‘Bring back government pig bounty’ says Anich
THE feral pig population has exploded in recent months, according to some local land holders.
They say the destructive pigs have penetrated the shire in big numbers from Whyanbeel down to the sea at places like Cooya. “They’re everywhere, even behind the Mossman Mill now,” said pig hunter Ron Rennie.
Mr Rennie hunts pigs on land owned by John Anich, around Finlayvale, and regularly kills up to 80. But it seems a losing battle. “I noticed poor Peter Sargent lost so much property” – a reference to last week’s cover story – “and I’ve had the problem here on my land too,” said John Anich, who has various canefields in the Mossman area.
“I’d lose 500 to 1000 tonnes of cane sometimes.
“I think they’re a nuisance and the government should be paying us a bounty for every pig we get.
“Or every time we get damage we should charge the government, and I’m going to start doing that. Because it’s their pigs coming from national parks and they won’t even let us put the dogs in to these parks to catch them.
“My dog doesn’t chase a bird, and nor do Ron’s. I blame the government departments because they’re breeding the pigs but they won’t let us go in and shoot them.”
Mr Anich said in the past, campaigns of baiting had been highly successful, but now pig numbers were way back up.
They can’t be tempted by man made traps, and even knew to avoid well concealed pits dug by farmers trying to protect their land.
Mr Rennie has been a pig hunter for nearly 40 years.
“I don’t really know a solution,” he said.
“There’s that many of them in the national parks.
“Cape York is just full of them, and they just keep coming from up there. No one really hunts them up there and the herds number 300-400.
“And once they’ve migrated, they’re looking for food.”
He said canefarmers were often wrongly accused of damaging the environment, but “it’s more the pigs.
“Every creek and gully is dug up and when the rain comes it’s been softened up and washes away,” he said.
“I see so much of it and I’m only in a little area, about 600 acreas [on the outskirts of Mossman].”
Mr Rennie said the laws restrict shooters to working only on land where the owners had given permission.
He said traps on his own property “had never worked”.
“The dogs do the work. They’re like children – once you teach them, they learn.”
John Anich and pig hunter Ron Rennie at Finleyvale