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Forest owners, hunters need to find common ground

Media statement
For immediate release
Tuesday 28 November 2006

Forest owners and hunters need to find common ground

United Future forestry and outdoor recreation spokesman Gordon Copeland has expressed concern over the growing gulf between forest owners and hunters upon the issue of sambar deer control on private land.

The New Zealand Forest Owners Association and the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association argue that because of the damage that sambar do to plantation forests, including tearing bark from the trees and leaving scarred wood, all hunting restrictions should be removed.

Land and forest owners would then have unrestricted rights to control sambar on their properties.

The Sambar Deer Management Foundation, an advocate group for hunters of sambar, is lobbying, on the other hand, for the maintenance of restrictions with a longer hunting season and an increase in the bag limit to three animals per hunter per season.

“I have met with and talked to both sides on this issue,” said Mr Copeland. “I am concerned to hear of increasing bitterness between them as I can see the only solution is through a compromise situation that will allow both forest owners and hunters to have a hand in the control and maintenance of the sambar herd.”

The Department of Conservation is currently reviewing the rules surrounding sambar management and is asking for stakeholders to give feedback by 30 November.

“United Future currently has a Nationwide Pest Reduction Strategy that we are negotiating with the Government under the terms of our Confidence and Supply Agreement.

"I have included the sambar situation within the terms of reference as I think it is prudent to acknowledge the impact of introduced species on private land as well as their impact on public land.

“I hope that through the process of the Nationwide Pest Reduction Strategy we can find a lasting solution to this potentially divisive problem,” concluded Mr Copeland.

ENDS

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