Trial work has shown large-scale traps have the capacity to become a tool for SA landholders to help control feral deer damage on-farm and in the landscape.
The trial is a part of a project funded by the federal government's Smart Farms, Small Grants program and the Limestone Coast Landscape Board Grassroots grants, which aims to educate landholders on feral deer control and sustainable agricultural practices.
Livestock SA, in partnership with PIRSA, Parawa Agricultural Bureau and Ag Excellence Alliance, recently invited industry and landholders to visit the traps on the Mid North, Fleurieu Peninsula and Limestone Coast to showcase deer control innovations.
Livestock SA project manager Pene Keynes said there was great interest in the traps and discussions have shown feral deer control is a priority for landholders throughout the state.
"Landholders are concerned about the damage feral deer can cause to the environment, including heritage scrubland, grazing lands and agricultural crops and the risks they pose to biosecurity.
"Attendees at the recent showcases were interested in the different management methods available to improve the sustainability of their agricultural practices and had the opportunity to engage with helpful service providers and industry members."
Ms Keynes said while the traps have shown great promise, trial work needs to continue to learn more about deer behaviour, the effect of seasonal conditions and to refine the trapping methods.
"This trial has highlighted the value of testing these innovations over different landscapes with different techniques.
"We have been able to educate landholders before they invest in establishing their own traps."
The trial has shown there is potential for these traps to capture deer slowly and consistently. They can also be remotely monitored and hold groups of deer, while supporting animal welfare by providing feed, water and shade in a non-stressful environment.
PIRSA's deer control coordinator Jennifer Gillis said these traps had helped raise awareness of feral deer impacts and directly informed over 80 regional land managers on the potential for traps to reduce the impact of feral deer on their land.
"From the outset we assumed that trap design was important including trap location, the fence height being a minimum 1.9 metres and the dimensions of the trap."
Adjustments to the length of the wings, lure preferences, monitoring cameras and trap gates have also been made throughout the monitoring period to improve the traps.
These trials will continue to be monitored for a year to continue to capture learnings and adapt the trapping technology.
It is hoped that over time, and with change of seasons, the deer get more comfortable with the traps and are attracted to the lures resulting in greater opportunity for trapping.
The traps will not replace other feral deer control methods in the long term however, are expected to be another tool available to control feral deer for producers and landscape boards across the state.
To find out more about the project or how to get involved in Feral Deer Control visit https://pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/introduced-pest-feral-animals/find_a_pest_animal/deer
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