Feral deer
  • Last updated:
  • 14 Jan 2020

Feral deer have established wild populations throughout Queensland. This is a result of deliberate release or through deer escaping captivity. Any deer not kept in a deer-proof enclosure is considered to be feral. Information about deer-proof enclosures can be found on the feral deer fact sheets.

Three species of feral deer are known to occur in the Sunshine Coast local government area. These are feral fallow, feral red and feral rusa deer. 

All three are priority species and are restricted invasive animals under the Biosecurity Act. They must not be moved, fed, given away, sold, or released into the environment.

Where they live

Feral deer are known to occur in the semi-rural areas of the Mary River and Stanley River Catchments. Low incidences of deer have been confirmed in the Mooloolah River, Maroochy River and Pumicestone Passage Catchments.

They inhabit semi-open forest, scrubland and woodland areas. They graze on pastures and open grassy areas close to cover.

Problems caused by feral deer

Feral deer are a threat to road users and have the potential to cause serious traffic accidents due to their size and preference for night time movement.

They also impact native vegetation through grazing on and trampling young plants; ring-barking trees; and spreading weed seeds.

Feral deer can cause damage to pastures and crops and compete with livestock for food.

They also pose a threat to livestock through the spread of diseases.

Protecting against feral deer

Under the Biosecurity Act all Queenslanders have a general biosecurity obligation to manage feral deer on their land.

To get help to protect your place from feral deer or to learn about council's feral deer program visit the Managing invasive animals web pages.

Further information

For more information on feral deer download the fact sheet or visit the Biosecurity Queensland website.

If you see any species of feral deer in our region please report to council as soon as possible.