Feral Deer Control Kit for the Upper Ovens Valley

Description and Identification of Deer Habitat

Table of Contents

Where do you find deer?

Deer tend to find harbour in the forested areas during the day and move to paddocks to graze overnight potentially in large numbers (Claridge 2016).

Camera trapping in the Buckland Valley in north-eastern Victoria has recorded between 60 to 130 deer regularly accessing a single property from an adjoining conservation park (Claridge 2016).

Deer prefer moister areas along drainage lines with the following attributes (Claridge 2016):

  • Gullies that provide water and food plants;
  • Sunny open areas, particularly in winter;
  • Forest edges next to farmland which provides greater access to a wider variety and amount of food than bushland alone;
  • Dense forest cover for shelter from wind and extreme hot or cold temperatures;
  • Dense thickets of Blackberries in gullies and along the interface between bushland and farmland; and
  • Non bushland areas that provide grass or other non forest food sources.

Sambar Deer

Sambar Deer are the most common deer species in the north east. They prefer closed woodlands, forests and farmland with high tree cover including a dense understory for shelter. They particularly like dense thickets of Burgan, Blackberries or similar shrubs/small trees which provide dense foliage to ground level to bed down and shelter in by day.

They need a nearby water source such as streams, lakes or artificial water sources such as dams, and water troughs.

They favour high quality pasture close to their areas of shelter e.g. farmland on the edge of large adjoining areas of dense forests, tall shrublands.

Prime habitat would be densely forested hilly areas with secluded gullys to safely raise young nearby farmland that provides a ready source of grazing areas and water source such as a dam, creek or river.

They also target areas recovering from fire which provide fresh growth to eat and dense regrowth vegetation for cover. This provides ideal conditions for increased breeding and range expansion.

Red Deer

Red Deer prefer grassland, open woodlands and rainforest in steep or flat country.

Red Deer need a nearby water source such as streams, lakes or artificial water sources such as dams, and water troughs.

They favour high quality pasture close to their areas of shelter e.g. farmland on the edge of open forests, woodlands shrublands, grasslands and timber plantations.

Fallow Deer

Fallow Deer, prefer open forests, woodlands and grasslands, cleared farmland or farmland with scattered trees in flat or steep country.

They need a nearby water source such as streams, lakes or artificial water sources such as dams, and water troughs.

Habitat identification

Look for the following evidence of deer:

Red Deer, Sambar Deer and Fallow Deer

Bushland: Fresh well used game trails, browse lines on the bottom branches of tall shrubs and trees, wallows hedging (where the tops of shrubs are overbrowsed), areas cleared by rutting activities and rub trees, deer pellets, prints and pugging.

Farmland: Look for game trails, deer pellets, deer prints, wallows and pugging across farmland and around dams, waterways and water troughs. Look for signs of grazing or browsing of crops, garden plants, pasture, paddock trees and other planted trees. Check fences for damage and evidence of deer passing under, over or through. Look for deer scats, prints and pugging around dams, water troughs and along waterways.

Further details on deer habitat are available from the websites listed in the Information resources section.

Where to find the deer on your property:

Sambar Deer

Search dense thickets of vegetation along waterways, particularly gully heads adjacent to or on farmland with good pasture during the day. Gully heads provide a source of water, a vantage point for stags to watch for other males and dense vegetation for shelter and concealment. Also check cleared farmland at dusk and dawn.

Red Deer and Fallow Deer

Search open areas of vegetation along water sources by day and cleared farmland by day and at dusk and dawn.