A 1080 operation has the potential to remove our valued herd of whitetail deer and decimate the fallow deer.

22 September 2022

We are alerting you to the fact that DOC released a 1080 drop notice earlier this morning.

The drop covers the Wakatipu whitetail herd and the Caples fallow deer herd in the RHA.

Past drops have taught us that 1080 will have adverse effects on the Wakatipu whitetail herd. NZDA co-funded research in 2014 to investigate the whitetail herd's viability as a hunting resource following exposure to regular predator control operations. Following confirmation of significant mortality, DOC have used deer repellent over this valued herd's range in all subsequent operations.  

A 1080 operation has the potential to remove our valued herd of whitetail deer and decimate the fallow deer. Both herds of deer are very highly valued by our nation’s hunters and food gathers, and have a historical, cultural and economic value.

View the notice here. 

NZDA is urgently seeking meetings with DOC and the Minister of Conservation to understand how the herd's, and our hunting, interests will be considered.

In the past, NZDA co-funded research raising concerns for the whitetail deer herd's longevity. Due to whitetail’s size and limited distribution (compared to other deer species), they are particularly susceptible to 1080 drops. The impact of this 1080 drop can be devastating to the herd.

This drop has been announced with no reference to the use of deer repellent. We understand the absence of a clear position on repellent use does not mean it won't be used. NZDA will be seeking assurance that repellent is used for this drop, given it's high recreational value to hunters.

What Can You Do?

Contact DOC and let them know hunters value whitetail deer and that you recommend the use deer repellent in this notified drop. They need to know that hunters value this herd. 

Email to voice your concern for this valued historic herd.

You may like to copy in the Minister of Conservation when you email DOC:

Hon. Poto Williams at

Please keep your emails respectful and helpful, so the message is factual and that we, the hunting community, value whitetail deer as a special herd.

What is NZDA Doing?

NZDA knew this drop was planned for the future and possible because the Department have a long running programme to protect yellowhead birds living in pockets of the area, so we have done as much as we can to ensure the interests of hunters, and this valued herd, are considered as part of DOC's decision making framework.

NZDA has co-funded research that has provided more knowledge and context for us to advocate for this herd, which can be used to guide decisions by the Department.

NZDA has sought meetings to advocate on hunters' behalf with the GAC, DOC and the Minister of Conservation. 

The Notice From DoC

Why the Wakatipu Whitetail Herd is Significant

The Whitetail deer that live in the Wakatipu area are one of our smallest and highly valued deer herds. 

There is an estimate of less than 1,000 animals in the herd.

In the past, NZDA raised concerns on the 1080 drops as far back as 2014. 

The Wakatipu whitetail deer herd is of special interest and has never been identified or perceived as having significant deleterious impacts on any indigenous species, or to farmland, and has never reached high densities.

Historical 1080 drops occurred in:

  1.   2006 small area
  2.   2009 small area
  3.   2014 significant area
  4.   2016 significant area with repellent
  5.   2019 significant area with repellent 

Forecast, November 2022 (6th drop) which will cover virtually the entire herd's range on public conservation land.

NZDA Funded Research Findings
A study was written and carried out by Kaylyn Pinney, investigating whitetail deer carcasses in the Dart Valley after the 1080 drop in 2014.

Every carcass found had traces of 1080.

The research results highlights that the detrimental effects that 1080 drops might have on sustainable hunting of this herd.

Anticipated Drop Area

Read the notification about predator control in the Dart, Caples and Routeburn valleys here.


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