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Deer repellent can be used in special hunting area

Deer repellent can be used in special hunting areas

Conservation Minister Chris Carter has cleared the way for the use of deer repellent on 1080 bait used to control possums but only in New Zealand's eight Recreational Hunting Areas.

"In making this decision, I have sought to strike a balance between two clearly conflicting points of view," Mr Carter said today.

"Recreational hunters want widespread use of deer repellent to deter deer from eating 1080 bait, and dying in 1080 drops designed to kill possums.

"In contrast, conservation groups want to maximise the benefits of 1080 to the recovery of native species, and a reduction in deer numbers is one of those benefits. Deer destroy many native plants and trees.

"While I do not believe there is a strong argument for permitting the use of deer repellant in all areas of conservation land where possum control takes place, I do think it is reasonable for consideration to be given to the use of deer repellent in those areas specifically designated as Recreational Hunting Areas," Mr Carter said.

As such, the use of repellent in Recreational Hunting Areas will be permitted, subject to some criteria. The criteria require that:

Use of the repellent does not have negative consequences for indigenous biodiversity; The additional cost of the repellent-treated bait does not jeopardise the effectiveness of possum control in recreational hunting areas; The use of repellent is permitted under the statutory provisions which land is held and is in alignment with any operative General Policy, Conservation Management Strategy, Conservation Management Plan or regulations applying to the land.

"Recreation Hunting Areas are recognised in law as places special to hunters. There are eight in New Zealand, including two sites where use of aerial 1080 has been most controversial with hunters, namely the Blue Mountains and the Aorangi Range," Mr Carter said.

"If use of deer repellent in these key hunting spots makes some hunting groups more comfortable with 1080 that is of considerable benefit," Mr Carter said.

He said widespread use of deer repellent outside of Recreational Hunting Areas was not justified for two reasons.

"It is my view that the current cost of using repellent makes widespread use unreasonable. The repellent adds up to 25 per cent more to the cost of a 1080 operation, which would dramatically reduce the total area nationally that could receive possum control within current budgets.

"What is more, the near-complete cessation of commercial deer recovery has resulted in rising deer numbers in many areas of conservation land. This offers an abundance of hunting opportunities, which overall are not being significantly curtailed by standard aerial 1080 operations," Mr Carter said.

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