Hog deer (Axis porcinus) are a small deer. Males (stags) stand around 70cm at the shoulders and weigh around 50kg. Females (hinds) are smaller, coming in at about 61cm at the shoulders and weighing around 30kg. Introduced to Victoria in the 1860s, they are native to India, Nepal and Southern Asia.
The hog deer gets its name from the hog-like manner in which it runs through the forests; with its head hung low so that it can duck under obstacles instead of leaping over them like most other deer. Hog deer are gregarious only when conditions are favourable and do not form a "unit" at these times, fleeing in different directions rather than in a herd. When alarmed, hog deer make a whistling vocalisation or a warning bark. The antler of a mature hog deer stag is typically a three tined-brow tine with solid main beam terminating in inner and outer top tines. However, antlers with more points are not uncommon.
Shortly after our scheme was launched, we were able to obtain a number of fallow deer (Dama dama) from South Australia. They were released in 1974 and have adapted well. They are managed separately and are a secondary priority to our prime involvement with the hog deer. The fallow deer are larger than the hog deer, with a buck standing around 90 cm. The antlers are termed palmated because of the flat area like the palm of a hand, from which points project like fingers. The coat colour can vary from white to black with cream, fawn and red pelage occurring most often. Again the doe is smaller and lighter than the male. This species has a greater tendency to stay in herds, unlike the hog deer.
Since 1972 Hog deer research, conservation, management and hunting has been available to members on this unique Island of 1,620 hectares (4,000 acres). Hog deer & Fallow deer hunting is available to all family members who hold a shooters licence and game licence.
A healthy population of Hog deer has been managed to provide a sustainable harvest, and gives many hunters the trophy of a life time. Fallow deer hunting, implemented in 1976, provides members with legal free range hunting in Victoria.
The Co-operative has its own Checking Station and Meat house for processing of venison.
JUNIOR HUNTING PROGRAM
Para Park Co-operative has a well managed junior hunting program.
This initiative of Para Park was set up to enable junior hunters aged 12 to 17 years to experience the benefits of a game management program.
One of the objectives of the game management program is to produce a surplus of hog deer as a sustainable resource for recreational hunting. Because of the success of this program, in 2003 Para Park Co-operative made it possible to offer junior hunters the opportunity to be safely guided to hunt wild, free range hog deer in a fair chase natural environment.