Species of Game

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Apply for a Recreational Game Licence.

Fallow Deer


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Fallow deer are the only species of deer in Tasmania. It is estimated that the population is around 20,000 animals although regional densities vary throughout the species' traditional range. A fallow deer distribution map highlights this traditional range as well as areas of low densities and isolated pockets attributed by deer farm escapes and translocations.

Fallow deer are a partly protected species under the Wildlife (General) Regulations 2010.

Annual seasons are proclaimed for the taking of male deer and antlerless deer. Outside of the seasons, deer may be taken under Crop Protection Permits (available by contacting the Game Management Unit) issued to landowners who are suffering browsing damage from deer or implementing Quality Deer Management harvest quotas.

Since 1994, many properties have managed wild deer according to the principles of quality deer management. This means that hunters are encouraged to show restraint in the harvest of young male deer combined with an increased harvest of female deer.

Season dates and licence fees are published on the DPIPWE website and in Game Tracks, the annual publication of the Wildlife Management Branch which is given free of charge to hunters when they purchase a game licence and mailed to landowners. A deer harvest data collection program operates in Tasmania.

The fallow deer was introduced to Tasmania in the 19th century and has since been managed as a hunting resource while minimising their negative impacts on crops and natural values.

The Tasmanian Government manages the wild deer populations to provide benefits for a wide range of interests including land owners, hunters, conservation and other interest groups.

The Statement of Current Management Practices for Tasmanian Fallow Deer collates current management policies and practices relating to the management of wild fallow deer in Tasmania.

** Note that the Tasmanian Government has released its response to the Legislative Council's report on wild fallow deer in Tasmania. This report details some changes which will be implemented to the Quality Deer Management Program in Tasmania which have been informed by the Legislative Council Inquiry recommendations. DPIPWE is currently working through the process to implement those actions.​

Code of Practice for the Hunting of Wild Fallow Deer in Tasmania

A Code of Practice for the Hunting of Wild Fallow Deer in Tasmania has been developed by the Tasmanian Deer Advisory Committee (TDAC) to apply to the hunting of fallow deer for recreational and crop protection purposes in Tasmania.

This Code provides deer hunters with advice on methods to ensure that the shooting of fallow deer is carried out in a way that ensures that animals are killed as efficiently as possible with the minimum of suffering.

The Code has been developed in consultation with individuals and organisations with interests in the hunting of fallow deer in Tasmania and approved as an Animal Welfare Guideline under S44B of the Animal Welfare Act 1993, and as such is intended to educate hunters and provide a clear statement of what is current best practice.


Bennett's wallaby and Tasmanian pademelons (rufous wallaby) are hunted in Tasmania and have a combined population estimate between 7 and 10 million.

Browsing damage caused by these species, and others, to both the agricultural and forestry sectors in Tasmania is considerable.

Current population trends clearly show that Bennett's wallaby numbers are well above what they were in the 1980s. Similarly, rufous wallaby numbers have doubled, if not tripled since the 1970s and this increase in numbers has remained stable over the last few years.

Hunters wanting to harvest either species of wallaby must have purchased a recreational game licence to hunt wallaby and have permission from the landowner whose land they wish to hunt.

Hunting on private land: Crop protection permit issued by DPIPWE to landowner and onforwarded to hunters.
Hunting on Crown land: Completion of Firearm Licence Holders Permission Document
Hunting on State forest: Contact your nearest Forestry Tasmania office.
Hunting on conservation areas: Contact your nearest Parks and Wildlife Service Field Centre to the area you wish to hunt.

Anyone wishing to know more about the licence and permit conditions relating to the taking of wildlife should, in the first instance, contact the Wildlife Rangers. The contact details are also listed in Game Tracks

Wild Duck

Tasmania has a number of species of waterfowl but only five may be hunted during the open season. These are: Chestnut teal, Grey teal, Wood duck, Mountain duck and Black duck. All other species must not be shot.

Hunters wanting to take wild ducks must first pass a Waterfowl Identification Test. Have purchased a game licence to hunt wild duck and have the permission of the landowner on whose land the hunting is to take place. Applicants born in the year 1935 or prior to 1935 are exempt from this test.

Please see further information relating to Waterfowl Identification testing and booking times.  

Bag limits apply to the taking of wild duck in Tasmania. Hunters are strongly encouraged to consult Game Tracks (the annual publication of the Wildlife Management Branch, which is given free of charge to hunters when they purchase a game licence.

See the recreational game hunting season and licence information available on this website.

Code of Practice for the Hunting of Ducks in Tasmania

The Wildlife Management Branch in association with the Game Management Liaison Committee, has developed a Code of Practice for the Hunting of Ducks for recreational and crop protection purposes in Tasmania.

The Code is designed to accommodate the circumstances and environment that impact on duck hunting in Tasmania.

The Code has been developed in close consultation with individuals and organisations with interests in the hunting of ducks in Tasmania.

The development of this Code is in support of duck hunting and has been designed to guide duck hunting practices in Tasmania to ensure that animals are taken as efficiently as possible with the minimum of suffering.

The Code has been approved as an Animal Welfare Guideline under S44B of the Animal Welfare Act 1993, and as such is intended to educate hunters and provide a clear statement of what is current best practice.

Monitoring Duck Populations

Five species of native duck namely; black duck, mountain duck, wood duck, chestnut teal and grey teal are hunted in Tasmania during an open season usually held from early March to early June. In order to assist in the management of the harvest of these species and the management of other non harvested waterbird species, their population trends are monitored.

Each year since 1985, in February, the Department carries out a statewide count of waterbirds with assistance from the Parks and Wildlife Service and many volunteers. These counts are not an attempt to count all of the ducks in the state but rather to get an index of trends in the populations.

A sample of 80 wetlands, of a variety of types, (eg farm dams to estuaries) are counted each year and the number of ducks seen gives an indication of whether duck numbers have increased or decreased. This information is then graphed, to indicate trends in the populations.

As part of the Department's policy of providing information to the general public, these graphs are now being published on this website.

  Statewide Waterbird Surveys   (176Kb)

The use of non-toxic shot for hunting wild duck over wetlands in Tasmania

During the open seasons for taking wild duck, duck hunters are not permitted to use lead shot when hunting over wetlands, lakes, dams, harbours, estuaries, lagoons, rivers, creeks, canals or other watercourses, whether on either public or private property.

The definition of a 'wetland' for the purpose of managing the use of lead shot in relation to hunting wild duck as per the Wildlife (General) Regulations 2010 is: a marsh, mudflat or other expanse of land that is, permanently, intermittently or cyclically, inundated with water, whether the water is static or flowing; or the water is fresh, brackish or salt; or the inundation occurs as a result of a natural or artificial process.

Duck hunters should also note the following:
  • Hunters are not permitted to possess or use, ammunition containing lead shot for the purpose of taking wild duck on any waterway or wetland.
  • Hunters are not permitted to discharge lead shot from a firearm onto or across any waterway or wetland during the open season for the taking of wild duck.
Wildlife Rangers are equipped with devices to differentiate between lead shot and non-toxic shot.

Why is lead not able to be used to hunt wild ducks?
To prevent lead being ingested by waterfowl, whilst dabbling for grit and feed.
Heavy metals pose serious environmental and health dangers. Exposure to lead in the environment can cause a build up of this metal in our bodies and cause serious health problems. Waterfowl are no different. This is why it is so important to ensure that lead does not end up in sediment where ducks are likely to feed.

What are the benefits of not using lead to hunters?
  • Ensure healthy waterfowl that are fit for human consumption.
  • Demonstrate to the wider community that hunters support:
    • Ethical hunting practices
    • Caring for our environment
    • Promoting the welfare of waterfowl
    • The principle that the conservation and sustainable use of a valuable resource go hand in hand.

Brown Quail

Three species of native quail are known in Tasmania. The Stubble quail, Painted quail and the Brown quail. Only Brown quail can be taken during the season.

Other species of game birds such as partridge and Bobwhite quail have been introduced to Tasmania. These species have been released under permit to properties specifically for hunting, but hunters wishing to take these species must first obtain landowner permission.

Brown Quail Game Season

The open season for Brown quail runs over 7 weekends commencing on the Saturday closest to the 15th May. 

Hunters are encouraged to complete a brown quail survey record sheet to assist in the monitoring of Brown quail populations throughout the state. 

View the leaflet on the Management of Brown quail in Tasmania.

Common Pheasant

The Common (or Ring-neck) pheasant has been widely distributed around the world from its original distribution in Central Asia. In Australia, pheasants do best in predator-free environments such as off-shore islands. This is well demonstrated in Tasmania where populations of pheasants are firmly established on King and Flinders islands.

The annual pheasant season is held only on King Island on the long weekend in June. Only males may be taken. Hunters should note that purchase of a recreational game licence does not allow hunters onto a property to shoot pheasant. Hunters are encouraged to become a member of the King Island Game Bird Association (KIGBA) by contacting 0428 611 254.

Pheasants have been released under permit on some mainland Tasmanian properties. Hunting pheasants on these properties requires the permission of the landowner.

Short-Tailed Shearwater (Muttonbird)

With an estimated population of between 18 and 23 million, the Short-tailed shearwater or muttonbird is considered the most abundant seabird in Australia.  Muttonbirds breed only in southern Australia and Tasmania's 209 colonies account for around 75 percent of the worlds breeding colonies.

The muttonbird is partly protected wildlife under the Wildlife (General) Regulations 2010.  It is subject to harvesting by licensed harvesters during an annual open season determined under the Nature Conservation (Open Seasons) Order, 2004. Muttonbirds are also subject to international agreements including the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA) and the Republic of Korea-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (ROKAMBA).

The muttonbird is one of the few Australian native birds to be commercially harvested.   The industry was established in Bass Strait in the Nineteenth Century by European sealers and their Aboriginal families. Today it forms an important part of Aboriginal culture in Tasmania.  During the muttonbird season, chicks are taken by licensed harvesters for their feathers, flesh and oil. The species is commercially harvested on three islands, Trefoil Island off the states north west coast and, Big Dog and Babel Islands, in the Furneaux Island group.

Muttonbird Licences are also available for recreational or amateur harvest across 39 colonies within Tasmania. In recent years, an average of approximately 1000 non-commercial Muttonbird Licences have been sold each year.

The recreational or amateur harvest of muttonbird commences at 8.00 a.m. on the Saturday nearest the 1st April each year and closes on the third Sunday following that day, except where that day immediately precedes Easter Monday, in which case the period ends on Easter Monday.

Season dates and licence fees are published on this website and in Game Tracks, the annual publication of the Wildlife Management Branch provided free of charge to all persons who purchase a game licence.

A number of colonies that are open to harvest are located within Game Reserves, Crown land and Nature Reserves, other open colonies are found on private land.  As such harvesters may need to seek permission from private landholders or require additional permits to access these colonies.  The following information sheet provides details of colonies that are open to harvest and is mailed to the previous season's licence holders each year

  Short-Tailed Shearwater (Muttonbird) Hunting Season Information   (684Kb)

Two methods for the humane dispatch of muttonbirds have been endorsed, It is the responsibility of the harvester to use the method that will ensure a humane kill that does not cause unreasonable or unjustifiable pain or suffering to the chick.  A full description of these methods is available in the Animal Welfare Guidelines - Muttonbirds.

To assist in the management of the muttonbird harvest, the Department has undertaken long term monitoring on four Islands in the Furneaux Island Group.  These surveys are not an attempt to count all short-tailed shearwater but rather to provide an index of trends in the population.  Monitoring on these colonies is undertaken twice a year; in December shortly after the birds have returned to the colony to lay their single egg and again in March to determine breeding success, immediately prior to the commencement of the recreational harvest.

As part of the Department's policy of providing information to the general public, the results of this monitoring are published on this website.

See the results of the latest short-tailed shearwater survey

Data Forms, Application Forms and Information Sheets

Apply for a Recreational Game Licence
Antlerless Harvest Data sheets
Buck Harvest Data sheet
Short-Tailed Shearwater (Muttonbird) Information sheet
Brown Quail Survey Record Sheet

Suspicous Incident Record


Game Services Tasmania
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 3225
Email: AGT.admin@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Wildlife Management Branch
Permits and Licensing
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6165 4305
Fax: 03 6173 0253
Email: wildlife.reception@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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