‘Bring back gov­ern­ment pig bounty’ says Anich

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

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

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