Jeeralang Deer

2015-05-01 16.21.01

It is now common to encounter deer sign on our evening walks though when we moved here a quarter century ago it was exceeding rare: you could search all day for sign and yet be in doubt. Now FOUR species of deer inhabit the forests behind us: red, sambar, fallow and hog deer. During WW1 sambar were SO common on this (South) side of the Princes Highway that they were declared vermin (along with wombats – which still are). Closer settlement after the war gradually almost eliminated them. Then the UK joined the Common Market (what became the EU) in the mid sixties, and all of the hill farms almost instantly vanished, becoming once more crown land and (later plantation) forest. Deer slowly built up again. A century ago fallow were also common throughout Victoria but they became so rare around the time of WW1 that they were ‘protected’ and could not be hunted at all for over fifty years until about ten years ago. The red deer and hog deer have a seasonal ‘hunt’; the sambar and fallow are currently considered common enough to withstand more widespread hunting. Changes in land management and in game/wildlife management have discernible profound effects over time – as we see now daily with obviously some good stags walking the same tracks we do – NB print between hiking pole baskets:

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