Hunters in the Illawarra have opposed a renewed call to reclassify deer from ‘game’ to ‘pest’.

As an introduced species, growing deer numbers in the region have a significant ecological impact.

The reclassification would mean recreational hunters could no longer shoot deer, with poisonous baiting being the primary method of culling the invasive species.

Illawarra Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA Illawarra) members claim ground shooting is the safest and most humane way to reduce the deer population.

They spoke with reporter Olivia Gee about why they’re involved in sport shooting, and how it helps the environment.