Pe­ti­tion to re­lax feral game laws

Hunters cam­paign for trial

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Macken­zie Co­la­han Macken­zie.Co­la­

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

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