New game managers welcomed

Luke Mitchell displays some deer shooting trophies. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Luke Mitchell displays some deer shooting trophies. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

AVID Wodonga deer shooter Luke Mitchell is out hunting every opportunity he gets.

Mr Mitchell, 38, has been hunting deer for the past seven years and is a member of the Australian Deer Association.

His usual hunting spots are around Tallangatta, Eskdale, Mitta and Shelley, which are not too far from home.

“Deer are pretty much everywhere these days,” he said.

His proficient hunting provides ample venison for his family.

“We rarely buy meat. One deer supplies you for quite a while,” he said.

“This year I want to do some deer salami.”

But the mainstays for the deer meat are sausages, mince and the usual cuts like roasts and steaks.

Mr Mitchell, along with his hunting colleagues, believes the establishment of the Victorian Game Management Authority on July 1 is appropriate.

Australian Deer Association Victorian president Col Brumley said it was a “prudent and timely” move and the government was delivering on an election commitment.

“The number of hunters, and deer hunters in particular, has risen dramatically over the past decade,” Mr Brumley said.

“Hunting now ranks as one of Victoria’s most important economic activities, with a recent report showing it contributed $440 million to the state’s economy in 2013.”

A University of Queensland report published by the CSIRO last month says hunters inject more than $1 billion into the Australian economy every year.

Victoria has more than 46,000 game licence holders, 50 per cent more than 10 years ago.

“The authority has a massive task ahead of it,” Mr Brumley said.

“Along with the rise in hunter numbers, Victoria is also experiencing a notable rise in wild deer numbers, which will require careful and considered management over the next 20 years.”

Game hunting at present is administered by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

“Given the importance of game management culturally, economically and environmentally, it is critical that decisions are made based on facts rather than emotive argument,” Mr Brumley said.