Will a snout bounty stem pig problem?
Boulia council lobbies state for wild pig price
THE Government needs to back the wild boar export industry if it really wants to tackle the growing feral pig problem.
That’s the opinion of accredited Mt Isa boar hunter Luke Tonks.
The Boulia Shire Council made headlines with its bid to lobby the Queensland Government to introduce a statewide $5/snout bounty on feral pigs.
Mayor Rick Britton, whose council sits in the heart of the Channel Country in outback Queensland, said the threat pigs posed was an issue for all Queenslanders.
“People need to realise – the pigs are a very high biosecurity risk for everybody,” he said.
“This affects people who are in town, people who ride a horse for a hobby or people who follow the horse racing industry.”
He said the $5 bounty was an incentive for the likes of roo harvesters to “put pigs down” when they saw them, as “every pig should have a target on it”.
However, Mr Tonks dismissed the idea, saying “$5 wasn’t enough to make anyone do anything”.
“$5 for a snout isn’t an incentive when fuel is $1.70,” he said.
Mr Tonks is an accredited macropod harvester (for shooting kangaroos) and has been catching feral pigs for more than a decade.
He can remember that about seven years ago boxed wild boar meat fetched between 90 cents and $1.20 per kilo – high prices that don’t currently exist, he said.
“I think you will need more money in it for people to be encouraged to hunt pigs,” he said.
“If the industry for exported boar meat was expanded, it would open it up for harvesting. I do understand where they are coming from with the snout bounty. $5 is
❝$5 for a snout isn’t an incentive when fuel is a $1.70 — Luke Tonks
just too low.”
Cr Britton, however, stood by the price, likening the bounty to the 10 cents being offered for collected bottles.
“Kids aren’t collecting for the 10 cents, they are doing it to keep their backyard clean and it’s a reward for the people doing the right thing,” he said.
“For every snout we get across our council desk, that’s one less pig out there ruining our environment, so it is money well spent.”
The snout bounty ignited discussion online, with many agreeing the price was too low to make a difference, while others claimed the incentive would attract unlawful poachers.
“There is always going to be naysayers,” Cr Britton said.
“If people are doing the wrong thing, and not showing respect to landowners, they need to be punished for it.
“If you are running around being a cowboy you should be treated that way, and if you are acting as a professional you should be treated that way.”
Mr Britton said the snout bounty gave council an accurate understanding of the number of pigs in the region.
If the bid for all Queensland councils to introduce a $5 bounty was a success, they would lobby the Federal Government to follow suit across the nation.
ABOVE: Boar hunter Luke Tonks with a feral pig he caught with dogs. The Mt Isa man does not believe the $5 snout bounty will attract more hunters to the industry. INSET: Boulia Mayor Rick Britton.