Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (future)

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Victoria specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (future)

Postby Biggles » Thu 28 Mar, 2024 1:25 pm

A number of visitor areas will be closed over the April/May weekend as an aerial deer shooting program is carried out by Parks Victoria.

Areas include:
FEATHERTOP:
· MUMC Hut
· Bon Accord Spur
· Northwest Spur
· East Ovens Track
BOGONG HIGH PLAINS:
· Moncrieffs Gap Track
· East Kiewa Fire Track
· Cranky Charlie Track
· Roper Spur Track
· Big River Fire Track (off BHP Road)
· Spring Saddle Track
· Arthur Track
· Mt Arthur Fire Trail
· Red Fox Track
· Black Possum Spur Track
· Junction Spur Fire Track
· Trapyard Gap Track
DINNER PLAIN/MT HOTHAM
· Mt Tabletop Walking Track
· Mayford
· Kings Spur
· Longs Spur

Please visit https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/coc-listing before travelling
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby stry » Thu 28 Mar, 2024 2:31 pm

The species of deer pictured in the notice doesn't exist in the areas proposed for aerial shooting.

Lack of research and of clear goals is a feature of these programs.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby Xplora » Fri 29 Mar, 2024 5:34 pm

stry wrote:The species of deer pictured in the notice doesn't exist in the areas proposed for aerial shooting.

Lack of research and of clear goals is a feature of these programs.


I have to take issue with this but it is not personal. The picture and information did not come direct from Parks Vic. The information provided is third party. I get the first hand stuff and aerial shooting of deer has made a considerable impact regarding numbers which also equates to damage. I have also witnessed aerial shooting first hand. I would be happy for you to explain what you mean by 'lack of research and clear goals' being a feature. How else would you propose to control invasive species on a broad scale? The initial trial of aerial deer shooting produced results of one deer for every 8 minutes of flying. This did far better than the previous ground shooting trial using accredited volunteers. Over 200 deer have be shot in two days of flying. There is not other available method of control for deer in our parks other than shooting and aerial shooting does it the best by far.

I am sure people will get upset because access is denied for a time for the purpose of park management but the restricted access is for the perception of public safety. You will find most of the commonly used tracks are still available. This is vital work and we should all suck it up. It affects me just as much and I am sick of invasive species being given priority. Time to think about the condition of the park for those who come after us.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby bernieq » Fri 29 Mar, 2024 7:43 pm

Xplora wrote:This is vital work and we should all suck it up

Absolutely!

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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 03 Apr, 2024 8:58 am

Some management activities require inconvenience for users. In the short term the park is closed. In the long term the park is enhanced. Also, the end of April is shoulder bushwalking season, autumn, chance of cold and bad weather more probable than early April. There will not be many people on the High Plains when the shooting is underway. I wonder if drones have a place for identifying feral locations so that the shooters can proceed directly to the deer, or if deer can be herded to the shooters. This may work with feral horses.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby stry » Wed 03 Apr, 2024 4:00 pm

Xplora wrote:
stry wrote:The species of deer pictured in the notice doesn't exist in the areas proposed for aerial shooting.

Lack of research and of clear goals is a feature of these programs.


I have to take issue with this but it is not personal. The picture and information did not come direct from Parks Vic. The information provided is third party. I get the first hand stuff and aerial shooting of deer has made a considerable impact regarding numbers which also equates to damage. I have also witnessed aerial shooting first hand. I would be happy for you to explain what you mean by 'lack of research and clear goals' being a feature. How else would you propose to control invasive species on a broad scale? The initial trial of aerial deer shooting produced results of one deer for every 8 minutes of flying. This did far better than the previous ground shooting trial using accredited volunteers. Over 200 deer have be shot in two days of flying. There is not other available method of control for deer in our parks other than shooting and aerial shooting does it the best by far.

I am sure people will get upset because access is denied for a time for the purpose of park management but the restricted access is for the perception of public safety. You will find most of the commonly used tracks are still available. This is vital work and we should all suck it up. It affects me just as much and I am sick of invasive species being given priority. Time to think about the condition of the park for those who come after us.


You misunderstand me :D By "lack of research and of clear goals" I am not saying that aerial shooting should, or should not be undertaken.

I am unaware of any but vague estimates of population. I am also unaware of any specific goals re numbers to be removed. Unless I have missed something, these two factors surely equate to lack of research and consequently a lack of meaningful goals. There also appears to not be any concentration on females, which is vital to a reduction of numbers, and ideally creating an environmentally harmonious population level, which is what we had with sambar deer many years ago. These thoughts apply only to deer, not horses.

I have no problem with the short term closures and agree with your comments in that regard.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby crollsurf » Wed 03 Apr, 2024 5:20 pm

Thanks, Xplora, for your insight. In NSW, it's a perfect storm of 2020 fires followed by floods and Barilaro's Brumby's legislation, along with a more litigious society, which has led to an insane amount of closures.

I know Vic, NSW, and ACT Parks coordinate their efforts in the high country, and it appears all entities are making a concerted effort to get on top of what can only be called, a feral infestation.

In the long term, it's a small price to pay re closures. But let's hope there is the political will to maintain the program and to limit closures and avoid this happening again.

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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby Xplora » Thu 04 Apr, 2024 7:59 am

stry wrote:You misunderstand me :D By "lack of research and of clear goals" I am not saying that aerial shooting should, or should not be undertaken.

I am unaware of any but vague estimates of population. I am also unaware of any specific goals re numbers to be removed. Unless I have missed something, these two factors surely equate to lack of research and consequently a lack of meaningful goals. There also appears to not be any concentration on females, which is vital to a reduction of numbers, and ideally creating an environmentally harmonious population level, which is what we had with sambar deer many years ago. These thoughts apply only to deer, not horses.

I have no problem with the short term closures and agree with your comments in that regard.


I suspected your meaning was not clear to me and appreciate the clarification. It has been difficult to try any Sambar population estimates. The current methods of counting don't work very well with an animal this well adapted to hiding during the day. Sambar are often solitary but will group at various times. Research has been attempted to determine the extent of the deer's roam but they have not been able to capture a sambar to collar it. The best efforts have been to determine the extent of deer specific impact in areas. Males tend to create and use wallows more and that has a significant impact on water courses. One of the specific areas being targeted is heavily weighted with males. I believe that is over in the Fainters. Males also rub trees. Females are important to target because they are the breeders but as browser feeders might cause less direct impact. I am not aware of any operations where females are not shot if seen.

As far as goals go, that is all related to how much money there is available. When you hear about deer running around the streets of Melbourne all of a sudden people get interested but it is more about protecting Melbourne water sources. The Vic National Parks Act is not ambiguous. Exotic species in the parks are to be eradicated (where possible) or controlled if eradication is not possible. There is no consideration of a sustainable number (I would not call any number environmentally harmonious as small populations still cause damage) so these measures will continue while there is money in the budget.

Lophophaps wrote:Some management activities require inconvenience for users. In the short term the park is closed. In the long term the park is enhanced. Also, the end of April is shoulder bushwalking season, autumn, chance of cold and bad weather more probable than early April. There will not be many people on the High Plains when the shooting is underway. I wonder if drones have a place for identifying feral locations so that the shooters can proceed directly to the deer, or if deer can be herded to the shooters. This may work with feral horses.


Herding Sambar will not work as they are not in large groups. Some of the country I have seen the chopper in is heavily timbered. I watched it fly below the visible canopy up a creek line and heard shots of a series of minutes. I have read of some other species being herded to more open area so a better shot can be taken. No real need to herd horses but I doubt it would be approved. BLM are doing it in the US and cop a fair bit of flack. They herd to yards and the horses are trucked out. There has been some criticism of the chase time of horses being too long so I doubt that would get a tick from the RSPCA. Horses are usually in family groups of 10 to 15 and there will be some bachelor groups. I think most of the horses on BHP have been removed.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby EGM » Sun 14 Apr, 2024 8:13 pm

Surely they are also shooting horses while they're up there? It would seem like a missed opportunity if not.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby Xplora » Mon 15 Apr, 2024 7:17 am

EGM wrote:Surely they are also shooting horses while they're up there? It would seem like a missed opportunity if not.


Unless all the horses have been dealt with. Can anyone report seeing horses on BHP lately?
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby Xplora » Mon 15 Apr, 2024 7:19 am

I should also add that no horse shooting exercises will have notice given. I have no doubt feral horses will be shot also if seen.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 17 Apr, 2024 9:40 am

All my Bogong High Plains feral horse sightings have been in the Jim-Youngs Hut region, with a few mobs east of pole 267 on the broad ridge south of Jim. I have not seen any horses on the Bogong High Plains for a few years. KNP has many horses that cause a great deal of environmental damage. The KNP horses are mainly on the northern plains.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby stry » Thu 18 Apr, 2024 10:07 pm

My experience differs from yours Lops. :)

I haven't been in Vic Snowies (IE south of the Murray since the middle of covid, but horses were plentiful there then, and their damage was widespread and obvious. Horses are most definitely not confined to the northern plains, and were far more numerous than on my first visit to that country over 50 years ago.

I haven't been in the NSW Snowies immediately north of the border for maybe 10 years, but even then horse sign and damage was visible almost anywhere that I walked into the bush for more than a couple of hundred yards.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby north-north-west » Fri 19 Apr, 2024 7:15 am

Cowombat, Limestone, Cobberas, Miisery Ridge, Davies Plain, Buckwong ... a lot of feral horses and a lot of damage. They're generally a pretty scruffy mob of horses down that way, too. The Long Plain mobs were probably topped up with deliberate releases at times to improve the stock. That wa rarer with the southern animals.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby Xplora » Sun 21 Apr, 2024 6:34 am

north-north-west wrote:Cowombat, Limestone, Cobberas, Miisery Ridge, Davies Plain, Buckwong ... a lot of feral horses and a lot of damage. They're generally a pretty scruffy mob of horses down that way, too. The Long Plain mobs were probably topped up with deliberate releases at times to improve the stock. That wa rarer with the southern animals.


From a recent trip I can say there are fewer horses but the damage is still evident. Saw some pig and rabbit damage also but horses were the biggest contributor. It has been a while since I have driven the Cobberas/McFarlane tracks but saw plenty of horses coming out of the scrub. Horse droppings can be seen on the Limestone road not far out of Benambra and there is too much for that to come from any local.

Parks are putting some great effort into the Eastern Alps. It is difficult to get a reliable count because it is heavily timbered and rugged. The horses of the Eastern Alps are runty mongrels of no value, historic or otherwise. The history of how they came to be there is well documented. They were abandoned because they were worth nothing and it was too hard to muster them.
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby Jack Doolan » Tue 21 May, 2024 7:12 pm

I am located in central Vic and we have a lot of deer in the bush surrounding the area in which we live and their numbers have increased substantially over the 20 years that we have been here. By my observation though, I am struggling to see what impact they make. I see rub trees and other evidence of their passing but in comparison to wild horses or feral pigs and goats for example, their effect on the environment seems to be far less.

They are a feral animal and I am not suggesting that they should remain as a part of the native environment however there seems to be a disproportionate focus on deer rather than feral horses which clearly do more damage.

I read an online report suggesting deer are more harmful and invasive than cane toads. Clearly this is exaggerated. The lobby group that insists that feral horses should remain in the high country as part of our "heritage" obviously has more political clout than the hunters that see deer as a viable resource to be managed for future recreational purposes.

I support neither group but in fairness, I believe a more balance approach needs to be adopted. Ideally all feral animals (horses included) should be eradicated. Brave is the politician that proposes that!
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby als » Sat 25 May, 2024 7:00 am

If you are struggling to see the damage deer cause maybe look down and see all the deer *&%$#! on the ground with blackberry seeds in it
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Re: Alpine National Park Closures for Aerial Shooting (futur

Postby Xplora » Sat 25 May, 2024 7:36 am

Jack Doolan wrote:I am located in central Vic and we have a lot of deer in the bush surrounding the area in which we live and their numbers have increased substantially over the 20 years that we have been here. By my observation though, I am struggling to see what impact they make. I see rub trees and other evidence of their passing but in comparison to wild horses or feral pigs and goats for example, their effect on the environment seems to be far less.

They are a feral animal and I am not suggesting that they should remain as a part of the native environment however there seems to be a disproportionate focus on deer rather than feral horses which clearly do more damage.

I read an online report suggesting deer are more harmful and invasive than cane toads. Clearly this is exaggerated. The lobby group that insists that feral horses should remain in the high country as part of our "heritage" obviously has more political clout than the hunters that see deer as a viable resource to be managed for future recreational purposes.

I support neither group but in fairness, I believe a more balance approach needs to be adopted. Ideally all feral animals (horses included) should be eradicated. Brave is the politician that proposes that!


You might need some catching up. Forget about what the horse lobby groups rant about. It means nothing (at least while we have a Labor government). Horses are being shot and removed from Alpine areas as well as Barmah NP. I don't think there are many horses left on Bogong High Plains but there are plenty in the Eastern Alps area. Deer cause considerable damage to the wet areas in the High Country turning soaks and bogs into wallows. The rubbing on trees also kills the tree by ring barking it. Deer are also browsers and will eat more than grass. They have very small feet and a large body mass so they compact soils and can erosion to stream banks. There are 6 species of deer in Australia. The Bogongs only has Sambar for now. It is mostly a solitary animal but other species will herd. Sambar are harder to control for that reason but the aerial shooting can take out about one every eight minutes on average with around 200 taken out during each aerial operation.

There is plenty of information about the damage deer do with some simple Google searching. Pigs, horses, rabbits and foxes all need to be controlled but horse advocates have been very vocal and caused some delay with control methods via court action (that failed).
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