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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021

Local national parks open for hunting

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Chris Dobney

It is officially open season in three of the region’s national parks following the passing of new legislation in state parliament yesterday.

The new law is part of a deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party that has enabled the government to pass legislation to sell off the state’s electricity generators. Indeed, the premier himself didn’t bother to hide it, admitting that the government only passed the electricity privatisation bill with the Shooters’ support.

Hunting for feral pigs, dogs, goats and cats will be permitted under licence in about 10 per cent of the state’s 799 national parks, including Nightcap, Yabbra and Richmond Range on the northern rivers.

It is being heralded by the government as a win for the environment.

But a coalition of five environment groups has described the move as ‘a fundamental breach of trust by Barry O’Farrell with the electorate’.

A joint media release issued late yesterday read, ‘The premier has repeatedly assured the public that he would not allow hunting in national parks. Today, he broke that promise. Yesterday, his government announced a proposal to weaken our state’s land-clearing laws. What will tomorrow hold?’

The groups represented were Total Environment Centre, Nature Conservation Council of NSW, The Wilderness Society, Colong Foundation for Wilderness, and Humane Society International.

The NSW Greens described the move as ‘a blatant deal with the Shooters Party… to massively expand the amount of public land available to amateur recreational hunting in a move that sees NSW adopting an unwanted pro-gun culture’.

Premier Barry O’Farrell claimed strict controls would apply to the licences, requiring written permission from the Game Council, which will oversee the program.

He added: ‘the minister for the environment would have ultimate control over where, when and how volunteer pest shooting took place’.

The premier described the move as ‘a logical extension of existing policy’. This year some 24,000 feral animals were removed from the state’s national parks by professional culling.

But the Greens have consistently criticised the move, previously arguing that children as young as 12 could theoretically be licensed to stab pigs.

Yesterday NSW Greens firearms spokesperson David Shoebridge described the move as ‘a shameless capitulation to the Shooters Party and the pro-gun and hunting lobby in NSW, which the majority of NSW residents will be sickened by’.

‘Feral animal control should be done professionally and humanely, not by a bunch of amateurs who have a vested interest in maintaining feral animal numbers to fuel their blood sports.

‘Amateur hunting has been a failed experiment in our state forests with the numbers of wild dogs rising and continued reports of shooters actively seeding public land with feral animals for next year’s hunt.’

Greens environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said, ‘This is about recreational hunting and dirty deals, not genuine feral animal control. This dirty deal is disgraceful and is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to attacks on National Parks expected to come from the Shooters–O’Farrell alliance.’

The premier said protections for native animals will remain in force, with fines of up to $220,000 for harming a threatened species.

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  1. That pretty well ends safe public use of public lands. Now its just for killers and loggers. Way to go Barry O’Farrell. You can be point man leading all others out into this. Shooters shoot at movement under killing fever. No risk? Sure, as if.

    • Jerry’s comments above are so obviously green, one-eyed and plain bloody ignorant. You are obviously another one of these do-gooder ring ins from the city without a clue about managing ferral pests in a rural environment. I am a recreational hunter and a farmer trying to make a living. I take personal offence at your describing a person with a gun as a ”killer” who just shoots at movement under ”killing fever”. Im not sure what movies you’ve been watching or what you’ve been smoking, but if this is the best you can come up with then you really should go back to the city where you belong.

  2. Re your article “Local National Parks Open for Hunting”. To get one thing out of the way: I admit to some unease to the proposal.

    But for cryin’ out loud: it is one thing for the “Land Rights for Gay Whales” mob to present their usual one-eyed perspective (which is their right), but surely Echonetdaily has some responsibility to come up with a modicum of balance in their stories. Even at a basic level, it is noted the Premier “claims” whereas the Greens spokesperson “says” or “describes”, and so on.

    As stated – I definitely have my reservations. However, advice “claimed” by the Premier at the joint media release probably deserves to be aired alongside visions of 12-year-olds to be posthumously nominated for the annual Darwin Awards by attempting to stab a cornered 80Kg tusked boar:

    As reported in more balanced media comment:
    “Ms Parker said allowing shooters in parks was an extension of a policy that already existed. She said hunting dogs remained banned.

    “This is not recreational hunting,” Ms Parker told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

    “What we do at the moment is contract licensed shooters … targeting feral animals.

    “This is not about a group of blokes going off for a weekend with their dogs, this is about extending our program using volunteers.

    “These are licensed shooters, they will have to fit strict requirements in order to do this, they will be going in with supervision.”

    The shooters will be monitored by park staff.”

    The final two paragraphs are probably at least worthy of mention.

  3. Your article “Local National Parks Open for Hunting” failed to include any comment from the other side of this politically charged agenda. The Greens stated that amateur recreational hunting is a move that sees NSW adopting an unwanted pro-gun culture. If this culture is unwanted, why does every on-line poll concerning shooter’s rights trounce the Green’s point of view and then have the results suppressed? The Greens would like Australians to forget there ever was a ‘Gun Culture’ here; and the first boatloads of British prisoners did all their shopping at Coles or Woolies.
    The Greens refuse to realise that Wild Dog baiting kills more native fauna than dogs who are mostly too savvy to fall for such tricks. And trapping catches and cripples more iguana, goanna, wallabies and other indigenous species who become ‘captive meals’ for dogs. As a property owner and a licensed hunter, I’ve seen the uselessness of traps and had them removed two days after ‘Professionals’ set them on my land. Speaking to the older neighbours, the way Feral animals were successfully dealt with years ago was for the farmers, animal herders, etc. to get together and summarily amass sufficient numbers of able bodied men and boys to ‘dispatch’ them by firearms. And the notion of “shooters actively seeding public land with feral animals for next year’s hunt” is both unproven and totally insane. The animal lovers who would never think of harming a cat do not realise the wholesale destruction of only one feral cat… their prey drive is so strong they will stop eating what they have just killed to make another kill. This behavior ensures survival by optimizing food availability.
    Cats typically eat 10-20 small meals throughout the day and night. Small rodents comprise about 40 percent or more of the feral domestic cat’s diet, with small rabbits, insects, frogs, skinks, lizards, wild birds and the occasional baby koala and marsupial making up the remainder. In areas abundant with native fauna, the average mouse is supplanted by sugar gliders, bandicoots, and other jungle species to provide at least 8% of a feral cat’s daily energy requirement. Repeated hunting cycles throughout the day and night are required to provide sufficient food for the average feral cat. As the average feral cat annually has two litters of approx. four kittens, do the math and you’ll see that the notion of hunters ‘stocking’ forests for next year’s hunt is ludicrous when two litters per year will result in approx. 20 offspring per parent.
    Sadly, too many people have been convinced that feral animal control by hunting is only a form of Bloodsport. However, it remains the most efficient, effective means; as opposed to leg breaking traps and 1080 bait poisoned animals subsequently being eaten by indigenous carnivores; only to suffer the same death as their dinner.

  4. Packs of wild dogs and dingoes are causing havoc in and around Nightcap forest at Kunghur. We can no longer let our chickens free range as only last week 3 were taken by dogs late afternoon. I remember vividly some years ago finding a half dead cow which had it’s calf ripped out of it’s body by a pack of dogs and the calf,s carcass laying nearby. Something needs to be done to solve this problem,perhaps this legislation is the answer . Peter

  5. Well, after reading the above story it has reminded me that its time to move away from the far north coast where i grew up, in what was once a farming region, and go inland to where ”real people” live, with ideas and opinions based on their own real experiences, usually through the school of hard knocks.
    These bloody do-gooders that have moved in over the years and ruined my country home and lifestyle need to pull their head out of their own arse and get their facts right before slinging off with their do- gooder approach to everything.
    Because you hav’nt grown up on the land where guns are a neccesity in your livelihood and for some, including myself, enjoy the sport of shooting feral pests you simply dont understand what you are on about. Sure, there are always going to be red necks who shouldnt hold a firearms licence but dont assume we are all gung-ho, blood thirsty red necks.
    We country people often dislike or dont understand what drives you do-gooders to be so destructive and so opinionative and ”labeling” often without any real experience or knowledge for what you are alledgedley trying to save, protect or change.
    We country folk could just assume that because you lot are often dirty, scruffy, smelly and in need of a good haircut and a bath that you are all ill informed, substance abusing idiots who have too much time on their hands, but at least we usully listen and try to understand your point of view.
    As for my opinion on the above story, well yes, it is a typical ”dirty deal” on the governments part but given it only affects around 10% of the parks i am assuming they are the ones not currently open to, or used by the general public anyway. But as i said, i dont know the facts.
    How can you claim that allowing licenced hunters to remove ferral pests from national parks be bad for the environment anyway? Obviously, you do-gooders have never woken up to a paddock full of dead and mamed sheep and lambs , some staggering around with their intestines dragging on the ground and half of their face missing, that have been attacked by wild dogs. And guess who many of these dogs used to belong to???
    As for David Shoebridges comments about leaving it up to the pro shooters for a humane result, im not sure if he has ever been an observing passenger in a helicopter with a pro shooter. Well, i have, and i can assure you that not every shot results in a clean kill and they certainly dont go back to finish them off. My point is, you dont need to be a pro to achieve a humane result. Of all the ferral pests i have shot as a recreational shooter over the years a clean, quick kill has always been and is for many hunters of the utmost importance.
    Dont assume that every licenced gun owner and hunter is doing the wrong thing. Its like banning the use of motor vehicles because some people use them irrisponsibly.

    So, to all you tree-hugging, vegan do-gooders who now call my place home……..have a bath, use deodorant, look respectable (it helps us take you seriously) and get a good T-bone into ya!

  6. I am no longer an owner of firearms nor an active shooter.
    I grew up in the country, with firearms. I owned and used them regularly.
    I am an active member of the Australian Conservation Society. I did vote for the Greens. But…..

    As long as the police, national parks officers and Shooters Associations adequately supervise these events. The licenses required, the type of firearms, qualifications, experience and ages of the participants. I see no harm in this proposal. Such policies have been in place for years without widespread public knowledge. Just look up feral goat hunting in australia on youtube. How many accidents? Zero. How many people killed? zero. Native animals killed? Zero. Well orchestrated, government and in particular National Parks Officer involvement and control of WHO, WHAT and WHEN. That is what is required. It can be done.

    Have any of you seen an animal die from the ingestion of 1080 poison?

    Because if you haven’t please stop talking about humane! It is indiscriminate and does NOT differentiate native from feral. Incidentally neither do the feral cats and dogs in our National Parks, but native marsupials are just so much easier to catch.

    Is genetic engineering of diseases to KILL feral animals, humane? Is it safe? I don’t hear the Greens and environmental voters complaining about that (nor the conspiracy theorists either mind you)!!!!

    For all you Green voters (I am one actually), what is your plan for protecting our wildlife? What is your choice for the control of feral animals? How do you kill an animal humanely? If you don’t think it needs to be done, then clearly you do not understand the issues at all. Do you want Australia to maintain its current native animal population? Do you want to see further species extinct?

    It IS happening, spread of disease, loss of habitat, competition (pigs, goats, rabbits) to active destruction of our small marsupials (via feral cats and dogs).

    I want the Eastern Spotted quoll here forever, and so should you.

    Please trust the police and National Parks to block the rednecks, enforce a strict no alcohol policy, and a ban on non-hunters in the parks with good pre-emptive advertisements to ensure the public is aware and safe. A sensible, measured, planned response. I just hope such is actually possible under a “budgie smuggling” Prime Minister.


    Please donate to ACF. Save the quoll.


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