Bill Tilley has questioned if shooting deer from helicopters will give enough “bang for your buck” when it comes to culling the pest.
Parks Victoria will trial aerial shooting of deer in the Alpine National Park for the first time in Victoria during October.
The trial will occur over a three to four day period on weekdays between October 8 and 26 to avoid key visitation periods.
Sambar, red and fallow deer will be targeted at Mount Pinnibar, Mount Feathertop and the Mount Buffalo National Park.
Parks Victoria says it will use “highly skilled professionals”, adhere to the firearms act and “ensure safe, effective and humane practices at all times” when shooting the deer.
“This is a major breakthrough for the Labor government in finally realising deer are a major issue in the North East,” he said.
“Any measure that can stop the damage deer are doing to parks, farm fences, eating pasture or just being a major hazard on the road is a good first step.
“But at conservatively $500 an hour to shoot from a helicopter, you have to wonder how much bang you are getting for your buck.
“Experienced, professional shooters suggest that deer for most of the day are well hidden in amongst the trees and while these trials are on the open mountain tops, there has to be some question about the cost effectiveness of this plan.”
Parks Victoria chief conservation scientist Mark Norman said the organisation sought advice from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service on the deer culling trial.
“Parks Victoria has an obligation to protect and conserve the delicate environment of our alpine regions,” he said.
“We are dedicated to developing a proactive approach to managing deer in the Alpine National Park.
“This trial aerial operation will provide us with greater intelligence in tracking the deer population in certain areas of the park and will help to mitigate future impacts on the fragile landscape.”
Australian Deer Association executive officer Barry Howlett has previously said his group was not opposed to aerial culling, but concerned about whether it could be done humanely and called for “good, transparent” reporting of the trial.
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