by 3.6 sheep, the impact of feral deer to primary production in the region is significant.

The Program

The Feral Deer Eradication Program (the Program) delivers on the Limestone Coast Landscape Board's vision to have a healthy, productive and biodiverse Limestone Coast landscape.

The Program is a coordinated effort to reduce the impact of feral deer on the regions primary production bottom line and environment and supports landholders meet their responsibilities under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019 to destroy feral deer on their property.

Integrating aerial and ground shooting operations, monitoring, compliance and enforcement, the Program aligns with National and State Feral Deer Strategies.

Aerial shooting of feral animals from a helicopter is an effective and efficient technique that can be used across a variety of habitats. Aerial shooting is also ideal in heavily vegetated, inaccessible areas during the day when deer are seeking cover.

To maximise effectiveness and efficiency of aerial operations, the thermal assisted aerial culling technique is used where appropriate.

Aerial shooting can remove feral deer missed by other control programs (e.g. ground shooting or trapping), helping to achieve landscape scale eradication in a short timeframe.

Aerial shooting schedule for FY 2023-24

The following dates have been completed for aerial shooting for the 2023-24 financial year. Please note these dates are subject to change.

  • Session 1 - 1 - 15 August 2023 (Central Limestone Coast)
  • Session 2 - 11 - 15 September 2023 (Northern Limestone Coast)
  • Session 3 - 19 - 30 October 2023 (Northern Limestone Coast)
  • Session 4 - 8 -12 April 2024 (Northern Limestone Coast)
  • Session 5 - 28 April - 6 May 2024 (Central Limestone Coast)
  • Session 6 - 7 - 12 May 2024 (Northern Limestone Coast)
  • Session 7 - 13 - 24 May 2024 (Northern Limestone Coast)

The LC Landscape Board undertakes its shooting operations in partnership with PIRSA and the Department for Environment and Water (DEW).


Ground shooting operations of feral deer with professional contractors combined with aerial shooting, helps to achieve landscape scale eradication in a short timeframe.

Ground shooting uses self-reloading firearms matched with suppressors and thermal assisted scopes to reduce noise and impact to livestock and target feral deer at nighttime when they are moving from native vegetation into open feeding areas.

Ground shooting schedule for FY 2023-24

Ground shooting is conducted by professional contractors. The LC Landscape Board will provide additional correspondence to landholders who select ground shooting services when there is a ground shooting operation in their area.

The LC Landscape Board undertakes its shooting operations in partnership with PIRSA and the Department for Environment and Water (DEW).

The LC Landscape Board is committed to supporting landholders to eradicate feral deer on their properties and monitoring to determine the distribution and abundance of feral deer across the region is a key component of the Program.

Information collected from the monitoring inform the LC Landscape Board’s Feral Deer Eradication Program. Sightings on private land are reported to the landholders concerned who are then encouraged to participate in the LC Landscape Boards aerial and ground shooting operations.

Ground monitoring is being used to support aerial monitoring and uses a combination of thermal assisted and visual spotting of feral deer along driven transects in priority areas. The ground monitoring has been conducted with Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation through funding support from the South Australian Government Landscape Priorities Fund.

The deer farm compliance operations of the LC Landscape Board supports the Feral Deer Eradication Program through actions to prevent farmed deer escaping and boosting the feral deer population in the Limestone Coast.

Under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019 (the Act), deer are declared either for destruction or control depending on whether they are classified as feral or domestic (farmed) deer.

As part of the compliance operations, Landscape Officers with the LC Landscape Board work directly with deer farmers to ensure all farmed deer are ear tagged and confined to clearly differentiate them from feral deer.

Deer farm inspections have followed an awareness campaign to registered deer farmers reminding them of the obligations when farming deer.

Results of the Limestone Coast Landscape Board (LC Landscape Board) aerial monitoring and shooting operations, and the findings from the Feral Deer Economic Impact Assessment report have been the catalyst for significant investment over the next three years to contribute to the feral deer eradication effort.

The LC Landscape Board Feral Deer Eradication Program funding partners include:

  • Commonwealth funds
  • Limestone Coast regional landscape levy
  • The Australian Government’s ‘Supporting Communities Manage Pest Animals and Weeds Program’
  • Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia

The LC Landscape Board also work closely with groups such as National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia, Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation and the Conservation & Wildlife Management (CWM) SA.

The Conservation & Wildlife Management (CWM) a member group of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) South Australia, have been in partnership with the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) since 1992 also completing activities for SA Water, Forestry SA, Nature Foundation and many other organisations.

For further information on CWMSA activities or to join the organisation please visit Conservation and Wildlife Management (SA) Inc (cwmsa.com.au).

The Limestone Coast Landscape Board applaud the efforts of the CWMSA program as we all work to eradicate feral deer from the Limestone Coast.

Join the Feral Deer Eradication Program

Sign up your property to participate in the Feral Deer Eradication Program, and we will be in contact when an operation is in your area.

Events

  • There are currently no events scheduled.

    Any Program updates and/or community information sessions will be published here when confirmed.

News

  • Autumn operation delivers results

    The 2023 autumn shoot operation undertaken by the LC Landscape Board culled over 2,011 feral deer from the Limestone Coast.