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Several species of deer exist in Victoria, including Hog, Red, Sambar, Fallow, Chital and Rusa. Deer were introduced to Victoria in the 1860s. There are about 27,000 licensed deer hunters in Victoria, who contribute about $57 million per year to the State’s economy. They usually hunt in the east of the State, which is where the largest populations of deer reside.

Getting your Game Licence

Anyone wishing to hunt deer in Victoria, including juniors (12-17 years), must hold a current Game Licence endorsed for deer. Before hunting Sambar with hounds, hunters must pass the Hound Hunting Test, which is designed to ensure hunters are aware of their legal, ethical and safety requirements when hunting.

When can I hunt deer?

Hog April 1 – April 30 each year
Red All year
Sambar (stalking only) All year
Sambar (hound hunting) April 1 – November 30 each year
Fallow All year
Chital All year
Rusa Deer All year

Where can I hunt deer?

There are many places where people can hunt deer in Victoria.  There are six State Game Reserves open for Hog Deer hunting. While certain restrictions are in place, hunting is permitted in the Alpine National Park and Avon Wilderness Park, Baw Baw National Park, Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, Lake Eildon National Park, Mitchell River National Park, Tara Range Park and Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park. Thomson River Forest Reserve is the only state forest, forest park or other unoccupied Crown Land where hunting for deer is permitted. This map available on Game Management Authority’s website shows hunters all of the areas they can hunt deer in Victoria.

How many can I take?

The bag limit on Hog deer is one male and one female. No bag limits apply to other deer species.

Deer hunting tips

  • When using a centrefire rifle on Sambar, Rusa and Red deer, a minimum calibre of .270 with a minimum projectile weight of 130 grains is required
  • When using a centrefire rifle on Hog, Fallow and Chital deer, a minimum calibre of .243 wiht a minimum projectile weight of 80 grains is required
  • Avoid hunting close to boundaries
  • Never carry a loaded firearm or use a firearm in a town or picnic area, campsite or on or over any area of public or private land where hunting is not permitted
  • Never carry a loaded firearm on any thoroughfare or place open to or used by the public for passage with vehicles
  • Never shoot on or across public roads or tracks or towards populated areas, including camping and picnic areas and walking tracks

Report illegal hunting

Illegal hunters have the potential to destroy the public’s perception of all hunters. They can also put the lives of others hunters at risk. Licensed shooters are encouraged to report any irresponsible or illegal behaviour by calling 136 186 or for emergencies calling 000.