Large deer roam the streets of Gymea Bay

Two deer roaming Marina Crescent at Gymea Bay in broad daylight this week.Picture: supplied
Two deer roaming Marina Crescent at Gymea Bay in broad daylight this week.Picture: supplied

Gymea Bay residents have been shocked by large deer roaming the neighbourhood.

It's not an unusual occurrence for deer to swim the Hacking River from Royal National Park in search of food, but there appears to have been an increase because of the drought.

Two cases of residents being confronted by large deer in Gymea Bay have been reported to the Leader in recent weeks, and a motorist posted a video on Facebook of three deer he came across at night in May.

A Marina Crescent resident found two large male deer when she went to collect her mail about 10am on Monday this week.

She managed to take a photo of the visitors, which a neighbour sent to Sutherland Shire Council. asking what the council was doing about "this very dangerous issue".

"These deer, with very large sharp antlers, are extremely dangerous, particularly at this time with the number of children on school holidays," he wrote.

"As I am sure you are aware, this is not an isolated incident as this size deer are regularly foraging in gardens and down the median bush strip of Marina Crescent.

"Something needs to be done before there is a serious injury to a child or adult. What is council doing?"

Another Gymea Bay resident, John Barker, came across two deer when he arrived home about 9pm.

"My two sons and I drove down our drive and were confronted by two large deer with massive antlers," he said in a letter to the Leader.

"They were about two metres tall, well built and not to be treated as if they were friendly local pets out for a free carrot and a pat on the head.

"When will Sutherland Council take the deer invasion seriously?

"It is unbelievable that a serious environmental problem seems to get ignored."

Mr Barker said the council "does not have a plan is in place to turn back the flood of deer from the Royal National Park and prevent damage to the environment and gardens, as well as a serious threat to people and the answers are simple platitudes".

The council, instead, had advised residents to plant vegetation that was inedible to deer, learn to live with them or carry out planting and build fences to keep them out.

"Every bit of advice from the council is a boondoggle and meaningless bureaucratic verbiage," he said.

"We are not dealing with Bambi lost in the woods and looking for her mother."

"The number of deer crossing from Port Hacking is regular and increasing and Coonong Creek is getting its fair share as are other suburbs facing Port Hacking."

Mr Barker said, the morning after he was confronted in his driveway, his wife observed deer droppings in First Avenue, next to Gymea Bay Primary School.

"It is only a matter of time before someone is injured or maimed by these alien and noxious pests," he said.

"Just look at what happened recently in Victoria. [ A man was killed and a woman seriously injured when they were attacked by their pet deer in Wangaratta in April].

"Deer are an alien species in Australia and should not be roaming wild through parks and suburbs."

A spokeswoman for Sutherland Shire Council said "controlling deer in urban areas is a complex activity and one that council takes seriously".

"For the past 10 years, we have been operating an integrated and humane deer control program to minimise the negative impacts of deer across Sutherland Shire and attempt to control the expansion of the deer population in urban areas," she said.

"We are currently implementing all safe options that are available for deer control in urban areas and will continue to explore and adopt new and best practice techniques.

"While council manages deer in urban areas, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is responsible for the management of deer in our national parks."

Cr Barry Collier, who represents the Gymea Bay area and was contacted by a resident after this week's incident, said he was very concerned at the potential danger.

"Deer are very skittish and unpredictable, and if they run on roads they could cause an accident," he said.

"The stags are particularly dangerous during rutting season.

"I was confronted by one in Grays Point several years ago, and it wasn't a pleasant experience.

"The state government has to cooperate with the council in addressing the problem, which has worsened because of the drought."

Cr Kent Johns, who also represents the Gymea Bay area said, "It's an ongoing problem and needs the input of all levels of government.