Mystery tracks near Narooma most likely made by deer

Pest animal experts have tentatively identified a deer as being responsible for a set of mysterious tracks on Corunna beach just south of Narooma.

MYSTERY TRACKS: Narooma News journalist Stan Gorton photographed the mystery tracks on November 24 at the entrance to Corunna Lake just on the northern boundary of Eurobodalla National Park.

MYSTERY TRACKS: Narooma News journalist Stan Gorton photographed the mystery tracks on November 24 at the entrance to Corunna Lake just on the northern boundary of Eurobodalla National Park.

The tracks were photographed by Narooma News journalist Stan Gorton on November 24 at the entrance to Corunna Lake just on the northern boundary of Eurobodalla National Park.

The single set of tracks made by some kind of cloven-hoofed creature was heading straight toward a shorebird protection area at the lake entrance.

The photograph was posted on the Narooma News Facebook page, asking whether people thought it was a sheep or deer, generated numerous comments with people speculating on what the creature was, many saying they thought it was a deer.

There have been deer sightings as close by as Wallaga Lake and on the Princes Highway between Tilba and Cobargo, however a deer on the beach at and around Narooma might very well be a first.

South East Local Land Services manager for the Far South Coast, Jake Tanner checked out the photograph and also showed it to a trusted pest controller.

He said their view was that it was “most likely” a deer, as pig tracks would have hoof marks that were more splayed, while a sheep would have a different gait with prints closer together.

“They are a highly mobile species and are moving into areas they have not been seen before, so it would not surprise me if it was a deer,” Mr Tanner said.

Deer were currently not a declared pest in NSW, unlike foxes, pigs, wild dogs and rabbits, which were all controlled by Local Land Services.

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As a species, deer were managed by the Department of Primary Industries game licensing unit, and there were two methods considered to be effective for controlling deer, and they were fences and ground shooting, Mr Tanner said.

There was a statewide process going on to form pest animal committees across regional NSW and Local Land Services was involved in getting one of these committees going in the Far South Coast region over the next six months.