Will a snout bounty stem pig prob­lem?

Bou­lia coun­cil lob­bies state for wild pig price

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

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.

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

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.

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