Survey launched to track feral deer sightings in Northern Rivers

Published on 01 June 2023


A new survey has just been launched to gather community support to better understand the prevalence, impacts and perception of feral deer in the Northern Rivers.

Tweed Shire Council, in partnership with Byron and Kyogle councils, has launched a survey to understand the community’s perception of feral deer, the impacts of feral deer, the presence or absence of feral deer in the Northern Rivers and the need to control them.

Local feral deer management expert Rachel Hughes, who is managing the survey on behalf of the councils, said feral deer were spreading and it could potentially be a big problem if we don’t take action now.

“Feral deer are in all states and territories of Australia but they are in largest numbers in the eastern parts of Victoria and NSW, where they are spreading quickly,” Ms Hughes said.

"For example, in NSW, the 6 species of feral deer now inhabit 22% of the State, where their distribution has spread by 35% since 2016.

“Just over the border in Queensland, feral deer are a significant problem and have recently been spotted in front yards, along roads and in suburbia. If we don’t act now, it won’t be long before they potentially establish in the Northern Rivers too.”

Council is urging residents to fill out the new survey with results to be used to formulate integrated management programs to stop the spread and prevent the establishment of feral deer in the Northern Rivers.

“Our challenge is to stop the spread and prevent the establishment of feral deer in the Northern Rivers," Ms Hughes said.

"The purpose of this survey is to gather information about the presence, absence and distribution of feral deer in the Tweed, Kyogle and Byron Shire regions. Results from the survey will provide important data for the Northern Rivers Feral Deer Alert Program.”

Six species of feral deer have been introduced in Australia and are fast becoming one of the nation’s most concerning pest animals as they breed quickly and become difficult to manage as populations grow.

There have been 50 confirmed sightings of feral deer reported in the Tweed since the Northern Rivers Feral Deer Alert program was launched in May 2021.

Residents are urged to complete the short survey by 31 October 2023 at

Prevent feral deer getting out of control by reporting all sightings to


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