By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

Deer numbers are rising across Australia. This may lead to overpopulation, which may result in ecological problems. Farmers and scientists alike are welcoming all the different routes they can take to reduce these figures. An idea presented was to harvest and process deer meat for consumption.

It helps that venison, or deer meat, is slowly stealing the spotlight in the culinary scene because several chefs in high-end city restaurants are growing an interest in game meat.

The Australian Deer Association has been pushing for acquisition and selling of deer meat for more than a year since they argue that deer meat has the potential to help feed people in need. It was inspired by the Hunters for the Hungry program in the USA, where hunters processed and donated to food banks in the area.

Food safety protocols for wild deer are already put in place by PrimeSafe after the meat was listed as a game meat under industry regulations earlier this year.  

Harvesting of wild deer meat will be done by PrimeSafe-approved field harvesters who met their list of requirements such as:

  1. Holding a certificate to prove game harvest skills
  2. Evidence in shooting proficiency
  3. Possessing a licensed game meat harvester vehicle.  

Approved hunters can harvest wild deer from private land with written approval from the landowner. Harvesting from Crown land is also possible with a written approval from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

Recreational hunters, on the other hand, are not allowed to sell wild deer that they have killed and processed.

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