Petition to relax feral game laws
Hunters campaign for trial
HUNTERS have thrown their weight behind an online petition to legalise the hunting of feral game in Queensland’s state forests.
The proposal, brought before Parliament by recreational hunter and environmental science student Daniel Boniface, was sponsored by Katter’s Australian Party MP Nick Dametto and has attracted more than 8200 signatures in five weeks.
The pair are campaigning to establish a three-year trial of a “Restricted Game Licence” scheme, similar to what is in place in NSW and Victoria.
The scheme allows the recreational hunting of pest animals including deer, goats, pigs, foxes, feral dogs and feral cats on state-owned land.
Mr Boniface described existing systems in other states as “both safe and successful” measures of reducing feral species, the prevalence of which he said caused a “perfect storm of environmental and economic issues”.
He said the NSW scheme required recreational hunters to “complete additional accreditation and licensing”, proving an effective method of weeding out undesirable participants.
A report commissioned by NSW’s Game Licensing Unit into the economic impact of recreational hunting in NSW found the state’s 19,000 game hunting licence holders accounted for $119 million of gross state product and 860 jobs.
Queensland regulations currently restrict hunting activity to feral animals on private property.
Mr Boniface said there were “very limited opportunities” for the thousands of Queensland shooters who didn’t have access to privately held land.
“Hunting on public land is a legitimate pursuit that is already in place in other eastern states,” he said.
“The scheme that I am proposing would ideally mirror that which has been safely in place in NSW for seven years.
“Feral pests cause damage to the environment when allowed to breed large populations unchecked.
“I chose state forests for this petition firstly because feral pests are a huge problem there but also because state forests serve as an effective refuge and breeding ground for feral pests.
“If sport shooters are allowed to undergo the appropriate accreditation and gain access to state forests for hunting, these habitats will no longer be safe breeding grounds for feral pests and, over a period of decades, the environment and ecology may be able to recover.”
Member for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto said it was an easy decision to sponsor the proposed hunting trial.
“Hunting has long been a favourite pastime in North Queensland where feral pig populations have run rampant for years,” he said.
“There is a strong sport shooting fraternity across the state and I am thrilled the e-petition has gathered so much support.
“I believe the economic and tourism benefits of recreational hunting offered by the NSW scheme could be replicated in Queensland.
“The ‘lock it up and leave it’ approach to state forests taken by government has allowed feral animals such as pigs and cats to explode in population. Allowing recreational hunting is a good solution to keeping a check on feral species.”
DIFFERENT APPROACH: Workers fit a GPS collar to a feral pig in outback Queensland