Sambar Deer Positive for All
The Minister of Conservation, Hon.Chris Carter, has today announced his intention to remove current gazetted regulations controlling the hunting of sambar deer.
Sambar deer will now be treated like any other feral deer in New Zealand, requiring a hunting permit on public land and landowner's permission on private land but with no restriction on when hunting can take place or how many animals can be shot.
"Today's decision by the Minister will see positive gains for all parties", says Department of Conservation spokesman Palmerston North Area Manager Phil Mohi
"It will not only increase the opportunities for recreational hunters to try and shoot one of these animals", says Mr Mohi, "but will also give landowners and foresters the ability to better control deer numbers currently causing damage on their properties. Concerns that the herd will be eradicated are unfounded. The shy, elusive nature of these deer is what keeps many protected from the hunter's rifle".
Mr Mohi acknowledges the work of the Sambar Deer Management Foundation (SDMF) who has successfully administered the hunting ballot system for the Department of Conservation and crown lease forestry companies. He states, "discussions with the Foundation will be taking place to ensure their continued assistance in the management of permits for Sambar deer hunting on public conservation land".
Sambar are present in coastal country and gullies in Manawatu, Horowhenua, Rangitikei and Wanganui. Since 1988 hunting of Sambar deer has been tightly regulated to ensure the survival of the herd as a hunting resource. All hunters were licenced and could only shoot one deer a year during a limited six week season. Farmers and foresters have long advocated for a change in these regulations as growing sambar numbers have caused increasing damage to crops and pine plantations.
The Minister's decision follows a lengthy consultation process by the Department of Conservation, who administer the Wild Animal Control Act 1977, involving land owners, forestry companies and the hunting fraternity.