One farm, one year, 947 feral deer killed.
It's a number that has left Hawke's Bay farm workers "staggered".
In five years, five state-owned Pāmu farms on the east coast have eradicated more than 15,000 feral deer, goats and hare.
But it's the number of wild deer, which arguably do the most damage of the lost to native flora and fauna, that continues to surprise.
Pāmu's environment manager for forestry Gordon Williams said Pāmu had initiated pest and predator eradication on all of their farms to mitigate the impact on trees and plants.
"Even the farm staff, when we started documenting all the kills, were staggered by the actual number.
"They lived on the properties, but they didn't really know the sheer numbers," Williams said.
He said the project had been successful in decreasing the destructive effect of pests destroying and eating the forest, but it was very costly.
Pest management on the five east coast farms alone cost Pāmu an extra $530K over five years.
"Its a huge cost, but it's also an opportunity, because we would otherwise be losing so much carbon sequestration because the forests are unable to regenerate," Williams said.
He said pest eradication is just as important as the Government's goal of being predator-free by 2050.
Pāmu has set an example for the rest of the country that it is possible at scale with a successful test of combined pest and predator eradication on their Northland farms totalling 17,000ha.
"We want to take a stand. Pest and predators – we're going to eradicate them. It's not control, it's eradication. But it's a lofty goal."
He believes the first step is for central Government to make and fund a pest-eradication policy.
Hawke's Bay Regional Council said invasive species were one of several factors, including climate change, pollution and changing land use, that have contributed to the loss of 77 per cent of Aotearoa's original indigenous forest cover.
A $2m Jobs for Nature funding partnership announced by the council earlier this year provides 42km of deer fencing at 14 sites, alongside undertaking pest, plant and animal control within these sites.
The plan is expected to protect 423ha of critically threatened native bush.
David Belcher from the Napier branch of Forest & Bird manages one of these fenced sites – the 12ha Little Bush Reserve.
He said the deer population has been getting even worse all over the country.
"It's terrible actually and it's going to become a government problem. The devastation of the beech forest in the ranges is a total disgrace."
Forest & Bird spokeswoman Megan Hubscher said a comprehensive strategy is required to get deer, pig and goat numbers down because it was impossible to fence off all native forest and habitats.
"It can't be done, but that's what we're having to resort to, prioritising not just areas that are important, but areas that are even possible to fence off," she said.
According to Department of Conservation (DOC) data released in October, the problem has rapidly spread in the past eight years.
The data reveals that ungulate species such as deer, pigs or goats that were present in 63 per cent of total DOC land in 2013 are now present in 82 per cent of total DOC land in 2021.
Forest & Bird analysis of the data found that 96.8 per cent of all indigenous vegetation on mainland NZ and two-thirds of primary production land has at least one non-native ungulate species living on it.
A Forest & Bird statement said native plants have not evolved defences to deal with introduced pests.
"Instead native plants make a delicious snack and are easy pickings for deer, pigs and goats," it said.