THE two-year trial of balloted Hog Deer hunting on Snake Island commences on Monday February 6 with a total of eight hunters permitted on the island for five days.
The ballot and hunting periods will be strictly regulated by the Game Management Authority (GMA) and Parks Victoria.
Snake Island is situated within Corner Inlet and is part of the Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park in South Gippsland. Access to the island is by boat and is tide dependent with the closest boat ramp at Port Welshpool. Current estimates of Hog Deer numbers on the island are about 500 individuals.
Since the announcement of the two-year trial by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio in August 2016, the GMA and Parks Victoria have consulted with key user groups including the Snake Island Cattleman’s Association, licensed tour operators, school groups, the Australian Deer Association and Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia.
The focus of the trial is on providing quality hunting opportunities in a safe and controlled way that coexists with current land use and visitors to the island.
The Australian Deer Association conducted a hunter education weekend at Port Welshpool on the 21 and 22 January 21 and 22and each hunter will undertake a mandatory briefing by Parks Victoria and the GMA prior to their hunting period.
There will be a total of seven hunt periods held between February and May this year, scheduled during the weekdays to avoid weekends and public holidays. Each hunt period begins on Monday at 8am and finishes on Friday at midday. Hunting is not permitted at night.
A hunter information package and fact sheet for the program has been developed and can be accessed from the Parks Victoria and GMA websites. This includes a map outlining the hunting exclusion zones on the island.
The ballot for the program has been conducted by the Blond Bay Hog Deer Advisory Group and the successful hunters have been notified.
“Parks Victoria has been extremely happy with the professionalism of our stakeholders in discussing the detail of this program and thank them for their time,” said Gerard Delaney, Parks Victoria’s Area Chief Ranger for South Gippsland and Bass.
“We will be reviewing the program after the completion of the 2017 hunt and again in 2018 following the completion of the trial, and will continue to consult with the various user groups,” he added.
“Hunters will be well briefed on their responsibilities and obligations, with a particular emphasis on safety. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the selected hunters to enjoy free-ranging Hog Deer hunting, and they will be wanting to make the most of the experience and do the right thing,” said Simon Toop, Game Management Authority Director.