General discussion

Action needed to stop hunting in National Parks

A hunter showing off her trophies from a trip in western NSW

For more than 80 years bushwalkers have been at the forefront of conserving Australia’s most precious wild places. Whether scrounging together cash in the midst of the depression to save the Blue Gum Forest or slowly working away over decades of tedious lobbying, educating and campaigning to protect the now internationally recognised greater Blue Mountains area, bushwalking and conservation have always gone hand in hand.

So while our posts are usually confined to the excitement of our trips — with the simple goal of encouraging more people to get out there and explore our bountiful natural assets — we’re unapologetically making an exception for this issue.

In one of the most bizarre political deals ever seen, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s yesterday announced that in return for supporting his deal to sell off the state’s electricity generators he had agreed to allow recreational hunting in 79 National Parks, Nature Reserves and Conservation Areas.

And the parks that have been opened up to gun-toting amateurs wanting to go on yippee-shoots in the name of “conservation hunting” aren’t just obscure patches of scrub in remote corners of the state, they are some of the most significant — and popular — national parks we have.

The full list includes places like Kosciuszko, the Warrumbungles, Morton NP, Oxley Wild Rivers,  the Watagans, Myall Lakes, Goulburn River NP, Gibraltar Range NP and Brindabella NP. These areas have incredible environmental value, not to mention the tourism value with their amazing scenic vistas that have for decades drawn visitors from far and wide.

Indeed, on the same day the Premier was announcing hunting season was open, the Environment Minister was announcing the launch of a brand new “state-of-the-art” national parks website as part of a plan to double tourism expenditure in NSW over the next decade. This could be a challenging aim if flak jackets suddenly become an integral part of the prepared walker’s kit!

Now the emotive concerns about being shot by a short-sighted marksman who mistook you for a wild boar (I have been known to bear some resemblance in the early morning) are an obvious element of why this is bad policy, but there is actually some serious science that says exactly the same thing. (On a side note, the experiences of Victoria suggest the hunters generally shoot each other — there are several cases a year — rather than bushwalkers, but I’d rather not be the poor bugger who gets to prove this wrong).

While invasive species, including feral animals, are a terrible thing for the bush and cause real and lasting damage (you only have to see what pigs have done to sections of the Coxs and Kowmung Rivers), their eradication needs to be done in a planned, coordinated way. To instead have a gung-ho band of amateurs taking pot-shots means that while you may kill a small number of feral animals, you are likely to spread the remaining critters more broadly, worsening the impact of these invasive species.

To put it bluntly, feral animals are a serious issue, but one best addressed by professionals relying on science, not red-necks relying on firepower.

It is also important to remember that National Parks were created for two reason: for the protection of some of our most significant natural areas and for the enjoyment and recreation of the people of NSW. At no point during the conception, creation or ongoing development of our national park system has the provision of public lands for hunters to roam with an arsenal of deadly weapons been a guiding principle.

Worst of all the State Government already knows all this. During his first week in government the Premier promised the people of NSW that he would not allow shooting in National Parks, for exactly the reasons I’ve already covered. His decision to backflip is not based on new science, but rather political expediency and the desperate need to get his hands on the $3 to $4 billion the state’s power generators are worth.

Hopefully, like us, you are someone who enjoys the natural wonders that have been protected by previous generations of bushwalking conservationists. If so, I’d suggest a few easy things you can do to try and put a stop to this dangerous and destructive policy. Spend a few minutes sending an email, or making a phone call, and letting our political leaders know the backlash this decision will cause. Join a conservation organisation and become part of the campaign. And most importantly take people into our wonderful national parks, show them the natural wonders that have been protected, educate them about the risks these places face, and make sure our wild places are valued and protected for future generations.

What can you do?

1) Contact Premier Barry O’Farrell. Call his office on (02) 9228 5239, send an email to premier@nsw.gov.au or a letter to Premier Barry O’Farrell, GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001. If you don’t have lots of time to spare you can send a form letter here (also check out their map showing the parks impacted by this decision).

2) Contact your local member of parliament and let them know how strongly you feel about this appalling decision (click here for a full list of MP’s by electorate). Highlight the purpose of national parks, the risks hunting poses, the science that says uncontrolled hunting causes more harm than good, and the fact that you believe this broken promise is a major betrayal by the Premier.

3) Join a conservation organisation like the National Parks Association of NSW or the Colong Foundation. (You can find a local conservation group near you on the Nature Conservation Council of NSW’s website).

UPDATE:

A number of people have made comments below asking for more information about what the evidence and expert opinion is on the impact and effectiveness of amateur hunters targeting feral animal populations. Here are a selection of documents I have found interesting, useful and informative. They all raise concerns about the fact the recreational hunting can and continues to worsen feral animal problems.

I would suggest starting by reading the Invasive Species Council’s very well researched essay, Is recreational hunting effective for feral animal control, which concludes:

To date, it is likely that greater harm than good has resulted from recreational hunting of feral animals, with most species having expanded in range and numbers despite hunting and, in some cases, because of hunting. The evidence indicates that recreational hunting is not effective as a major or primary method of feral animal control.

The report prepared for the Howard Government’s Department of the Environment and Water in 2007 titled Managing feral animals and their impacts actually concludes that recreational hunting is worsening feral animal problems in Australia:

The sport and business of hunting is contributing significantly to Australia’s feral animal problems. For example: One hundred and twenty-seven new feral deer populations are reported to have been created by hunters across AustraliaBuffalo, deer and blackbuck have been freed on Cape York Peninsula; and The newly-created Game Council New South Wales has been given a mandate to manage Californian quail, pheasant, chukar partridge, peafowl and turkey, even though none of these species (yet) occurs in the wild on mainland Australia.

Because hunting access to private lands has become more difficult, deer have been released into national parks, state forests, catchment lands and other secluded places for future sport…
Pigs are also being released into national parks and other lands to create hunting opportunities. They can often be recognised by their torn ears from having been held down by dogs…
The sport and industry of hunting should be monitored to prevent new feral animal problems arising… Any subsequent changes to legislation and policy should consider that some hunters are ‘mavericks’ who ignore laws.

And then there is the NSW Government’s own experts from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.In their Blue Mountains Pest Management Strategy the negative impacts of illegal hunters who currently operate in our National Parks are highlighted as a top priority because:

Illegal pig hunting… often leads to the release or escape of hunting dogs. These dogs are then reliant on predation for survival and can potentially breed with dingos… Prevention of pig dog activities and releases of pig dogs in proximity to threatened species that may be impacted such koala colonies and dingo strongholds is of a higher priority.

Finally, a NSW Parliamentary discussion paper produced in 2010, when this issue last came up, includes the following assessment:

Studies indicate that professional, targeted feral animal control is much more successful than recreational hunting; Game Council data indicates that the kill rate of feral animals by recreational hunters is very low (less than two feral animals per licensed hunter and less than one animal per hunting day in 2007- 2008); Recreational hunters have a vested interest in retaining a sustainable population of feral animals to facilitate future hunting; Feral animal populations were, in some instances, established by hunters to facilitate hunting; There are safety issues associated with hunting in national parks and hunting conflicts with other recreational uses.

FURTHER UPDATE:

The following is from a post by a NPWS ranger on bushwalk.com. He is involved with feral animal management in many of our National Parks, including some of those that hunters will now be able to access. He provides some very interesting and informative points:

  • This whole issue is about the government wanting to sell the state’s power stations and is not based on any rational park management policy.
  • NPWS staff are just as confused as everyone else as to how the system will be implemented. If you listen to the Shooters and Fishers Party upper house members, then the system for hunting in national parks will be run in the same manner as it is in state forests. If you listen to the Premier, Environment Minister and read the internal Q&A memo, then the system will be organised and controlled by NPWS in selected areas. We need clarification on this issue.
  • I am actively involved in aerial feral animal control programs in various reserves as a navigator and lookout/spotter and I know from first hand experience we can kill up to 200 goats and pigs in a couple of hours flying. Depending on the terrain and the number of animals we can cover up to 500ha in that time. Often this country is very rugged and ground based shooters would not even be able to cover 10 ha in the same time frame, let alone get into a position for a clear shot at all the feral animals. Further west in the more open country, culling of greater numbers is possible.
  • The 2010-11 Game Council Annual report pp 13 & 15 states in that year they issued 15,080 licences and the total take reported was 14,161 animals. This equates to about 0.9 animal per hunting trip. Some 46% of the animals shot were rabbits, about 20% were goats and about 16% were pigs. Wild dogs, which are one of the biggest problems for landholders made up just 0.5% of all animals taken under licence. These figures reflect the information provided by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre’s findings about the usefulness of ground based shooting in controlling various pest species. That is, rabbits are easy to shoot from the ground, while dogs are not. These figures clearly demonstrate to me that ground based recreational hunting is an ineffective means of feral animal control over large areas of land. The rabbit population in Australia numbers in the millions yet less than 10,000 are removed annually from licensed recreational hunting.
  • Controlling feral animal populations is a whole of landscape issue. All land managers be they public or private need to do their part if it is to be effective, otherwise animals just migrate into the controlled areas from adjoining lands.
  • The risk of serious injury or death to park visitors and staff from accidental shooting is very real. The chances may be low, but the consequences are tragic and devastating for the victim, their family and the hunter and the hunter’s family. As has been reported on tv, there have been two fatal accidental shootings in New Zealand in the last two years. It can and will happen sometime.
  • I know employees of State Forests who do not like the hunting in the forests where they are working and there was a lot of opposition amongst the Forestry staff when it was introduced. They never know for sure if a hunter is actually out there and it has changed their enjoyment of the job, because they now have a constant feeling of unease when out in the field. I personally don’t want to happen to me and yes, some of the parks I work in are on the list of 79.
  • National park estate covers just over 8% of NSW, lets be generous and take away another 10% for urban and other areas where shooting isn’t feasible. That still leaves about 80% of NSW that they can currently hunt on if they gain permission of the landholders. One has to ask why the hunters are so interested in getting access to the national park estate when they have so much land they could use. It is not because most of the feral animals live on national park estate, they are spread across the landscape.
  • I believe the Shooters and Fishers Party is actually trying to enact a profound social change in community attitudes and getting permission for recreational hunting in these first national parks has been a longstanding goal in trying to legitimise their sport. In 2009, they tried to introduce a bill that amongst other things allowed for the hunting of animals in all national park estate across NSW, forbid a national park ranger to approach within 10 metres of a licensed hunter on a national park without their permission (how am I supposed to check if they are licensed if they refuse me permission ?) and provided for the setting up of game reserves on private property, where new introduced species can be released into the wild, but the landholder would not be responsible for any that escaped beyond their fences (including a number of game bird species which could simply fly off the property). This is a recipe for a whole new suit of feral animals in the landscape. It is obvious that the main goal of the Shooters and Fishers Party is to provide hunting opportunities such as these, it is not about feral animal control, it is about trophy lists and unimpeded enjoyment of their sport.
  • The State Forest experience is enlightening. 31 state forests were opened to hunting on a “trial basis” which lasted 1 month. Within 6 months, recreational hunting was permitted on some 400 state forests. While state forestry officers can temporarily close areas to hunting while they are undertaking works such as harvesting and hazard reduction burning, I have been told by a Forester that he constantly receives phone calls from his superiors questioning why he has temporarily stopped access to hunters. These calls are obviously being made in response to pressure from sources outside of State Forests.
  • I believe the Shooters and Fishers Party still has the goal of gaining access to all national park estate for recreational hunting and that the list of 79 reserves is only the starting point. What will be their price for supporting the government legislation in the future – another 50 or 60 national parks and nature reserves added to the list ? Given enough time (5 years ?), they will achieve their goal by chipping away at it every time the numbers in the upper house give them the deciding vote.
  • The fact that nobody has yet been shot in NSW state forests should not lead anyone into a false sense of security. Besides the two deaths of park visitors in New Zealand recently highlighted in the media, there is also a high number of hunters killing/injuring fellow hunters. In fact, the biggest threat to hunters appears to be other hunters. In New Zealand there is a hunter related gunshot injury/fatality on average every nine months and this has been happening since 1979. See this interesting article.
  • Another factor potentially increasing risk of injury from hunting in national parks is the sheer number of park visitors compared to those visiting state forests. In NSW some 35 million visitors come to our parks per annum. I do not have the figures for state forests, but I am confident it is nowhere near this many. Granted many national park visitors go the very popular parks such as those around Sydney and Kosciuszko (I’m sorry, I don’t have the breakdown of visitors by park), but there are still millions of visitors to many of our less popular parks as well.
  • For those of you who may feel that recreational hunting is ok because its only in 79 parks and reserves, I refer to my comments in my original post. I believe this is just the start. The S&F Party have stated they want hunting in all parks and reserves and I’m sure they will keep working away at that goal over time. In the meantime, there is a map showing the proposed hunting reserves here.
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168 thoughts on “Action needed to stop hunting in National Parks

    • Dimitri, unfortunately bushwalkers go further afield than the ski fields and areas close to Sydney. If you look at the list, many of the parks affected are hugely popular with bushwalkers.
      More importantly, if you speak to experts they will tell you that haphazard hunting does more harm than good because it results in feral animal populations being dispersed and spreading further. This results in more, not less damage to the environment. The removal of feral animals is an important issue, but it is best addressed by professionals whose actions are based on science.
      As for your next comment, I’d rather not engage with abuse, but I will leave it here. Freedom of speech and all that…

      • Thank you Tim Vollmer for modelling a dignified response to someone who fails to see we are here to engage with the issue, not engage in abuse. I am shocked by this recent action of the government and have e-mailed all the relevant politicians. If a campaign develops I will be part of it. I’m a good follower.

      • Thanks for that Elizabeth, it is greatly appreciated. I’m certain that we’ll see some ongoing campaigning on this issue. We’ll definitely keep you in the loop!

    • Shame you ruined your reply to the post with this comment Dimitri. I am interested in hearing an opposing argument against this, because I am not sure where I sit on the issue yet, but it is hard to take someone seriously when they say things like this.

    • Shane, I found that photo on a hunting website. It was taken in NSW in the last year, and the woman in it is responsible for killing one of the pigs. I figured it was a fairly accurate portrayal of recreational hunting. I had no intention of making it look “sexy”. I also didn’t want to go looking for some toothless redneck to try and make hunters look like freaks. I simply needed a picture to illustrate the post.

      • I think it is a very good picture. A young woman actually doing something about feral animals. Hunting is a healthy activity that keeps you fit and healthy and connected with nature. The only issue I have with the photo is that hunting with dogs is not one of the activities which will be allowed in National Parks.

    • EDITOR COMMENT: Just for disclosure, Douglas is a councillor with the Game Council NSW and is from the Federation of Hunting Clubs which the then Shooters Party helped form in 1996:

      Sexy volunteer to be more accurate. Looks like it was a very productive day for amateurs. Conservation Hunters do not claim they will eradicate feral animals. Wild pigs still exist on Flinders Island after concerted efforts to remove them.

      We know we can control feral and game animals because it has been done throughout the world using a variety of methodologies. In addition, it is happening here. Cowra and Port Macquarie have had a positive result controlling wild deer. The councils have publicly stated the programs have been a low cost success. Cowra even produced a DVD of it.

      The Game Council was designed to meet the practical realities of New South Wales’ feral animal problem.

    • This is a one-eyed view of this fundamental step forward at its appalling worst! Extrapolating that conservation hunting in NSW National Parks by licensed, trained hunters under controlled conditions will lead to fatalities because of a couple of isolated tragedies in NZ involving illegal spotlight shooting by irresponsible, unlicensed enebriated yobbos is IRRESPONSIBLE! 17,000 Licensed Hunters have been hunting feral animals in NSW State Forests for 6 years now – how many firearms related injuries (let alone fatalities) have occurred? NONE. In ALL of the years that deer hunters have been accessing VIC National Parks there have been 4 incidents of recreational hunters failing to properly identify their target and shooting another member of their hunting party. Under Game Council control and licensing ONLY qualified and appropriately licensed hunters will be allowed into specified NPs. Bushwalkers are not at risk here.

    • EDITOR COMMENT: Visitor fifteen from http://www.shooting.com.au responding to their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”. FYI, Kiwi’s call us the “West Island”:

      Hello Jeremy , you will note your links are of NZ base , and last time i checked NOT part of Australia, although they sometimes do refer to us as ” The southern Island”, It also refers to Illegal Hunters shooting from a moving car , which By R-Licence requirements does not allow such practises- ( terms of Permit ) an analogy i can use here is that of a Motor vehicle , with a responsible trained operator , there a safe piece of machinery , In the wrong hands , being illegal driven carelessly and dangerously – they become a 1 tonne missile that is capable of killing a LOT more people that just one bullet from a gun – should we therefore Ban all cars ? Yes it is Tragic when accidents do happen , but the Majority of the events have been from Illegal hunting, those of us who are responsible , do the right thing – obtain correct licences and training and ONLY pull the trigger when we know where the bullet will end up in the event of a miss ( not continue off into the distance – ie ONLY shoot when there is a backstop and not open ground) and ONLY shoot targets we FULLY identify INC species ( when it comes to deer )

  1. OK, having read the article more closely, I would love to see references of some sort for the claims made that
    1. the experiences of Victoria suggest the hunters generally shoot each other — there are several cases a year —
    2. To instead have a gung-ho band of amateurs taking pot-shots means that while you may kill a small number of feral animals, you are likely to spread the remaining critters more broadly, worsening the impact of these invasive species.

    I’m interested because I am not sure of how I feel about this, and evidence matters to me.

    Thanks,
    Shane

  2. The only comment I have regarding the politics of it is that it’s convenient that now BOF is in power he has had to sell out to minority parties to get something across the line, two things that he berated Labor for. funny how he accepts that politics really works this way now that he has to lead and makes no mention of his opposition to these methods in the past…
    I will rant a bit first, and then I will quickly clarify my position.
    Are you not being a bit sensational and overly emotive about it (not to mention typically general about it all)? After all, you started with a nice picture. I’m sure all hunters have 15 year old blonde daughters that like nothing better than to ride the dead carcass of a pig with a knife!! (btw, if the picture only had the 14 fox hides that are in the background, what would you think of their efforts?).
    I digress (on purpose). I can’t actually find the legislation changes anywhere, so I don’t really know that it’s going to just be open-slather for all “red-neck bogans” (or should I call them “gun-toting amateurs wanting to go on yippee-shoots”, or maybe just “hunters”, maybe even “professional shooters”?). All I can find are other equally emotive descriptions about the changes by more wide-ranging news sources.
    Lovely tangential move to introduce the parks website and the possible need for flak jackets… (I…just have no words).
    You quote the scientists and dispersion. Do they have any studies about this? If you had a pack of 15 male and female pigs at a clearing at the cox, are they more of a reproductive threat than two males and a female in 5 different spots? Does science actually back it up? Or just thoughts from those “more in the know”? Are 15 bushwalkers walking in a line more damaging to the environment than 5 packs of three walkers in different areas? In terms of killing, with exception of elite units, is an army of 150,000 troops more or less likely to be killed off by other “predators” than 15,000 groups of 10 men wandering through enemy territory? Simplistically, I’d’ve thought that smaller numbers are more likely to be eradicated because they can’t sustain themselves in the longer run. (wow, now i’m off on a tangential rant)
    Anyway, what feral animal reductions options do we have that were “addressed by professionals relying on science, not red-necks relying on firepower”? Have they any effective suggestions that do not work only in utopia?
    This document (interesting read, btw, which may also give you some idea about how hunting was to be carried out in the past) http://fedpub.ris.environment.gov.au/fedora/objects/mql:1520/methods/c4oc-sDef:Document/getPDF
    seems to think that shooting is the most effective way of pest eradication (and .
    Anyway, while I’ve ranted on a fair bit, I don’t really believe that this is going to turn out to be a gun-toter’s paradise, and that chances are it’s going to be a controlled hunt by the more professional hunters who have been granted licences (s? i can never remember) in order to do this. I think you’re clearly extrapolating a lot of scenarios (being shot by other hunters) solely to support your own case rather than based on sound science and experience.
    (shooters hitting other shooters (probably both in some sort of caomouflage), I would argue, is slightly different to a shooter randomly hitting a bunch of bushwalkers chattering and bopping up and down through the bush (speaking of which, with the exception of vague memories of some teenager being shot by a hunter while hunting and some other news item of a similar nature next year, I don’t recall “several cases a year” – do you have a source of statistics for your claim? or are you only using those two cases in one year to retrospectively generate stats?)).
    I met a loevly hunter 4-5 hours away from the nearest road in New Zealand last year when we were out walking. She was very meticulous about what she was doing and indicated that the conditions weren’t really right due to the wind direction and an animal’s instinct and various other things. Anyway, I guess she wasn’t really a gun-toting redneck that is being protrayed in your, and mainstream news, articles.
    Finally, “National Parks were created for two reason: for the protection of some of our most significant natural areas and for the enjoyment and recreation of the people of NSW”. I see that this bill may actually help your first point, and I don’t see that this necessarily encroaches on the possibility of your second point.
    Anyway, I’ve really go to do my work, but I think that this kind of arguement is just irritating to me, because you’re not actually providing any evidence against these sorts of things. You’ve provided many generalisations, no real alternatives and no factual backing of your claims. I think we should be arguing merits based on statistics, I’d be interested to see yours.
    Now, back to reality. In general I am against guns, and I think places like the malabar rifle range should indeed be closed down, but if the “culling”, “hunting” or however you wish to name it is carried out by professional marksmen that are licenced to do it, have had lots of training and are adhering to a strict set of rules about it, I really don’t have a problem with it. Just because they are a person with a gun, it doesn’t really give anyone the right to, again, generalise and state that they are unprofessional. Any human can be unprofessional in any career, it isn’t restricted to those who more educated dub “the lower classes”. Unfortunately I can see nothing to either support or contradict this scenario playing out as a result of the legislation and so at this point am neither for nor against it.
    (I look forward to you picking at my generalisations and sweeping statements)

    • My (and . that was cut short was meant to say “And it was distributed by the Dept Primary Industries, not a self-serving hunting group.

    • Well put. The only difference here between professional hunters and the so called “gun toting rednecks” is that the latter are out there doing it at their own expense.

  3. Hunting of feral animals by shooting only culls the animals that can’t run fast enough to avoid the shooter. This results in ferals that can run faster and faster and become very cunning in conceakling themselves. It’s called natural selection.
    It’s why Gazelles can run so fast, and why cheetahs have developed their own high speeds to catch them.

      • Bruce that has to be the most rediculous argument I have ever heard. Find me one animal on this planet that can run in excess of 1000 fps. I’m pretty damn sure hunters aren’t trying to catch these vermin by hand.

    • EDITOR COMMENT: And here we have visitor sixteen from http://www.shooting.com.au responding to their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”:

      Interesting discovery you’ve made Bruce. An animal that can run in excess of 2,500 feet per second (the average speed of a rifle projectile). Are you naming this supersonic beastie after yourself? I’d love to know what one looks like.

  4. I am appalled at the decision, and disheartened by the need for for politicians to make radical opinion changes just to push their own agendas. While I am interested in the elucidation of further sound evidence, I am against the decision regardless. Putting aside the (potential) impacts to feral animals, increased risks to human safety, disturbance of the peace, incompetence of BOF, etc, I am also concerned about the thousands of bullets that miss the intended target and get left there. I don’t see how this is any different to any other forms of pollution/littering of National Parks. No matter how hard shooters claim to respect the environment, I see this as blatantly irresponsible.

    IMO, hunting is a perfectly valid recreation – but there is a time and a place – which should not include National Parks. There are plenty of shooting ranges, properties and forests for them to practice in.

    • Matt, the rules of the proposed system mean few shots will be taken, and the nature of the hunting means few will miss. Parks will not be used as ranges, as only shots aimed at target species are permitted.

    • EDITOR COMMENT: Just for disclosure, Douglas is a councillor with the Game Council NSW and is from the Federation of Hunting Clubs which the then Shooters Party helped form in 1996:

      Dearest Matt – Politicians who push their own agenda are generally voted out. Some real life examples are just around the corner. Think Queensland.

      Politicians who push draconian populist radical changes often get supported by the lame stream media in spite of the immoral waste of public money required to fund the illusion of public safety and climate safety. That is why Canada and New Zealand have stopped their long firearm registry recently, finally accepting that such strategies are a colossal waste of money.

      This scenario creates new political parties such as The Shooters and Fishers Party that keeps gaining around 35% more votes every election.

    • Nice. Filled out (with some changes) and sent. Got an error the first time though and it didn’t send. And then no confirmation that it was sent the 2nd time?
      Retweeted.

    • EDITOR COMMENT: And now for comment number seventeen from the good folks at http://www.shooting.com.au responding to their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”:

      “Helps you write a letter”?! …. Do it yourself, and whats wrong with hunting. If there were ‘No hunting’ the country would be overun with Introduced feral animals causing all kinds of destruction to farming land and national parks.

      you guys dont really have any idea

  5. The shooting aspect of this story is almost beside the point to me. The really bad thing here IMO is that the NSW government are bending to the demands of a special interest groups to get their way (selling off our power assets, which IMO makes me absolutely furious). I know that’s politics, but it doesn’t make it right. And that’s what I mostly find disgusting with this whole thing.
    So although I’m personally against opening up the parks for shooting, I do understand their POV. Being a geocacher for example, I’d also like equal rights to geoache in the national parks instead of it currently being illegal. But geocachers don’t have the same political clout as the shooters, so they get shafted. And you can say others do too, like say the extreme sport people like base jumpers for example.
    Dave.

    • Dave have you talked to the Shooters and Fishers party about this. The party is about protecting people freedoms. They have represented many minor groups in the past such as medieval recreation groups when their items such as swords were banned. They were able to change the bill so these groups could continue.

    • EDITOR COMMENT: Just for disclosure, Douglas is a councillor with the Game Council NSW and is from the Federation of Hunting Clubs which the then Shooters Party helped form in 1996:

      Dave join The Shooters and Fishers Party, they would certainly agree with you that geocachers should be allowed to enjoy their hobby within the public asset known as a National Park. TSFP isn’t shafting your group it is the Labor / Green Elitist Coalition.

    • @ Dave Jones, sporting shooters are looking at banding together with other people who enjoy the bush but are being locked out by “lock it up and don’t touch it” Gaia worshippers. Can we coumt on your support for the Bush Enjoyers Coalition?

  6. These same arguments about how bad it would be were made when hunting in NSW state forests was introduced 6 years ago and have been unfounded. The only difference between most of these national parks and our state forests is the name, as almost all national parks were once state forests. Hunting will not be in the tourist areas as feral animals in most cases avoid people. R licensed hunters have gone through several checks and are the people prepared to do the paperwork and testing required. These are not the same Yobs who buy a gun off their drug dealer and shoot up their rivals house in Sydney. Statistics prove you are currently more likely to be shot walking down the street in Sydney than in a forest open to R licensed hunters.

    Another point is the claim that shooting will not eradicate pests. Anyone who thinks eradication of most feral animals is possible lives in a dream world. If it was why have National parks not done this years ago. They have had years and millions of dollars and the situation is getting worse. They will never admit the job of pest control is beyond them. Their own control programs reduce numbers, then they move to another area and numbers breed up again. What is needed is sustained control which is imposable with the national parks budget in over the 4 million hectares of national parks in NSW. Allowing volunteer licensed hunters to the job in some parks will allow National Parks to focus their efforts in other areas.

    • That is a very biased page conveniently ignoring the facts. The invasive species council is an organisation relying on feral animals for their existence. They themselves have done nothing except criticize others trying to make a difference, and support the status-quo. Current methods have thrown millions of dollars and years of work at the problem, and achieved nothing. Isn’t it about time they became a little progressive and tried something else.

  7. A couple or tragic examples to quote in your letters to MP’s

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/teen-shot-dead-in-hunting-trip-tragedy-20100726-10r4l.html

    “It is believed one of the men mistook him for a deer and fired a fatal shot at his companion,” she said.

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/hunting-tragedy-teen-shoots-mate-dead-20101102-17ao4.html

    Hunting tragedy: teen shoots mate dead

    Killing Range of a .222 calibre rifle = 300m muzzle velocity 1000m/s = 3600 km/hr

  8. 2 maybe 3 more hunting deaths in Victoria
    The possible explanation for a missing man plus in the past decade two people have been accidentally shot dead by deer hunters in Victoria.

    A 74-year-old deer hunter died near Bairnsdale five years ago and a man walking his dog in the Yarra state forest at East Warburton was killed in 1999.
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/wheres-warren/story-e6frf92f-1111116503060

    Any occurances like this in NSW will be on Barry O’Farrell’s head and that of your local member!

  9. EDITOR COMMENT: Just as disclosure, Mick is the founder and editor of http://www.shootingnews.com.au

    I find it a shame other canyoners won’t support another activity I enjoy. Bushwalking, canyoning, rockclimbing, mountian biking, orienteering (long ago!), caving, hunting and all sorts of other things are all worth supporting. Geocaching, too (why of earth this is banned in NPs is beyond me). Outdoors people seem to have been divided until most of us have been conquered by the likes of the NPWS. When we look back in a few years, you’ll see hunting has not been the evil Tim Vollmer and his like are talking it up to be.

  10. EDITOR COMMENT: Just for disclosure, Steve is a councillor with the Game Council NSW and was also a Regional Campaign Organisers with the Shooters’ and Fishers Party at the 2011 State Election:

    Tim, I’ll inject a bit of balance and truth into the discussion…

    Firstly, the documents you cite are all highly skewed – there are many independent Government written reports that acknowledge and support hunters being involved in controlling feral animals on public, including NP’s e.g. the NSW Invasive Species Plan 2008-2015 (prepared by DPI) says:”The major objective of Game Council NSw is to harness the eff orts of licensed,accredited hunters to assist in the reduction of some pest species such as feral pigs, goats, foxes and rabbits.”

    In the 2005 Commonwealth Inquiry report ‘Taking Control: a national approach to pest animals’ Recommendation 21 says: “The committee recommends that the Australian Government, through the Coalition of Australian Governments, encourage states and territories to amend legislation and to find solutions for insurance problems experienced by hunting and shooting organisations where legislation and insurance problems preclude the organisations from assisting landholders with pest control activities.”

    In the 2009 NSW Parliamentary Inquiry report ‘Return of the ark: The adequacy of management strategies to address the impacts of climate change on biodiversity’, Professor Ralf Buckley, Director and Chair of the International Centre for Ecotourism Research at Griffith University told the committee: “If the parks agency decided to run a particular program of feral animal control in which it invited appropriately pre-qualified private hunters to join it, I do not see that that would be a problem.” There are many others I could cite…

    Secondly, you assert that “At no point during the conception, creation or ongoing development of our national park system has the provision of public lands for hunters to roam with an arsenal of deadly weapons been a guiding principle.” – Wrong! The NSW Parliament Briefing Paper No 22/98 ‘National Parks in NSW’ says: “The first national park in Australia was the National Park (later Royal National Park) south of Sydney, reserved in 1879. The National Park was a Crown reserve, established not for nature conservation but for…rifle butt or artillery range.”

    I’m happy to send to send you these documents if you wish, but I’m sure you’ll locate them.

    Please, cease with the emotive name calling and stick to the facts. The truth doesn’t cease to exist simply because those opposed to hunting on ideological grounds choose to ignore it.

  11. EDITOR COMMENT: Just for disclosure, Steve is a councillor with the Game Council NSW and was also a Regional Campaign Organisers with the Shooters’ and Fishers Party at the 2011 State Election:

    To ‘christophermoore’..

    Contrary to what people opposed to hunting might think animals, both native and introduced, seek out those habitats that provide the essentials for life i.e. food, water, shelter. Numerous published studies show that hunting does not disperse feral animals. Here’s what Australian researches found in a study of hunting feral pigs in the ACT:

    “Radiotracking information and observations of pigs during and after the hunting trial indicated that none of the pigs carrying transmitters left their home range because of disturbance by hunters and dogs.”

    “Most of the pigs in this study retained a strong fidelity to their home ranges despite the disturbance they were subjected to…”, and

    “Similar behaviour of pigs in relation to hunting has been observed in Hawaii (Stone and Taylor 1984); also Singer et al. (1981) found that the mean daily movements of wild boar after disturbance (0.18km) was significantly less than movements with no disturbance (0.55km).”

    McIlroy and Saillard, Australian Journal of Wildlife Research 1989, 16, 353-363.

    Regards
    Steve

  12. EDITOR COMMENT: Just for disclosure, Douglas is a councillor with the Game Council NSW and is from the Federation of Hunting Clubs which the then Shooters Party helped form in 1996:

    ‘Sell out’ is the refrain employed when a group other than the Labor / Greens Coalition achieves one tiny step.

    Alternatively ‘deal’ is the mantra when another group achieves a result that the Labor / Greens Coalition finds impossible to understand.

    The fairest description would be ‘Democratic Process’ achieved without the vitriol, chanting, demonstrating, jeering, abuse hurling, chaining demonstrators to trees, spreading of frozen ducks around office foyers and mindless repetitive use of emotive language such as blood lust, cruelty, gun culture and redneck.

  13. If you want to find out the truth about safety in hunting and other pursuits ask the Melbourne Forensic institute, they looked at it 2010. Sorry guys bushwalking and canyoning are far more dangerous to the people who do it and those who have to go and rescue them. Google. NCIS report 2010. Hunting goes on in Victorian National Parks and more people have died camping or bushwalking in the last 10 years, should they be banned- certainly not. The first National Park came about because of a hunter (Theodore Roosevelt) not a bushwalker. Conservation as a term was coined by a hunter – Aldo Leopold.

    Each time you bush walk in a New Zealand national park you are sharing it with hunters, each time you go to Coburg Penensula in the NT you are sharing it with traditional and safari hunters. Time to stop this rubbish, hunters can and will help, we have had to put up with extreme Green politics in NSW for nearly years now- and they certainly wield power and influence if they have the balance of power. Have an open mind, find the truth out, not the Green misrepresentations and tainted pseudo- science of a self appointed council suchnas the Invasive Species Council in Queensland which has been hi-jacked by animal liberation.

    Next time you are in the bush and you see a hunter talknto them, they are no different to you. We can all contribute, hunters can augment the NPWS programs, 24,000 animals removed by NPWS last year from 10million or so hectares is nothing, why can’t we work together, for the good of the environment?

  14. As someone who has hunted in the past, the argument that they will control feral pests is destroyed by conversations I had with farmers who said that the hunters only shot the adults, leaving the females with young to grow and be shot in the future, no overall reduction in numbers. That is the Hunters were farming the feral pests.

  15. Wow Bill, imagine an issue being destroyed by having a conversation with someone. Sure beats the he’ll out of science, collecting data, adaptive management and paradigm change, thanks for that, onwards………..

  16. Despite the much lower ratio of active canyoners to active hunters in the general population way more canyoners are hurt, rescued or killed in NSW National Parks than hunters across the whole nation! But please don’t let the real facts detract from your argument!

  17. EDITOR COMMENT: Just for disclosure, Rob is secretary of the Northern Zone Hunting Club in Lismore:

    I feel sure even overweight canyoneers will quite be safe hiding down below in their caverns and canyons from any musketry above! In a year’s time this type of enviro-angst will have subsided to a large degree and then we can see if the present doom-sayers and animal rights theorists were right. I think you will find the NSW Game Council has ‘the runs on the board’ as regards hunter ethics and safety for over 7 years now and also has an impressive reputation internationally. It pays to remember that originally some National Parks were included in the 2002 feral animal control legislation, but the NPWS Unions put the pressure on to exclude them, as they feared for their jobs.Their control methods for feral animal mainly involves poisoning with ‘1080’ derivatives, but in a few cases they are actually using ground contract-shooting, as well as trapping and helicopter culls in an integrated control plan. It may interest your readers to learn that some Conservation Hunters in our Club are actively bidding for these ground shooting contracts with NPWS as we speak. Thus hunting as an integrated feral animal method must be reasonably effective, for the NPWS to use it themselves in National Parks in NSW?

  18. I have just seen this thread on Fat canyoners blog and it is good to see a good well informed debate.

    While the Game Council is doing some very good work with feral past management, and I am all for reduction of feral pests, I have some questions that I would like to ask Douglas and Steve from the Game Council NSW.

    1/ Would it be possible to post on this blog the numbers of feral and game animals harvested per year from state forests by the Game Council Hunter licensing system, and if so what is the break down of the figure, eg number of foxes, goats, pigs, deer cats dogs etc removed.

    2/ What are the estimates of each feral and game animal numbers in NSW if and known what are the numbers of these animals in NSW State forests.

    3/ Has the harvesting by the Game Council hunter licensing system in the last seven years been responsible for any decline in feral pest numbers?

    4/ Can Douglas, Steve or anyone else involved with hunting management, 100% guarantee that if hunting is allowed in NSW National Parks that no other park user will ever be injured or killed by a person hunting in a NSW National Park.

    • Good questions, I would like to know as well.

      As for the 100% guarantee that no other park user will ever be killed or injured you can only go on the figures of state forest hunting in the last 6 years, in which they have had no incidents. But you can not rule out the stupidity of people putting themselves in harms way and the individual risks people want to take. With all the hysteria I have read on this issue I would not rule out protesters doing themselves harm in some way and trying to blame licensed hunters.

      • I agree that Tony’s questions are very good and deserve answering. I know the figures for the last year that were released were less than 15,000 feral animals shot across all state forests, but I haven’t seen the lists for the full 7 years.
        As for your comment Craig, I find it most bizarre and worrying. Are you seriously suggesting that you think protesters are going to start secretly getting their hands on high powered rifles and shooting each other to try and blame hunters? And are hunters seriously planning to try and blame people if they do get shot by trying to claim they stupidly put themselves in harms way? Sounds a bit like the “if a woman wears a short skirt it is her fault if she gets raped” argument for my liking!

    • Tony

      Here’s answers to some of your questions.

      1.The Game Council posts an ‘Environmental Scorecard’ where numbers of feral animals killed are posted, although the current one is somewhat out of date: http://www.gamecouncil.nsw.gov.au/docs/2010EnvironmentalScorecard.pdf.
      3. Yes, see answer 1 above.
      4. No, for exactly the same reason you can’t give me a guarantee that if I’m out bushwalking with my young daughter that we won’t come face-to-face with some idiot who gets his jollies by prancing around in the bush naked.

  19. Max wrote “NCIS report 2010. Hunting goes on in Victorian National Parks and more people have died camping or bushwalking in the last 10 years, should they be banned- certainly not.”

    I just read the NCIS report 2010 and it is certainly an interesting read, I note that The Game Council of NSW commissioned this report.

    Quote from report. “In the last 10 years of the 1473 sporting related fatalities, 22 involved Target Sport, with 13 of these deaths relating to an unintentional shooting incident. An additional 12 fatalities involving an unintentional shooting even during leisure/hunting activity where the activity had not been coded as occurring during sport.”

    In the report it puts Bushwalking (hiking) in the Adventure group with Mountaineering and Rock Climbing and Other Adventure, which in the last 10 years has a total of 34 fatalities Australia wide

    Max from those figures, I am not quite sure how you came to the conclusion that more people have died bushwalking, as Rock Climbing, Mountaineering and Canyoning which bushwalking is grouped with are much more inherently dangerous activities than Bushwalking and at the most from the figures in the paper you could only consider 4-6 deaths from bushwalking, Australia wide over the last ten years, this is a lot less than 22 deaths from hunting.

    • EDITOR COMMENT: Mark, I appreciate the honesty that you came via http://www.shooting.com.au. Thanks for a thoughtful comment. I don’t agree with you on a number of key points, but I’d definitely recommend people take the time to have a read as I think you do a good job covering quite a few key points from the perspective of a hunter:

      As a keen rock climber, eco adventure tourism guide, and hunter who previously worked at a busy climbing gym in Tasmania I can say that saying that rockclimbing is more dangerous than bush walking is incorrect…surprisingly I will admit hahah. Any long term resident of tasmania will agree that a fair few deaths of lost hikers are reported on the news, but I can’t remember the last death from rock climbing that was reported? I can remember the last death of a Tasmanian mountaineer (who died ice climbing in NZ a few years back) as I held down the fort while my colleagues went to his funeral. Also living under the flight path of the rescue helicopter when it heads to the southwest I can say that there are obviously a fair few hikers getting into trouble and that a lot of money is being spent to allow them to continue enjoying south west national park.
      Anyway me talking about stuff that I can’t be bothered finding the stats to back up isn’t anymore productive than you making claims that you won’t (or can’t) back up.
      At the end of the day I would just like to be another person trying to be a voice of reason in this debate, shooters have a right to enjoy their hobby, just as bushwalkers have a right to enjoy their’s. People who leap in with their emotional, poorly thought out and unobjective opinions aren’t being fair. Realisitically a compromise needs to be reached and a compromise needs to be fair to both parties, which probably means neither parties will be happy.
      One point I would like to make is that irresponsible bogan hunters do exist! Lawfull legal hunters hate them worse than any greenie could!! They destroy everything that lawfull hunters work for! These people already hunt in national parks! Because their already breaking the law anyway so whats breaking one more? I firmly believe that letting lawful hunters into the parks will do more to stop the unlawfull hunters from heading into the park and shooting whatever they like! Simply because lawfull hunters will KNOW when the see evidence of it, that its illegal and they will know what information to gather and who to report it too! And they will have a incentive beyond what a bushwalker would have to stop it from happening again!!
      Coming from Tasmania I can say there are a LOT of people who are very angry at the current amount of power that the green movement has in Australia, in Tasmania especially. I can say that there ARE many families leaving Tasmania as Green policies have destroyed their livelihood and removed any chance of finding another in their areas.
      Be that as it may I still try to remain objective. There are good things in the green policies. There are equally as many poorly educated hysterical people on both sides. And public opinion and therefore political policy will swing back and forth over time. You just have to take a deep breath and think things like, “oh well there will be shooters in the parks, but hey look at all the new marine parks that just got open”. I can tell you there are more things happening now that greens should be happy about than the other way! New marine parks, 4 wheel driving being basically shutdown on the west coast of tasmania etc etc.
      I guess what I am saying is you guys are getting all these things due political bargaining, is it fair to complain when the same thing happens and it favours a different minority for once? Couldn’t you just let the shooters have this one? Just let them enjoy their hobby as they let you enjoy yours?
      I have to say I have been reading the comments so far and I am seeing a lot of well reasoned fact based arguments from shooters and a lot of emotional negative posts with either no facts to back them up or news stories taken out of context or skewed websites used as proof from walkers.
      Also I absolutely love the “for clarities sake” edits. It does and excellent job of adding a nasty connotation to the posts that follow. I’m not going to hide that I read the post on shooters .com and came over for a look. Surely you aren;t going to pretend that you haven’t seen the exact same thing done on bushwalking or environmental forums?
      Anyway I guess I’ve said my piece. I would really love to think that someone will read this and really think about it from the other sides point of view. I mean they are just another group of people who love the outdoors and are trying to get out there and enjoy it. Sure they may come from a different background to you but at least consider their rights as you would like them to consider yours. They aren’t going to go out in a national park and blaze away and the definitely aren’t going to go and try to shoot a walker, just the opposite in fact they will avoid it at all costs because they are actually people not crazed psychopaths!! The only difference between your bushwalk and their hunt is that when they see that fox or deer or pig they will shoot it and remove it from the park before it kills the native wildlife, or kills trees or causes massive erosion, rather than saying oh no thats terrible then going home and doing nothing.
      I guess at the tender age of 27 I have become cynical, but I don’t think an argument, no matter how well stated, well proved or just plain TRUE it may be, will stop people from believing what they WANT to believe! People these days form an opinion based on what the are told in the media or by their friends or by websites like these, all of which have agendas that they want to push. And they view these medias according to what the WANT to believe. I don’t think that people I don’t think that people care about people who don’t agree with them or have a different way of life unless its people that they want their peer group to see them caring about! I see people campaigning for the rights of people on the other side of the world but ignoring the suffering of people next door. I see people climbing on a band wagon to campaign for changes without stopping to think about how it effects people just like them with the exception of career and location.
      All of this makes me think that at the end of the day this post, this blog will make no difference to anything that matters! Half the readers will go away with their private opinions confirmed, thinking that the other side is either a mad bogan redneck or undereducated or just doesn’t know what they are talking about and the other half will go away thinking that its bs or lies and that the otherside are all mad unwashed environmentalists who work in an office and go on a day walk once a month and have never LIVED in the bush and therefore know nothing.
      I would really like to think that someone else will read the comments, read the evidence shown by both sides, disregard an obvious rubbish FROM BOTH SIDES and come to reasonable, valid conclusion. However, sadly, I really doubt it will happen, so how about both sides just mind there own business, carry on with their own thing, thinking there own version of the truth and get on with their lives? Is that too much to ask?

  20. As there has been no reply to my request of feral and game animal numbers in NSW State Forests from Douglas and Steve from the Game Council of NSW, or any other hunter who reads this blog thread, I thought I would post some information that I have recently come across on the net.

    In the Game Council 2010/2011 annual report it is reported as an ‘exceptional year’ as 14,161 animals where harvested by recreational hunting from NSW State Forests, in that period, with, Rabbits-6621, Foxes-1325, Goats-2648, Pigs-2296, Deer-512, Hares-520, Cats-167 and Dogs-72 removed, it was also reported that and a total of 55,440 feral and Game animals removed in the last six years.

    It can be estimated that NSW State Forest contain at least 1-2 million feral and game animals, so if we take there are 1.5 million feral and game animals in State Forest, the Game Councils results of 14,161 animals removed is less than 1%, as the Game Council calling this exceptional results I would call these results an exceptional failure. If you take the 55,440 feral and Game animals removed in the last six years, this gives 9240 animals a year, and is 0.6% of estimated feral and Game animals in NSW State Forests, the results are even worse. For you information, there are hundreds of millions of Feral and Game animals in NSW.

    If 15,000 hunters can only take an average of 9240 animals per year from State Forest over 6 years, which has area of 20,000 SQ KM, I am not sure how we are expected to believe that the same hunters can make any difference to feral and game numbers in the NSW National Parks which have an area of 50,000 SQ KM.

    On these figures I could only label the Game Council of NSW native animal conservation claims as a bad joke and the Game Council of NSW should be disbanded in favour of a professional hunting program which would for the same NSW taxpayers money would be far more successful.

    • One thing you are not taking into account is the exclusion areas. In most forests I have hunted there are large areas off limits for hunting. This is often half the forest and in one forest I have been to only about 25% of the forest was available to hunting. When you consider this and that there are a lot of forests which are not hunted very often that it is not a bad result. The estimate of 1.5 million animals is also only an estimate and probably includes over 1,000,000 rabbits. A comparison of pest numbers between the exclusion areas and open areas would be more useful.
      Hunting is also not the only pest control measure used, as in national parks the effect of several methods give a much better result that any one method.
      Just the 1,325 foxes and 167 cats removed will on its own have a large impact on predation of our small animals and birds. Many of these were probably animals which had survived baiting programs and were bait shy.

    • Tony do you realise that the hunters who have paid to obtain an R-licence and then removed 14,161 feral animals from State Forests at their own expense, have done so in their spare time after working in every area of our society – you probably work with one or more of them? A professional hunting program that costs the same NSW taxpayers money would be exactly zero. I totally agree with the onerous requirements that R-licence holders have to meet, because only ‘professional’ hunters are allowed into our State Forests, and now limited National Parks, to remove feral pests. This in addition to the enormously expensive and largely ineffective “professional” culling programs will surely assist in managing the number of feral pests in our public lands. I am a Queenslander who holds an R-licence and I regret that I have only managed 1 hunting trip in a NSW State Forest in the last 12 months due to work commitments. I was able to take a number of Deer, foxes, cats and rabbits. My individual contribution was small, but collectively we are making a difference. Instead of bemoaning the expansion of contolled hunting into National Parks, I would have thought that environmentally conscious people would be rejoicing that this free resource has been harnessed to assist in the ongoing battle to save our native flora and fauna.

  21. Hi Graig,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Yes you are correct, my 1.5 million estimate does include 1 million rabbits, the Game Councils figures of 14,161 animals includes 6621 rabbits some 47% of their total, if you remove rabbits from the total you get 7540 other animals killed, compared to a population of around 500,000 feral and game animals, which is still around 1.5%, still very small.

    Even if only half of the State forest are available to recreational hunters, the estimated number of feral animals excluding rabbits is around 250,000, 7540 feral animals killed is still only 3%, a very small number.

    Graig wrote: Just the 1,325 foxes and 167 cats removed will on its own have a large impact on predation of our small animals and birds. Many of these were probably animals which had survived baiting programs and were bait shy.

    My research shows that there maybe around 2 million foxes in NSW and around 50,000 foxes could be in State Forests, 1325 is 2.65%, it is thought that for many invasive species and yearly cull of 50% is needed just to maintain status quo; for foxes it is estimated that culling of 65% or more is needed.

    As for feral cats, according the Game Council of NSW there are 19 million feral cats in Australia, there could be 100,000 cats in State Forests, I doubt 167 cats less than 0.2%, removed will not make any difference.

  22. Why don’t you people focus your energy on stopping coal seam gas or open cut mining in national parks??? This whole argument is like two fleas arguing over who owns the dog.

  23. Annual Report 2008-09 – Deer Management Program by professionals.

    Professionals removed 121 deer from the Royal National Park & Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area and adjacent areas.

    The Royal National Park Area’s over all costing out comes for the 2008-2009 year was $25,000 with 81 animals being removed with a cost per animal of $308. The cost per animal continues to improve compared to the early days of the program. Eg. 2003 at $490 per animal,

    Source: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/pestsweeds/RoyalDeerManagementPlan.htm

    The program spent $25,000 in 2008-09 and the website does not display any subsequent years’ reports.

    Using a cost of $308 (RNPDMP per deer) X 512 (Deer removed by Conservation Hunters) = S157,696 which would have been the cost for professional removal of this many deer in one area. Spread over the state it would have cost significantly more due to the lack of scaled economy. This of course does not recognise the much larger number removed from private land by R Licenced Conservation Hunters.

    So, after over 100 years of managing (researching, trapping, shooting, spotlighting, baiting probably) Deer in the RNP and Illawarra the Deer have not been eradicated. Professionals have been used for an extended period of time. The Deer problem remains. This serves as another example as to how large the feral animal problem is. Conservation Hunters accept this as a fact of life. Our only hope is for assisting in controlling feral animal populations.

    Conservation Hunting is an additional resource to add on top of other Management Programs it is not a replacement and we do not claim to be able to eradicate feral animals. This may be the political mantra of one party but does not meet the commons sense test.

    An analogy could be made with fire fighting, which includes professional and volunteers with expertise who do not deserve to be called amateurs. The same applies to R Licenced Conservation Hunters.

    Those who chose to malign the Game Council on the total animals culled should attempt to research the same for NPWS. I do not think numbers are recorded and / or made public. Why would that be?

    I would estimate the current result for Deer could be 400 on State Forest with 15,000 on private land.

    Using the same costing per Deer this calculates to $4,743,200 for a professional bill to remove just wild deer on SF and private land. NPWS costs would have to be added for a total annual estimate for professionally managing wild deer. Then add fox, rabbit, hare, and pig, goat and hybrid wild dogs. Not to mention camel and donkey.

    Feral animals are characteristically mobile, widespread, evasive, destructive and in very large numbers.

  24. Wow, talk about interesting timing. A man was shot two days ago in Victoria while hunting in a State Forest. Thankfully he was only hit in the leg. So much for all the comments about how safe hunting is! In this case it seems a ricochet was to blame. It doesn’t matter how good a shot you are, if you’re bullet deflects people anyone nearby could be at risk.

    AN 18-YEAR-OLD man is in a stable condition after he was shot in the leg near Gisborne earlier today.
    An Ambulance Victoria spokesman said the man was struck while hunting in the Wombat State Forest around 3pm.
    Ambulance crews treated the man at the Goode and Hamilton Streets intersection, Gisborne, following the incident.
    The spokesman said the bullet was believed to have ricocheted off something before hitting the man in the leg.
    The 18-year-old was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital by road ambulance.
    http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/news/local/news/health/man-shot-while-hunting-in-wombat-state-forest/2586465.aspx

    • Glenn, thanks for the feedback. Great to see people like you from outside NSW taking a stand on this too.
      I don’t mind missing out on a few Christmas cards, especially if it means restricting / rolling-back this law and potentially saving the lives of bushwalkers or other park users who, if NZ is anything to go by, will potentially be the victims of it.
      Hopefully you climbers will be far enough up the crags to be out of the firing line!

  25. EDITOR COMMENT: The second comment in response to the post on http://www.shooting.com.au to “flood this guys site from hunters”. FYI, the Game Council of NSW records that hunters remove less than 10,000 rabbits a year from State Forests, and less than 15,000 feral animals in total:

    “The rabbit population in Australia numbers in the millions yet less than 10,000 are removed annually from licensed recreational hunting.”

    Are you nuts – where the hell do you get crap stats like that from – I can tell you that if I got together 10 hunting mates and compared hunting rabbit numbers alone we would come up with close that figure alone. As if only 10,000.
    10 million and you might be closer to the mark.

  26. EDITOR COMMENT: The third comment in response to the post on http://www.shooting.com.au to “flood this guys site from hunters”. Thanks for sharing the hunters code. We certainly hope all hunters will abide by it. Unfortunately experiences interstate and overseas tell us a small number will not, and they are the ones we are particularly worried about:

    Potentially is not Certainly. When will you people realise that hunters are to obey a clean humane kill. We do not race around in jeeps like the Jurrasic Park 2 senario but the non-fictional hunters *real for the miss-informed* stalk our ‘certain’ target. This ruling can be found on SSAA’s site, but for the lazy i’ll post it below; http://www.ssaa.org.au/hunting/the-hunters-code.html
    1. I will consider myself an invited guest of the land holder, seeking his or her permission, and so conducting myself that I may be welcome in the future.
    2. I will obey the rules of safe gun-handling and courteously but firmly insist that others who hunt with me do the same.
    3. I will obey all game laws and regulations and will insist that my companions do likewise.
    4. I will do my best to acquire those marksmanship and hunting skills which assure clean, sportsmanlike kills.
    5. I will support conservation efforts that can support sustainability for future generations of Australians.
    6. I will pass along the attitudes and skills essential to ensuring long term sustainability of Australia’s natural and cultural heritage.

  27. Jesus now this is so narrow minded its almost as bad as a Homophobia and Racism . Be upset about the power grid being sold. Hunters regardless weather they are shooters or Archers should be able to use national parks just like everybody else. There are rules and conditions placed on them that they must adhere too. What rules and conditions are placed on Cayoners. It makes me sick that people want to live and enjoy what is a hedonistic sport feel that they have the to remove or stop some one else from doing an activity that they enjoy people get shot people get into car crashes and people loose their lives canyoning . People also die because they cant get enough food or basic health service. This is a little problem for little people as their are far far worse problems out there then this

  28. EDITOR COMMENT: Fifth person to comment in response to the post on http://www.shooting.com.au to “flood this guys site from hunters”. P.S. I’m absolutely blown away that people with the time and money to run around the 80% of the state where they can already legally hunt feel so persecuted because people might suggest there are small patches of the state (NP’s cover less than 8%) that for environmental and public safety reasons they probably shouldn’t be allowed in to with guns:

    Nice stereotyping of hunters, Tim. Imagine what would happen if you applied the same stereotyping to Australians of any particular religion or ethnicity. Stereotyping is bigotry. No doubt you have justifications for your bigotry, because that’s what bigots do. They justify their ideology.
    Below is a link to a study performed by The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. The study clearly demonstrates that hunting is nowhere near as dangerous as you would have your readers believe. Over the last ten years, hunting & shooting has resulted in FAR LESS DEATHS than other recreational activities such as boating & horseriding:

    http://tinyurl.com/7xrqey3

    • Tony,
      That report does make for some very interesting reading. It finds that:
      “Between 1 July 2000 and 1st August 2010 there were 1473 external cause deaths while the deceased was undertaking sporting-relating activities identified on the NCIS.
      Of these 1473 fatalities, 22 involved a Target Sport, with 13 of these deaths relating to an unintentional shooting incident. An additional 12 fatalities involving an unintentional shooting event during a leisure/hunting activity were identified where the activity had not been coded as occurring during a ‘Sport’.”
      It also includes the disclaimer that “due to occasional coding errors, some missing data, and some cases not being closed it is possible that there are relevant deaths not included in this data set.”
      So a reported funded by a hunting organisation found that at least 25 deaths, or more than two a year, are caused by “unintentional shooting”.

      • I’ve read the report, I’m aware of what it states. Just like every study of this nature, there is room for error allowed. Where it states:

        “Due to occasional coding errors, some missing data, and some cases not being closed it is possible that there are relevant deaths not included in this data set.”

        This applies to ALL THE FIGURES, not just shooting/hunting related figures.

        And predictably, you’re casting doubt on the veracity of the study because it was commissioned by the N.S.W Game Council. As stated, the study was CONDUCTED by The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. They are an extremely reliable statutory authority with a well deserved reputation for collating accurate data. Even the Australian Justice System relies on them for information. VIoFM also works with The International Committee of the Red Cross, The World Health Organization, UNICEF & several other very highly regarded international organizations.

  29. Hunting in National Parks must increase risk to users, as will any increase in patronage. Of course shooting a gun carries risk to other park patrons, but I don’t see these hunters as a bunch of gun toting loonies either, and surely increased patronage will mean increased funding, roads ,tracks and camping facilities? If they shoot thousands of feral animals that’s a good thing too. Risk is everywhere and I don’t know that the risk here is any greater than we face on the roads each day. For the record I don’t have a gun or license, but I am interested in shooting.

  30. EDITOR COMMENT: Comment seven thanks to http://www.shooting.com.au urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”.
    Sam, if you read the rest of the site you’ll see we have quite a few other hobbies!

    what a bunch of nimby’s.
    get your own hobbies rather than trying to stop other people’s.
    so much for a free country..

  31. fair call tim, but there’s no reason both hobbies can be performed side by side.
    you’d be far, far more likely to get hit by a car getting to the national park, than get shot once you get there!
    the breeding populations of feral animals in national parks make control methods for the surrounding area very hard.
    any attempt to curb that is a good one imo.
    apart from the hunters code, the consequences for injuring someone whilst hunting are so severe you are DAMN sure of what you are shooting at, and what is behind what you are shooting at, before you even think about squeezing that trigger.

    imagine if the slightest mishap during canyoning caused your whole camping party to be banned for life.. that is what the hunters will face.

    • Sam, what Tim apparently fails to understand is that the politicians who seek to ban hunting and shooting also seek to ban many other recreational activities in National Parks. Ultimately they would like to close Australia’s bushland to almost anyone who would like to enjoy our great outdoors.

  32. EDITOR COMMENT: Visitor number nine from http://www.shooting.com.au after being urged to “flood this guys site from hunters”:

    G’day mate, name calling really isn’t the mature way to deal with an “issue”. I do not make generalisations about other people because of their hobbies, so as a shooter I don’t expect people to make generalisations about me. It’s unfair and not called for. I hunt responsibly and am an honest person that respects other people property and opinions.
    I don’t agree with things such as push bikes riding on busy roads however I still don’t resort to name calling and such purely because somebody chooses this as their hobby.

      • As per my much earlier comment, I believe people who come here representing a particular group or organisation should disclose it. Where they do not, I simply include it so people have that information when reading it.

      • Oh sorry I didn’t disclose that earlier, I should probably let you know that I am also a member of the Nissan forum and I also actively hike as well. Just in case that makes a difference as well.

      • When people from the Nissan forum write a post saying “lets flood his posts and show him who really is the red neck loonie – him!!” I’ll expect that disclosure! 😉

      • Tim your complaints about disclosure are simply a straw-man argument of epic proportions. How about you focus on the debate at hand?

  33. EDITOR COMMENT: And this brings us to eleven the number of visitors from http://www.shooting.com.au after their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”:

    This piece is so full of ill informed opinion and factual errors it is hard to know where to start. Never the less, although I know I am unlikely to change the opinions of those who subscribe to this site, I feel compelled to try.

    Firstly, the legislation simply enables qualified, licensed and insured volunteers to suppliment the efforts of those who are currently undertaking this necessary task for money.
    The term professional is often used but there are very few professional shooters as there is not enough work around to make a living from it. So we have two individuals of equal competence, both operating to the same codes of practice and operating instructons, only one is paid and the other is not. Vlunteer hunters will not be given the keys to the gates.

    This trained volunteer model works for bush fires and weed control, why not feral animals? This trained volunteer model works in National Parks elsewhere and has worked in NSW state forests without incident for 8 years. That is a remarkably long sequence statistically if the situation is as dire as you claim.

    Secondly, the scare mongering about the safety of other bush users quote unfortunate examples of firearm related fatalities elsewhere. Ignoring the obvious that ferals choose not to hang out at popular bushwalking spots, or that shooting already occurs and therefore the risk profile to walkers is unchanged by this legislation, the NCIS statistics from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine show that there were more deaths in Australia 2000 – 2010 from bushwalking (37) than there were from all target related sports (22). Now it must be said that the target related sport category includes such outragious sorts as darts, biliards and lawn bowls, but I digress. The fact is that bushwalking is more dangerous than shooting. Period.

    I could go on. The visitation numbers quoted are heavily skewed towards the tourist hotspots around ski fields, etc, yet you write as though every square metre of all NP’s are equally popular. Foresters know exactly when a hunter is present as the hunter is compelled to register on line before attending, and carry written proof that they have done so whilst hunting.

    As you quite righly point out, controlling ferals is a whole of landscape issue, and it makes no sense to exclue the national park estate from the efforts being applied on the other side of the fence. The current land managers are either unable or unwilling to do the job required; it is time for a new pradigm to be given a chance. The alternatives are to do nothing or to indisciminatey poison, both of which are untennable. You might not like it, but it is necessary.

    No doubt there will be counter claim and arguement posted attempting to discredit what I have written. Let me leave you with one final observation. You can thank John Howard for this situation coming about. Had he not set out to demonise all firearm owners after Port Arthur, shooters would not have sought political representation to help address the imbalance. Now that shooters have political representation, and the numbers are increasing year on year, then you can bet your lattes that they will not be seeking landrights for gay whales. Get used to it.

  34. EDITOR COMMENT: This is visitor twelve from http://www.shooting.com.au after their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”:

    So hunters have “only” removed 14,161 feral animals from our bush last year. How many did YOU remove? At least these individuals are making an effort, not creating a hindrance to a valiant attempt to save our bushland.

  35. EDITOR COMMENT: Visitor thirteen from http://www.shooting.com.au. Worth a read given it essentially backs up one of our key concerns, with Dom writing “Knowone (sic) in their (sic) right minds could argue that their (sic) isn’t an increased risk of someone getting shot”:

    I would refer to you as greenies but that would be inappropriate as a person who is for native flora would have to be against introduced pests eating this flora I wouldn’t call you an animal activist as an animal activist would be fore protecting our native animals against introduced Pests. We will refer as anti hunters!! Hunters may not be the most effective way to reduce pests but the fact that they are reducing numbers has to count for something! If the states natural habitats funding were to be divided evenly on size the government would not be able to effectively reduce these numbers by so called approved methods. Its all good and well saying a helicopter will shoot 200 pigs in a day but how many days would this need to impact on numbers and what cost? hunters are doing this off their own back and are bringing money to the local areas food fuel etc it would be food if we could gamble with this land as it would be interesting to see the parks that haven’t got the shooters in compared to the ones that do in 10 years after the same professional expenditure has been spent per acre of land I feel as though the parks that you have been protecting will be the ones you won’t use due to the amount of wild dogs and the lack of australian wildlife. People have grown up with the tradition of hunting with their fathers and their fathers and this has been going on since first settlement and you want to reduce their right because you stereo type them as rednecks!! Knowone in their right minds could argue that their isn’t an increased risk of someone getting shot but you are way more likely to die in a car accident etc on the way to the park! I plead for you to be not anti hunting but focus your energy to anti invasive feral species so that we can all enjoy the parks the way they were meant to be!!

  36. EDITOR COMMENT: Visitor fourteen from http://www.shooting.com.au responding to their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”:

    Millions of dollars spent on helicopters that scare the crap out of all animals, to kill feral animals. I know that the helo shooters are good, but who checks to ensure that the animal is truely dead?
    The amatuer hunters will do so, and at their own cost. Law Abiding Firearm Owners have been taught for many, many decades, to know their target before taking a shot.

  37. Visitor 13 from shooting.com.au, beat you to it 😉

    I have no intention to come here and make you out to be a “redneck loonie” nor do i agree to that call on the site.

    I’m here to express my opinion that I agree with the recent changes and that I look forward to obtaining an R licence and travelling to, and hunting areas of NSW that I would otherwise not see, and buying goods and petrol from small towns and communities and injecting some income into their economies. I can only hope QLD parliament considers similarly opening up our State Forests and National Park to hunting.

    One thing I would suggest to “green” party supporters, watch some NSW parliament sessions sometime ( i watched online as this bill was being presented for ammendments) and see how your party leaders are representing your vote. You’ll see the ill prepared ammendments to bills like this, you’ll see them stumble over their words and fail to produce rational arguments, you’ll see how the rest of the chamber erupts in laughter! By electing these people to parliament you had lost this fight even before it began.

    • Nicely done Sean! Thanks for the disclosure, and the sensible debate.
      Given your approach I’ll happily go to the effort to respond to a few points. Firstly, I think you will find very few of the people opposing hunting in National Parks are Greens Party members or supporters. I’m sure the Greens would be very happy if all 35 million visitors to NSW NP’s each year were supporters of the party, the reality is that bushwalkers, canyoners and other park users come from all areas, backgrounds and persuasions. From what I can tell from those I have spoken to, very few are “anti-hunting” or “anti-shooting”, most simply believe that it is a dangerous pursuit that is not appropriate in the environmentally sensitive public land that makes up our national park estate. Given more than 90% of the state is already open to hunters (through private land and state forests), there is no imperative to open up the relatively small amount of land national parks cover to recreational shooters, especially as the experiences of interstate and overseas are that it is a matter of when, not if, an accident will occur.
      I didn’t see the full debate unfortunately, and it would be sad to think any MP would be lacking preparation for important legislation like this. Although given the only MP I have spoken to and met with to discuss this is my local Liberal MP, I’m more concerned about his efforts. Thankfully he has indicated a willingness to raise a number of important points with the minister and inside the party room regarding the regulation of this policy. He well understands the political risk the government is taking, and knows there could be a massive backlash if we do see an innocent park user killed by a stray bullet.
      I think you will find most people opposed to this policy, rather than worrying about arguments on internet forums, are also putting their effort into more productive lobbying efforts like this.

      • Tim you seem to want to paint a picture of The Greens as having a reasonable, level-headed approach to legal firearm ownership & hunting…

        David Shoebridge:
        http://davidshoebridge.org.au/tag/firearms/
        http://davidshoebridge.org.au/tag/game-council/page/2/
        http://davidshoebridge.org.au/tag/firearms/page/3/

        If you take a look at the above links, you’ll see Shoebridge usually attempts to link firearm crime with legal firearm ownership, but NEVER makes any mention of going after the organized crime gangs who perpetrate the crimes. He has a long history of having a protectionist attitude towards criminals.

        Lee Rhiannon:
        http://lee-rhiannon.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/federal-firearm-reform-needed-reign-nsw-gun-culture-greens
        http://lee-rhiannon.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/major-parties-baulk-national-gun-reform-fail-condemn-shooting-nsw-national-pa

        Both Shoebridge & Rhiannon have strong ties to socialist movements. Rhiannon is widely believed to have formed the very secretive National Coalition for Gun Control with her good friend & self-proclaimed “gun expert” Samantha Lee. NCGC are widely known among Australia’s political & legal world as having a totalitarian, evangelistic approach to the issue of firearm ownership. In a word, they are extremists.

        Penny Wright is another Green with oppressive opinions toward hunting, there are several others.

        One of the issues I find most disturbing about The Greens is their willingness to use a combination of taxpayer’s funds & chequebook journalism to whip the public into an emotional frenzy. They indulge in this practice when they don’t have facts to back their claims, as we have seen in regard to the issue of hunting in National Parks.

        I’m bowing out of this debate now, but before I do I’ll ask you to consider one thing: Do as I did, and many other people have done, and take a look into The Greens before you vote for them again. Many voters are realizing that they are simply not fit to run this country.

      • Tony,
        You clearly haven’t read / have no interest in reading what I have written, or the other comments here. I have just searched this whole page, and I can tell you that the only people who have even mentioned the greens are hunters. It seems strange, like perhaps you are the ones with some greens obsession. I have made no comment about the greens policy on firearm ownership or hunting. I have not suggested people vote for anyone.
        You also obviously don’t understand the term “chequebook journalism” (FYI, it refers to media outlets paying sources for stories).
        As for having facts to back up your claims, there is a wealth of information that has been shared in this post showing that overseas / interstate experience is that there are risks to public safety posed by hunting in national parks and there is no evidence that recreational hunting has done anything to reduce feral animal numbers on public land (in fact there is evidence suggesting the opposite).
        What the comments of hunters like yourself have also shown is that many hunters genuinely believe they should be able to use whatever firearms they want, wherever they want. This is very worrying as it confirms our concern that the 79 National Parks currently being opened up to hunting are just the beginning and that many hunters will not be happy until all public land is available for their use.

  38. @ Tim Vollmer… when I use my assault rifle, as a soldier, to fight the Taliban, you hail me hero, when I use my pistol, as a Police Officer, to fight violent criminals, you hail me a savior. But when I use my old bolt-action to shoot feral animals, you brand me a Redneck (a racist term, by the way). You’re not a nice person, Tim.

  39. EDITOR COMMENT: Comment 18 from the good folks at http://www.shooting.com.au responding to their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”. FYI, I would appreciate if you guys would read my post before commenting. No one has mentioned anything about cruelty to animals, either in the post, or the comments. I’m not sure who / what you are trying to respond to, but it clearly isn’t anything from this site!

    I’m really not too sure how you will go with your opposition to hunting in National Parks. All of the news poll that I have seen regarding this matter have shown numbers of up to %95 for it. Not only are you and the Greens out of touch with “main stream” Australia, but you also seem to go against the whole idea of not being cruel to animals by being so anti hunter. Feral Animals need to be controlled and, or, eradicated by preferably the most humane way possible. Can you tell me which would be the most humane ?? A 100grain projectile traveling at 3000 feet per second for an instant kill, or, as quoted from Animal liberation website “Death by 1080 is protracted and cruel. Animals poisoned with 1080 scream, vomit, defecate and suffer violent seizures. They die with a final seizure up to 12 hours after ingestion of the poison. The late Dr Peter Rawlinson, Conservationist and Lecturer in Zoology at La Trobe University, Melbourne said of 1080: ‘Animals can take up to four days to die from it. Others go out of control after they have ingested it – they tear around banging into trees. It is impossible to say the animal is not suffering.’ EEGs on poisoned animals have produced results consistent with intense pain and distress”.
    I am a hunter and I can assure you that I do not like and do not tolerate cruelty. Do not label me a redneck or accuse me of being cruel to animals. I am neither. But can you and others like you say the same when you turn a blind eye to poisoning ??

  40. By being Anti hunter you leave fewer avenues of animal control. Probably the cheapest and easiest way is poisoning with 1080. You succeed in preventing hunting in National Parks or anywhere else for that matter, you cause a great deal of pain and suffering to countless animals, as well as killing many non target and native animals.

  41. I would also suggest that you do a little research yourself before you make statements in you original “article” above. I quote
    “It is also important to remember that National Parks were created for two reason: for the protection of some of our most significant natural areas and for the enjoyment and recreation of the people of NSW. At no point during the conception, creation or ongoing development of our national park system has the provision of public lands for hunters to roam with an arsenal of deadly weapons been a guiding principle.”
    I also quote from the environment.nsw.gov.au website on the history of national parks and the reasons, other that the two you claim, for their creation.
    Again I quote, “Military exercises were carried out in the park and deer, rabbits and foxes were introduced for sport. They still live in the park, and are serious pests”
    Google is your friend.

    • Perhaps you should practice your google skills. Your comment is for one park, the Royal National Park, and relates to its creation in 1879. It was a very different time (aboriginals and women couldn’t vote for starters) and its creation was for very different reason. In fact in the early days logging was also done there, native plants were replaced by introduced trees and gardens, mudflats and mangroves were removed for grassed lawns, and feral animals such as deer, rabbits and foxes were deliberately released to provide sport for English gentlemen. Thankfully, times have changed, although farmers still suffer millions of dollars worth of damage because of the mistakes made there!
      My article, on the other hand, refers to the modern national park system, formalised through the 60’s and 70’s. This modern system, under which the other 800 parks managed by the NPWS were created, never included hunting or military exercises.

  42. Another person from the shooting forum here.

    Stats aren’t really helping you here Tim. Seems to me that after all your numbers are looked at, the following is very plain:

    1. R license hunters are removing feral animals.
    2. Isn’t costing the taxpayer much.
    3. The threat these hunters pose to people in the forests is microscopic – and if anyone is likely to get hurt its actually other hunters who have taken and accepted the risk. Funny that you didn’t get your statistic-fu going here but went to anecdote. Noted.

    I think at the end of the day you’re mostly going on feelings and emotions mate. You feel like its a bad idea, and you’re picking up any rhetorical or statistical device handy to help you. I think a bit of honest introspection will lead you to the same conclusion. It’s alright to say “well, I just dont like it”.

    Cheers,

    Joshua

  43. What the hunters who have posted here are failing to grasp is this:

    If someone goes bushwalking or canyoning in a national park, they pose no threat to the safety of other users of the park. If they happen to walk off a cliff or drown in a canyon then they are the only person at fault and they are the only person hurt. They also pose no threat to the native animals of the park.

    But if someone goes hunting in a national park, they do pose a threat to the safety of other users, and if they do hurt someone then the person who was injured is a victim of someone else’s error.

    Some of you used the example of how you are more likely to get killed driving to the park than you are getting shot in it. Well if you allow shooting in the park then not only are you at risk on the way there, you are also at risk of getting shot when you enter the park. This means your your overall chances of getting hurt on a trip are increased.

    I am all for allowing hunting in places other than national parks and would even go myself if I was given the opportunity. I think in our modern age it is good for us to get involved with our food supply and see how people used to live. Just not in our national parks.

    Here is a question for the hunters: If you go into a park to hunt, will you be going there to hunt to get your kicks or for conservation? I feel it’s much more of the former than the latter and I am guessing by most of your comments about greens supporters that you probably don’t care for conservation at all.

    The motto of bushwalkers and canyoners is ‘take only pictures and leave only footprints’. Do you think hunters would adhere to this? I highly doubt it.

    • I can only speak for myself and those I hunt with, but I can assure you it is definately for the environment. Only a non-hunter believes that we do it for the thrill of the kill. The kill is a necessary consequence of a hunt, just like fishing. No one would seriously suggest that people fish just for the thrill of shoving a sharp hook into a fish’s mouth would they??

      I and my volunteer hunting group perform pest management services over approx 10,000 acres of private conservation reserve. We specifically target the larger slower breeding animals that are most susceptible to shooting. Other volunteers target the quick breeding animals such as rabbits with poison, whilst others cultivate seedlings, etc. We play a part in an overall management plan which leverages our unique skills.

      We get our kicks through a job well done, being part of a team, and doing something practical for the environment. A quick clean kill, once you accept the basic premise that something needs to be done, is a far better outcome than poison and for that we feel a sense of pride. We play by the rules and we are very, very safety conscious. By the way we are also senior white collar professionals with 2 PhD’s and several other professional qualifications amongst us.

      As you point out, canyoners only take whilst hunters give. We give our time and resources to leave parks in a better state than when we arrived. If more park users took up a contributory use philosophy rather than just exploited our natural places, society would be better off.

    • EDITOR COMMENT: Another visit from the good folks at http://www.shooting.com.au responding to their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”. Craig, if you look through our site you’ll see we spend most of our time in the low use areas. A perfect trip is one where we can walk for a week, not see a road or track, and ideally not see any signs of people.

      Interesting last comment, about bushwalkers leaving only footprints. Other than the erosion caused on well used tracks due to those footprints what do bushwalkers do for the environment. Hunters on the other hand remove introduced pests and have environmental benefit.
      You also seen to believe that hunting will be permitted in high use areas. There have been no details released, but I think hunting will be in areas of very low use. There are large areas of national parks where there are as good as no visitors, as there are no tracks or roads.

    • I have spent my weekend dreging a freezing dam with a grapelling hook,trying to recover the body of a bush walker who forgot the bushwalkers motto.
      So on occasions they do impact and endanger others.

    • Yes they do pose a risk, A bush walker lost , injured or dead, Someone has to do the recovery, Others selflessly put themselves at risk in these cases.
      Your paved Bush walking tracks do have an effect on the Environment.
      Guess you didn’t think about these things
      Sounds like a selfish brat to me

  44. Daniel, I’ve done a bit of canyoning, and I’ve done a fair bit of bushwalking. I’m also a cross-country skiier. And I compete in Nordic Biathlon (google it). AND I’ve also done a bit of Search And Rescue work when canyoners and bushwalkers have managed to get themselves into strife, placing the welfare of others at risk. So your thesis that canyoners and bushwalkers don’t endanger others, doesn’t really hold up. Of course we could ignore the please for help from your distressed family, or turn a deaf ear to the incessant beeping of your PLB, but that wouldn’t be ethical or humane, would it? See? Even “bloodthirsty rednecks” (Tim Vollmer’s racist view of hunters) have ethics and a degree of humanity.

  45. Daniel, as Leo says, rescuers are put at risk by people that choose to pursue any type of risky activity, so to claim that you nobody at risk but yourself is clearly not accurate. As for no threat to animals in the park, I’m sure there are many walkers, canyoners etc that have disturbed and or destroyed native flora and fauna during their activities.Hunters too leave footprints and take photos, but we also take away the threat that feral animals pose to the wildlife that we all enjoy seeing while out on either of our pursuits.

  46. I’m confused here- lawful, honest hunters (from what postings I’ve read here) state that they’re performing an environmental service when hunting on declared public land, a fair enough and valid comment. However, why is there a closed season and bag limits on the hunting of several deer species then? Isn’t this to help perpetuate deer numbers so that they can be hunted forever- to me this seems to be at odds with anyone trying to claim that they do public land a service by hunting deer. Deer are spreading far and wide across NSW and causing localised intense damage to natural protected areas.

    • No. The closed seasons are there on welfare grounds to ensure that females with young at foot are not shot before the young are old enough to be independent.

  47. Ross .., I think you would find that hunters would be happy hunt Deer all year round. The season and bag limits you refer to are for 4 of 7 species of deer found in NSW and, from what I can gather, the restrictions are placed by the govt/game council for whatever reason, not the hunters.

    • Yes, in NSW bag limits on deer are set by the Game Council, however this is not some independent government body. The Game Council is the hunters. It was set up thanks to the Shooters Party. Its entire board are hunting representatives. Its former head is now a Shooters Party MP.
      Interestingly the Australian Deer Association (which represents deer hunters) is pretty open with its happiness that deer species are spreading, highlights that more than 100 new breeding colonies have been set up — many by deliberate, illegal seeding by hunters — and laments any effort to eradicate deer. Just one quote from their website: “Unfortunately the Australian way has been to class wildlife either as vermin to be eradicated or as sacred native wildlife to be looked at but not interfered with in any way.”

  48. EDITOR COMMENT: Another visitor from the good folks at http://www.shooting.com.au responding to their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”. As per a previous comment, I’d simply suggest you read the article above. We don’t advocate feral animals being ‘uncontrolled’. Amazingly our modern national park system has managed to last about 50 years without recreational hunters, yet there are far fewer pests than what you find in neighbouring lands.

    If hunters are stoped from shooting feral animals in national parks or other areas there may not be any parks left in the future for you and l to injoy. Have you seen the damage they do if uncontrolled ?

  49. Disclosure: I am on the no-hunting in NSW National Parks side.

    The absolute core issue in this debate is the claim that feral and game animal populations will be reduce if recreational hunting is allowed in NSW National Parks. This is the primary reason being pushed by the shooters Party MP’s Robert Brown and Robert Borsak, NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell and minister for the environment Robyn Parker and many of the posters on this blog.

    There are a lot people that will be affected by recreational hunting being allowed in NSW National Parks and I think we have the right to question the claim that feral and game animal populations will be reduced when recreational hunting is allowed in NSW National Parks.

    I have recently spent a lot of time researching the feral animal problem and if recreational hunting is an effective way to control and/or reduce feral animals and all of the research suggests it is not, The claim that recreational hunting can reduce feral animal populations is a MYTH, especially the Game councils of NSW hunting model, so far not one pro-hunting poster on this blog has produced any actual evidence that it recreational hunting is effective, my challenge to the hunters is try and find some factual evidence that proves me wrong.

    There are claims of economic benefits if hunting is allowed in NSW National Parks, I am struggling to work this one out, as the NSW Minister for the Environment has clearly stated that the National Parks will be closed to all other users when recreational hunting is going on. There would be many more other park users than hunters locked out of these National Parks don’t these other park users spend money??? and probably much more than a few hunters.

    As for the poster who claims that the polls say 95% of the public are in favour of allowing hunting in NSW National Parks could you please post links to these polls as I am unable to find them, the one I could find is this one http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/premiers-park-hunting-backdown-the-price-of-power-sale-20120530-1ziik.html the results were, for hunting, 24%, against hunting, 71% and undecided 5%, I am not sure how you read these result but I would say this poll suggest that most people are against allowing hunting in the parks.

    One thing for sure, allowing recreational hunting in NSW National Parks has put recreational hunting in the spotlight like never before and you better get used to this extra attention as there are a lot of people and organizations out there that will be looking very closely at the whole recreational hunting scene.

    Recreational hunting is claimed as a legitimate sport, why are the public unable to read most of the posts on the shooting/hunting forums, are the hunting forum scared of being flooded with non hunting comments.

    • You state that, “The claim that recreational hunting can reduce feral animal populations is a MYTH”. How can killing pest animals not reduce their population. One example is in Victoria where hunters kill 40,000 Sambar deer a year in national parks and state forests. How can doing nothing help our native animals and environment.

      • Craig, this has already been covered off extensively much higher up in the debate. Please take the time to read before commenting. I will however give you a quick recap:
        1) Feral animals breed very fast, with many species deliberately producing more offspring than the habitat can sustain. Where a small number of animals are killed, that simply results in more food being available for these doomed youngsters, allowing them to survive to adulthood.
        2) The science is that for many species more than 50% of animals need to be killed in a year to reduce populations. For some species, this figure is higher.
        3) Recreational hunters in NSW state forests took less than 1% of feral animals, according to the Game Council. As per above, this is too small to have any impact on populations.
        Re your deer questions, these were introduced into Victoria in the 1870’s, and have been hunted for 140 years, yet the number of deer populations is growing, not shrinking. This is because the number of animals hunted is less than the number that would need to be removed to reduce these pests. Basically recreational hunters are ‘farming’ feral animals, taking a number that is proportionally so low that it allows feral animal populations to remain and grow.

  50. Hi Craig,

    Thanks for you question.

    I know what you are trying to say but when you look at numbers can tell a different story.

    According to what I can find out Sambar deer can have an annual rate population growth of 55% and just to halt that population growth a 40% cull per year is needed.

    Finding an estimate of Sambar deer numbers in Victoria is not easy, I have read numbers from 43,000 to a million, obviously if 40,000 sambar deer are harvested pa, the estimate of 43,000 is a bit low, what I am reading is that the sambar deer numbers are increasing, for 40,000 sambar deer to be able to be harvested with no impact on numbers the population would have to be 100,000 plus, we can look at it in another way it is estimated that there could be 1-7.5 sambar deer per sq kilometre and the ANP is 646,000 sq kilometres in area.

    From these figures while removing 40,000 sambar deer from Victoria might look good and especially if the sambar deer numbers are in the low 100k’s it may have some impact but if the numbers are in the high 100k’s up near 1 million like I suspect, as you need a 40% per year cull rate just to halt growth it will have very little effect.

    BTW I found these figures on deer harvesting in Victoria
    2011
    Total deer harvested, 40,728 (estimate)
    Total sambar deer harvested, 34,000 (estimate)
    The total average season (all deer) harvest was 1.97 deer per game licence holder (95% CI = 1.57–2.48)

    Source for the deer number harvested
    Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail
    in Victoria: Results from surveys of Victorian
    game licence holders in 2009, 2010, 2011
    Andrew M. Gormley1 and John D. Turnbull2
    Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research
    Department of Sustainability and Environment
    Heidelberg, Victoria

  51. Great article Tim. I read it a couple of weeks ago and it’s good to see lots of discussion from different parties since.

    I’m opposed to the shooting proposal. I’m not from NSW, but I have enjoyed some hikes there. I’m concerned that shooting may result in the accidental shooting of others, hikers being one of concern (because I am a hiker). Most hikers have heard of a couple of the stories of these mishaps, and they are of great concern because of the obvious consequences to park shooting. I do some off-trail hiking, when appropriate (for the park, sustainabilty, safety), and the idea of people being in the same park, some distance away but armed and within shooting distance, seems crazy. Here in SA parks are closed for a week or so during management cullings (shootings), and it’s hard to imagine that it should be any other way.

  52. EDITOR COMMENT: Another visitor from the good folks at http://www.shooting.com.au responding to their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”.

    I am absolutely dumbfounded at the fact that all the intelligent people who wish to maintain a natural Australian environment are unable to see the distruction feral animals are inflicting on our beautiful country. if it wasn’t for hunters killing off pests our country would be overun and have far more extinct species. Rather than embarrassing yourselves by resorting to name calling you should do some background investigations and see just how much damage feral animals are doing. The list of feral animals is huge : pigs, dogs, cats, goats, cows, buffalo, camels, foxes, deer .. Etc.
    And as for pinning the blame on someone when a hunter kills someone, who do we blame when a child is killed by wild dogs or wild pigs?

    Reality is a lot different than what you see from your $80,000 four wheel drive.

  53. I was just reading some posts from http://www.shooting.com.au and found this really interesting comment from a QLD based hunter who goes by the name of Fleet1:

    “I regularly read on this site that the VAST MAJORITY of farmers will not let shooters ( other than friends) hunt on their land due to past experience with dangerous and destructive hunters.

    Should users of national parks be any less wary than landholders? If you yourself had the choice, would you feel safer hunting on private or public land?”

    Perhaps it would be worth having a detailed discussion with farmers and other rural landholders about their experiences with recreational hunters in NSW. If it is true that a “vast majority” of these people restrict hunting on their own land due to past bad experiences, it really doesn’t bode well for our National Parks!

    • Tim let us agree that there are dickheads in all pursuits and that often the actions of a few ruin it for others. Hunting is no different in that regard and in the past, before the laws were tightened, it was worse than it is now.
      Farmers are naturally worried about indemnity and liability risks arising through letting others onto thei land, which is why most hunting organisations have public liability insurance packaged as part of their membership fees.
      If we can turn heat into light (in the interests of an intellectual debate) I understand that most on here accept the need to do something about ferals, and most on here accept that shooting in some circumstances is acknowledged as the most effective and humane method for culling.
      The resistance appears to be coming from a fear of personal risk, and a percieved loss of amenity by other user groups. Both are fair and reasonable emotions amongst those with nothing other than gut feel to base their opinions on.
      I am here to tell you that the reality, from personal experience, is different to the perception. In 8 years of hunting in state forests I have interacted with 4 or 5 other user groups. Motor bike riders, 4wd clubs, local farmers driving through and other hunters. I have never met a bush walking, birding, canoeing or other adventure group in areas where I have hunted. This migh be different in other areas and the regulations need to factor that in, but you can not make a blanket statement about the incompatability of cohabitation in parks. The risks are minute, but they are there just like many other risks. Be careful about regulating risk out of our ives or you may well find that canyoning is next to face restrictions. How can you seek adventure through your own leusure pursuits and yet agitate for another form of adventure to be shut down? Short sighted or what?
      Addressing the issue of percieved lack of amenity amongst those who seek peace and quiet in the bush. Fair enough. I don’t like camping with the family and having a group next door play loud music, or talking late in the night, and so on, but that’s the nature of public places. In Victoria, where public land hunting has a long tradition, it is more widely accepted and different user groups quite happily share camping areas. This causes me to conclude that the perception issue is fueld by a historical preconceived notion of who should and shouldnt be using our parks. If a group of hunters were to camp in a NSW national park, and go out and hunt outside the park each day, I am guessing that your mob would still feel uncomfortable about the presence of firearms in the camp. True? Not a drama south of the border but a major issue in NSW. Why? Perception!
      All I can ask is that you consider the counter views offered here and not blindly object to something you obviously knnow very little about.

    • Don’t take one persons comments as gospel, here is one from the other side of the fence ..

      Had a call from a very pissed of farmer today to get back up there ASAP as he went to check cows last night and he found the biggest .fx he had seen sitting next to cow calfing. The foxe had eaten cows teats off. He chased the fox around the padlock trying to get rid of it but would only just go thorough fence and sit and look at him.

  54. EDITOR COMMENT: Another visitor from the good folks at http://www.shooting.com.au responding to their urge to “flood this guys site from hunters”.

    what an excellent photo you have on your site. a hunter with her bag of two FERAL pigs and a ute full of other ferals. i guess they cannot hunt or push out of there enviroment our native wildlife anymore hey. if you lived in the bush you would realise that the introduced feral animal problem in Australia is getting worse and worse and is slowly destroying our native animals so how about a bit of even handedness on your site. more hunters should be allowed to hunt under license these feral animals but also make it very strict and make it very hard on anyone who kills our native animals. geoff from brisbane

  55. Trying to portray the people who do not want hunting in NSW National Parks as anti feral animal control is a bit rich, especially coming from the hunting lobby who clearly have a vested interest in sustaining the feral animal population for the sport of hunting.

    Allowing hunting in NSW National Parks has put recreational hunting in the public spotlight like never before and if you read the daily news on hunting in NSW National Parks, it is becoming obvious that more of the public are starting to realise that recreational hunting or conservation hunting as it is often called is not the great native animal savior as the hunting lobby has tried to make it out to be, the no-hunting side are also starting realise that recreational hunting is actually responsible for the spread of feral animals and making the problem worse.

    Most people I know on the no-hunting in NSW National Parks side of the debate would love nothing more than to rid the National Parks of feral animals and are in full support of effective feral animal control but it is very obvious that the recreational hunting model that the Game Council uses just does not work.

    I suggest the people who read this blog, read the document (link below) about the fox bounty trial in Victoria, I especially found the results of the fox hunting trial on Phillip Island very interesting.

    http://redcard.net.au/doc/Fox_Bounty_Report_Vic_2003.pdf

    and listen to this interview with Andreas Glanzig, the CEO of the Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Council

    http://blogs.abc.net.au/nsw/2012/06/how-effective-is-shooting-feral-animals-.html

    I also like to add that I think your NSW MP Robert Brown is a perfect case for stricter gun laws, if the recreational hunting lobby wants to raise its profile it has to get rid of people like him.

  56. Geez,
    I hope none of you guys drive to state forests when you go canyoning!
    Do you know how dangerous that is? And how many people die each year from driving related incidents?
    Maybe you should ban driving while your at it….
    One of the main reasons hunters don’t shoot everything that moves is that the majority of pig, deer and goat hunters only take what they can eat and as much as hunters “just kill for the heck of it” most will only kill for meat and not waste the lives of other animals.
    While your at banning driving maybe you should go after people who fish. Just think about all those fish that die a slow painfull death….

  57. This article from NZ is exactly why we don’t want to see hunting in national parks.
    Alexander Cameron McDonald, 29, was shot dead by a fellow hunter who was standing less than 20m away on April 7 this year.
    The hunter, Christopher Dummer, 54, was the former president of the Wellington Deerstalkers’ Association and had been hunting for 26 years.
    It goes to show that no matter how experienced you are, firearms always pose a risk to other park users, and accidents — in this case deadly ones — can and will happen.
    The article contains some very sobering comments from the young man’s family.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10822685

    • Yes , a Very unfortunate accident , Accidents happen every day , yet they are not discussed in such a way as firearms have been. How many Pedestrians are killed each year by ” experienced motor vehicle drivers” ? I can GUARANTEE its a hell of a lot more than accidental death by firearm In the Australian national and state parks Combined, can you guarantee my safety if i walk down a foot path in Sydney ? YOU and I have a Much higher chance of being struck and killed by a car walking on a footpath in any Capitol city than being shot in a National park , so why don’t we see endless protests about this ? Is your enjoyment of walking a footpath Diminished knowing this? Is the risk assessment ,you know and take despite knowing a car could mount the gutter and take you and your family out whilst walking to the local park for a kick of the footy, going to deter you from still walking the path ?

  58. Frank’s right Tim,

    You create a far greater risk to any of us while you drive your car than a hunter does while hunting.

    And you know it!

    So all this debate isn’t really about mitigating risk to others is it?

    Because putting others at risk is fine if it’s something you do.

    Why don’t you man up and tell the truth about why you don’t want hunters in National Parks?

    Because it’s really all about you, and something in particular about you doesn’t like recreational hunting or recreational firearm use (or both).

    And if you don’t like it then no one should be allowed to do it.

    This is really all about you wanting to impose your values and morality on others.

    Rather than allowing others to just be different.

    Carefull, one day the majority may consider you to be different!

  59. I own farms near National parks, STate land and mine land in the Junter. We have major problems with wild dogs. We bait , but need to track the dogs back to where they breed, only licneced hunters go thru our property, most are current or ex Army, some SAS . We are very strict how all is undertaken and only outside our property during daylight hours.

    I would love some of your repsondants to come and see what the dogs do to our new born calfs.

    I am all for very strict controls with only fully trained shooters . We need baiting, aerial shooting and on foot shooting in an attempt to cull the dogs and pigs

  60. Just finished reading this rather lengthy debate and can’t resist having my two bobs worth.
    To start with it should be clarified that the issue here is DEER hunting in National Parks as in reality most shooters would not bother going to these parks just to shoot rabbits, foxes etc.
    On the question of controlling or reducing feral animal populations I must admit that shooting generally does not have a significant impact in some areas. Most of the deer shooters I know only take one or two meat animals each year and then specifically target trophy stags,meaning that they often encounter but don’t shoot at most of the animals they see. Personally I do not shoot other feral animals while deer shooting as I don’t wish to frighten off everything within a kilometre radius. In fact the reality is that very little shooting actually takes place at any time when deer hunting. My own average is less than one shot per trip and this is probably standard for all deer hunters. This perception that there are shots flying off in every direction when hunters are about is weird!!! If you want to put the risk of being shot into perspective imagine going into the bush with a rifle, close your eyes, then fire a shot with the intention of hitting a deer. It would be a million to one shot if you knew there was a deer there so you can make make up your own number for a random shot! The risk of being accidentally shot (for those not participating in hunting activities) is so miniscule it doesn’t warrant debate. End of story…
    On the question of who has a right to use the national parks Tim Vollmers inference is that bush walkers and canyoners come first and bugger everyone else. Who exactly do you think you are Tim. My own experience in areas that both shooters and walkers use in North East Victoria is that walkers should be on the protected species list. Despite hunting in some of the most pristine country with excellent walks over many years I have still not encountered any of all these bushwalkers that want the country to themselves. (Yes, there are areas where there are many bushwalkers on established walking tracks but why would anyone want to shoot in those areas) On the other hand I have often come across other shooters, fisherpersons and bike riders. So why exclude the group that has by far the highest participation rate for the benefit of a few. If you want to be fair about this Tim maybe you should find somewhere else to walk if you feel so threatened.
    It is a rather spurious argument to say that because shooters don’t control feral animal numbers then they should be banned! Really? Why? I would have thought that if they shot only one animal then its got to be better than the bushwalkers contribution.
    I mentioned earlier that shooting does not always reduce feral populations however there are exceptions. In recent years most of my hunting has been in the King Valley area in North East Victoria. As deer shooting has become more popular in recent times there has been a very significant reduction in the deer population to the extent that I no longer bother hunting in some of these areas. Furthermore I live only a few kilometres from the Warby Ranges. This area is a state park and no shooting is allowed. I do a bit of bushwalking in this area and have noticed that deer have recently moved into this area. Because of its proximity to Wangaratta and relatively confined area it would easily be “shot out”. This is obviously not going to happen and without other intervention deer will now be a permanent feature of this park. My argument here is that small parks close to large rural centres would definitely benefit from legalized shooting of large feral species.
    I am not advocating that shooting should be be allowed in all National Parks as some smaller parks are heavily patronized by non shooters and would definitely pose some threat. The Warby Ranges would fall into this category. Its really horses for courses. There’s enough room for all of us Tim and perhaps you just need to be a little considerate of everybody’s needs.

    • I’ve followed this debate on another blog and see very few attempts at compromise. What does seem to be the flow involves mostly people of no experience falling back to research.. anything to vaguely support a case. Rarely any attempt to then put such research into context (an indication of said ‘lack of practical experience’ ?).. That’s ok, we don’t have to all be hunters.

      Ive written before with the logical response to make recreational hunting more effective is to change the methodology. Even without choosing sides the effect on populations is not known (a modified approach may well be all that is needed to quell this (ineffectiveness) as a strong reason to prevent hunting).

      I held a shooters license in NSW for a decade, though a degree in environmental
      management and working within the park service. Having come from a farming background I’ve worked with people who would most certainly blindly support either side of the debate.. no progress other than argument, meanwhile politicians will make gravy of the turmoil..

      Looking to anecdotal evidence from my experience of ‘illegal’ fox hunting: the higher price rise for pelts through the 80’s the further afield ‘one’ would travel.. From 20/30 a night to 5/10 over a couple of years of personal observation. I’m not sure I could test this with analysis to make it look anything other than what it is. It may seem a crude example of population control but (unhindered by any regulation..spotlighting from a road is illegal) these hunters very much reduced population. Not calling for unregulated hunting here, just an example of (at ideals) a counter argument lies in the method.

      As I said previously, the issue doesn’t seem to be feral animals. While I’m sure many would be genuine in there concern for reducing numbers it seems to me that Fear is the most common (if mostly underlying) motivation. Is the fear unfounded ? of course not. Though I doubt it is considered in context, perhaps I would be more concerned if I still visited some of these reserves.. Maybe I’d renew my permit and go hunting. I wouldn’t consider my contribution to feral animal control.. That would be silly, I’d be out there looking for specific targets. I would prefer that all park users knew I was there and would prefer that these others viewed my contribution as at least as minimal as theirs (even bush walkers must have a net practical deficit on wilderness values). Im not sure, gauging by previous responses, whether this wont be picked apart. Aussies seem to like to identify with the bush but in such a remote urban way. It may seem similar to someone with practical experience but the rift becomes glaringly obvious in such debates.

      PS not a hunter, not a member of any related organization.

  61. I feel stupid saying this, but i only just learnt about this, the thing i find interesting is that prospecting, ie metal detecting of any kind, isnt allowed in National parks due to potential damage to wildlife etc. Every prospector i know is very careful not to impact the environment. But the government allows hunting? im just blown away by the stupidity of our politicians.

  62. I think you stupid cunts really need to do your research a bit better and not just pull any random photos out of your ass. I took this photo and it was on private property in which the pigs are destroying his live stock. And second thing does it look like we have used fire power there. Get ya facts straight or fuk of back to the city where you belong

    • Matthew, no need for the foul language mate. Nowhere does it say this photo was taken in a national park. I did make sure I found a photo taken in NSW, which this was. I only found it because you’d shared it online and on hunting magazine websites.
      I don’t think anyone has an issue with people hunting feral animals on private land — as long as they have permission and do so safely — but our concern is that same activity happening in public places used for passive recreation. I’m more than happy debate that with you, but I’d ask you to do so without the offensive language.

  63. Except that the “public” places won’t be “public” during any feral animal culling. The Parks in question will be closed to the public for the duration of the cull. You know this, but insist on using disinformation to further your selfish and, destructive to the environment, agenda. What is it with Leftards, Greentards, and bunny huggers that you have to lie all the time?

    FYI, if you have to lie to win an argument, you’ve already lost the argument.

  64. I just wish National Parks and Sate Forests ( and the mining companies) would stop the packs of feral dogs , some as big as Shetland ponies from coming out of their land and killing our calves. Wait until a bush walker or their children are attacked by one of these packs and the tone of the argument will change , not all who engage in the control of wild dogs who are also killing the native fauna can be tarred like many of these conversations are going, many are not balanced and I would suggest have never been to many areas they claim they may have trouble in.

  65. Perhaps some of the hunters who have commented on here can help identify these two blokes who were caught hunting in the World Heritage Listed Greater Blue Mountains on the weekend. Photo here: http://tinyurl.com/k8zrj4w

    On Saturday, a group of canyoners stumbled on the two men carrying riffles on the track to Tigersnake Canyon. It is just the latest of many examples of hunters jumping the gun after Premier Barry O’Farrell promised to allow hunting national parks.

    Just to be clear, even under the new system, these guys would be operating illegally. World Heritage Listed areas, like the greater Blue Mountains, are excluded. They’re also meant to have permits. Finally, they should be wearing ‘blaze orange’ safety gear.

    The issue all along with this proposal to allow hunting in National Parks is that a proportion of hunters will not follow the rules. Those ‘rogues’ then put the lives of themselves and other park users at risk. The fact that two men were wondering around an extremely popular canyoning area with loaded riffles is terrifying. Unfortunately, it’s a sight that will only become more common once hunting in parks formally begins.

    On a side note, how many people here would have been courageous enough to bail up two armed men, photograph them, and report them to police / NPWS / Game Council? I know I would have thought twice. Given that, I think it’s worth giving a big THANK YOU from all of us to the crew from High’n’Wild who caught these guys in the act. Good work!

    Personally, I don’t see any way that this hunting in National Parks policy can end well. Sooner or later someone will be injured or killed. I want to know I’ve done my bit to try and stop that.

    • Dressed in blue wearing sneakers and not worried about being photographed. Could they be National Parks professional pest controllers. The Vic parks has a history of using overseas contractors I suppose NSW NP does the same.

      • Craig, these guys were reported to Police and NPWS. NPWS had no idea who they were. By the time authorities had made it out there, the blokes had gone.

      • What did these people tell the photographer. By the photo they must have talked to them and they dont look worried being seen.

    • So we have to take your word that this photo was exactly where you said it was ? I have looked for Meta tags showing gps co ords – and does not show any at all – ?xpacket begin=”” id=”W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d”?>

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      • I have shared the photo link from Facebook. I think when you upload pics to Facebook it modifies it. You can see if on the High’n’Wild page where it was originally posted.
        https://www.facebook.com/pages/High-n-Wild/153302594731693
        Given it was a friend of someone I know who took the photo, and they have reported it to Police / NPWS / Game Council, I am confident of its veracity. I also know that track quite well, and it is identifiable from that photo.

    • Lookking at the un-pixellated image, we have two blokes of Asian appearance (Chinese, most likely).

      I have no facts to back it, but I’m wondering if they’re a couple of international tourists who don’t even know they aren’t supposed to be toting firearms in a National Park, or that the place they were in is a National Park?

      Their inappropriate clothing, casual stance and demeanour would seem to indicate so.

      They’re in trouble, and don’t even know it. The big question is, who loaned them the firearms and let them loose?

  66. Thanks for the reply Tim , as a responsible hunter i am shocked by this photo , i would love to see the original photo , especially if it was taken by hand held GPS as it will have the GPS Co ords embedded into image(verification) i also doubt these people are R Licence holders as its not possible at this stage to even book a hunt in NP’s and the fact they are not wearing blaze orange at all is another clear sign. so please don’t judge the responsible hunter based on people that have no regard to law .. they are a minority

  67. I’ve just found this site, and it’s an interesting conversation. Thought I might link to my recent blog post (http://uowblogs.com/ausccer/2013/06/12/redneck-barbaric-cashed-up-bogan-i-dont-think-so-hunting-and-nature-in-australia/) and a recent research paper (http://environmentalhumanities.org/arch/vol2/2.3.pdf) which explore some of these issues conceptually. I have not yet started to focus my research on hunting in national parks, but am planning to start that soon. There are obviously research needs around the effectiveness of conservation hunting in addressing feral animal impacts in NSW, but that won’t be me, I am not an ecologist. I am interested in the social side of this debate. Is there the potential for common ground? Are there benefits for particular communities/groups/individuals? Are there negative impacts for others? What are the best ways to implement and manage the program to address all these issues?

    • Michael, I think you might find it a bit hard to establish any common ground between to the two parties in this discussion (you couldn’t call it a debate, as one side, “the antis”, absolutely refuse to see reason). You only need look at the emotive rhetoric and wild and factually incorrect claims being thrown around, and you’ll see what I mean. Conservation hunting in carefully selected (not every park in the system, despite what the antis claim) National Parks won’t be a single solution to the parks being sanctuaries for feral and exotic species, but it can be a useful adjunct to other control measures. There are benefits to people/communities. Hunters will bring economic activity to the towns near the intended hunting location, the reduction in pest species will benefit primary producers adjoining the parks, the protected flora and fauna in the parks themselves will benefit, and the parks sysytem will benefit as the hunters will be another lobby group with an interest in preserving the parks for public use and not an extreme Green attitude of “lock out and look but don’t touch”.

      Do you know why beef cattle aren’t an endangered pecies, despite the fact we eat millions of them a year? It’s because they’re USEFUL to us. A National Park that is of no use to anyone (other than as an ideal for a misty-eyed urban Greenie) can’t hope to survive for very long.

      • Mate, NSW National Parks see something like 35 million visits a year. Sure, that includes lots of tourists and plenty of bushwalkers who visit multiple times (I probably account for 50+ visits each year) but I’d suggest that’s an indication that a lot of people see benefit in them. I’d also point out that feral animals are not very prevalent in most. Where they are it is usually areas where the ferals have moved in from neighbouring non-park areas (along rivers etc).
        Given more than 90% of the state is still available for development, farming, hunting etc, there’s plenty of us that are stoked a small amount is protected for its intrinsic environmental values and the opportunity for passive recreation in unspoilt landscapes!

      • Tim, thanks for proving my point to Michael.

        You want to lock National Parks away from everybody, except for “you & yours” and the feral and exotic species who use the parks as a safe haven. Meanwhile, those feral and exotic species are destroying the very flora and fauna you claim you want to protect. As always, the Green-Left position can’t withstand logical analysis.

        I don’t need to hunt in NPs, but where I do frequently hunt is close to a NP. Do you really think the feral pigs I hunt on my place are going to respect your boundary and not cross the river into the national park next door and do the same damage there?

      • Yep, clearly me and my mates are doing a lot of trips, given there are 35 million visitors a year yet we’ve apparently locked them up for only ourselves!
        And feral animals are a real issue, but one that should be addressed scientifically, with professionals, not haphazardly, with amateurs. I’m much more nervous about one of my kids being killed by a stray bullet than a stray pig. The stats from NZ, where hunting in parks occurs, suggest that is a very logical risk analysis.

      • So you go to all the parks, all the time? Were you aware that only SOME parks are slated for hunting, but feigning ignorance?

        Addressed scientifically; You think ballistics isn’t a science?

        What do you think makes a professional shooter any more accurate than an “amatuer” one? Here you are talking about science, them basing your “argument” on irrational and emotive clap-trap.

        FYI, the government trusts me with all kinds of firearms (I’m ‘offically’ a ‘marksman’) from Monday to Friday, but in your non-scientific and wooly-headed little world, I don’t measure up on Saturday and Sunday.

        Why would your child be at risk of a stray bullet, when the park would be closed to non-hunters during an assigned hunting period? Did you not know that, or are you feigning ignorance to further your emotive “argument”.

        FYI, you have to lie to win an argument, you’ve already lost.

        You wouldn’t know science and logic if they jumped up and bit you on the arse.

      • Tim Vollmer uttered this tripe ” I’m much more nervous about one of my kids being killed by a stray bullet than a stray pig. ” —end tripe – Tim you have far more chance of being shot in either sydney or melbourne by illegal gun owners / Gangs – are you just as nervous about this ? what are you doing to stop this? clearly your very outspoken about the national parks where you visit – but what about where you live – or is your soap box to large for you to carry out of the NP without assistance ?

  68. Given the hunters who like to pop on here and claim that the only people opposed to hunting are “greenies” and “lefties”, what do you say to the conservative rural folk around Oberon who are trying to get greater restrictions put on the current hunting system in State Forests?
    It seems they’re sick of people who identify as being licensed hunters wandering onto private land and even shooting from public roads. But of course, responsible hunters won’t do any of those things once they are allowed to hunt in National Parks…
    http://www.oberonreview.com.au/story/1585673/new-push-to-get-guns-out-of-local-forests/?cs=1495

    • If these people are indeed licensed, their licesnses should be revoked and they should be dealt with in accordance with the law.

      So-called bushwalkers have been responsible for starting bushfires in the past. Should we ban all bushwalkers because they might start another fire?

  69. Great news for the campaign against amateur hunting in National Parks.
    The Game Council (effectively taxpayer-funded Shooters Party lobby group) will be disbanded. Hunting in State Forests has been suspended. And the number of National Parks that will have amateur hunting has been cut to just 12, and that won’t start until October. Even then, hunters will need to be supervised by NPWS staff.
    That means that if you see anyone hunting on any public land (National Park or State Forest) they are there illegally, and should be reported. Even after October, unless the park is closed, sign posed as having hunting occurred, and has NPWS staff there, they are hunting illegally.
    I highly recommend people take a moment to read the executive summary of the Dunn Report into the Game Council. It is absolutely scathing.
    http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/470452/governance_review_game_council_nsw_independent_consulting.pdf

  70. I am not really sure why I am bothering to post any response as it is clear this subject is very emotive and those with strong opinions will never be swayed. I have been on both sides of the fence and to some degree still am. I own a property in the Victorian High country that is plagued by wild dogs, deer, foxes and rabbits. I need to control these animals but I am personally not allowed to bait. It borders the Alpine National Park and there are also several State Forests nearby. I regularly hike and ride these areas and before moving here walked and canyoned all over NSW. Years ago I participated in feral animal control by means of shooting in the NSW National Parks, supervised by a parks officer and from my experience I can say that it was not overly successful at controlling numbers of certain feral animals to any large degree. I have also seen over the years a significant number of licenced firearm holders doing the wrong thing. This includes shooting in National Parks, cutting padlocks to gain access to N.P. ,shooting whilst affected by alcohol, shooting without permission on private land, shooting on the roadside or within a short distance from houses not to mention a large number of unsafe gun practises. All this I have witnessed first hand while walking, driving or camping in state and National parks. In my previous job I would simply prosecute. Now retired, I have to report and allow the authorities to take action. I concede there is only a small chance of a bushwalker being shot by a hunter in this trial, given the parks will now be closed to all but hunters on the prescribed days. This is a trial period and we do not know how things will turn out. The parks may be eventually be opened to hunters unsupervised. I would say if this be the case there is considerably more chance of being shot going hunting with a group. I have read the case studies commissioned by the game council and it does not read well. Personally, a small chance is not one worth taking when it come to guns. I carried a gun every day at work and I know what it is like to shoot a person. Although totally justified, the consequences are terrible. Accidental shootings occur frequently while hunting with devisating results for the victim and person holding the gun. Why do we need to increase the risk by increasing the amount of public land available to hunters.

    In my area we are also plagued by deer hunters during the winter months. They are not well thought of in these parts because of the actions of many (not a few). I do not tar all hunters with the same brush as I have plenty of friends who hunt responsibly but we have a problem here that is difficult to police. I believe allowing hunting on any public land would necessitate the need for greater control, training and enforcement. Is the government prepared to pay for more resources to Police this scheme? Is there and organisation that can truly regulate, train and prepare people for hunting in National Parks? Should a 12 y.o. be allowed to participtate? Can anyone guarrantee that all those appropriately licenced will act responsibly and innocent people will not be hurt? Whenever you carry a loaded weapon you have an added responsibility and accoutability that is not imposed on the general public or people bushwalking. People can comment on how dangerous bushwalking, canyoning etc is compared to hunting. I concede there is an element of danger but the chances of me hurting or fatally wounding someone else while walking is remote. My hunting friends think the idea of shooting in the NP’s is ridiculous so I wonder how many really want this and what their real motives are. In the end it will be the group with the greatest lobby support that will win. The balance of power in the NSW senate is held by 2 groups and it seems the Liberal government is willing to broker deals. I am not a ‘left wing suburban greenie’. I simply believe our National Parks are there for every Australian and visitor to enjoy safely and responsibly whenever they can and in a way that does not impede or interfer with other uses.

    • Xplora, thank you for your measured and reasonable contribution. (And your prior service). In all things, (Policing included) all it takes if for a few bad eggs to bugger it up for everybody else. Strict guidelines are needed to ensure public and hunter safety, and the idiots with firearms need to be weeded out. I don’t believe mandatory courses should be required, but mandatory TESTING should be. And that testing (to whatever standard is acceptable to all concerened) should be administered by a government body where the assessors are impartial and don’t have a financial interest in getting as many people through the door as possible (the problem I see in some industries where the trainers are also the testers and it’s how they make their living). As in all things these days, the user-pays principle shoud apply. Why hunt in National Parks/public land? Because public land is the only option some people have and national parks have become safe havens for ferals and exotic species that wreck native flora and fauna. My guess is tht your friends who ridicule hunting in national parks have their own land or access to a private estate somewhere. I wonder how much their attitudes would change if they lost access to that private land overnight?

  71. get over it there’s more chance of being run over by a car walking down the street than being shot bushwalking.
    that’s a fact. Too much American TV
    Hunters are out and about well before any bush walkers gotten out their swag
    hunters generally don’t like being near bushwalkers and the like. Too much noise pollution scares the animals.
    most shootings involve shooter vs shooter most during the mating seasons when hunters are imitating the quarry to try and get animal to walk up.. because hunting is easier at this time you get more once a year hunters out there. it is also the most dangerous time for hunters. even then the chances of another shooting you are something like 0.01% So if your concerned avoid the March April period.
    Hunters are people too and we don’t particularly want to shoot anyone..
    so if you see a hunter when you’re out bush. instead of hiding like you’ve seen the boogie man. Say G’day find out where they are headed and let them know where you’ll be. it’s that simple. You don’t want to be they are and they don’t want to be where you are. And ya never know it could be one of those horrible hunters that helps you out next time you get into trouble out in the middle of no where. After all you have just shared trip details with them haven’t you?
    Hunters become safer the more they hunt. by opening up Forest parks and national parks you afford hunters the opportunity to be come proficient/safer at their lifestyle.
    when you consider other lifestyle/sports permit within these areas that could cause death or serious injury. e.g. Skiing, snow boarding, mountain climbing,,abseiling, base jumping, horse riding, mountain bike riding, trail bike riding, 4×4 driving, bush walking.
    All risk injury and or death to the participant as well as the innocent bystander.
    They also pose serious threats to these pristine wildness areas.
    Hunters probably have the least disturbing footprint of all the activities in these parks.
    After all we don’t need expense walk ways carved into the environment to access and enjoyment. The biggest group involved around the would in preserving wildlife habitat are ironically are Hunters who with out both the habitat nor the wildlife have nothing. Yet there are people out there that wish to deny me the right to enjoy what I have helped preserve. Without hunters non of these National parks would have occurred.
    Teddy Roosevelt Avid Hunter and outdoorsman created the very first National Park.
    You can do all your other activities else where you don’t really need the wild places.
    but hunting you can not do without wild places.
    Just as you can’t have an ocean without sharks because alpha predators are important
    to the environment to keep it healthy. So is man the alpha predator needed and part of this environment to keep it healthy. To deny hunters is to deny is to deny your native animals an opportunity as they are in direct competition with the ferals.

    I find calling Hunters “Blood Thirsty” a bigoted statement and offensive
    that’s designed to stigmatise a lifestyle choice in much the way as to call someone who is gay a poof or a fag. it does not add any fact to their argument.
    my life style choice I choose to be responsible for any animal I take
    I brings both great joy and great sadness at the same time after all a life has been lost.
    I respect you right to not be directly involved with harvesting of an animal.
    but don’t demonise me for your hands are not clean.
    That cling film tray you get from the supermarket was once a living breathing being.
    which probably endured several days in absolute fear, smelling death waiting in terror for it’s turn at an abettor. I know generally anything I Take will have a relatively quick and painless death.. I know my meat is fresh and handled with respect. What about You?
    If animals could only be hunted not farmed imagine how much less meat would get consumed.. You call Hunting absurd raising , caring and tendering to an animal with the intention of having it killed is not?? who’s the real psychotic then?
    Hunting puts me at one with nature like no other activity.
    Hunters need the Wild places as much as the Wild places need Hunters

  72. So how to do you stop evasive species in the National Parks, poison? or fences?
    You do know they are a real problem right?

    • No one here disagrees with managing feral species. We just believe experts, using science to develop best practice techniques, are more effective than a bogan with a rifle…

      • Why do you assume that everyone with a rifle is a”bogan”? While all these scientific boffins, sit around and discus how they can control freaks, people with firearms can be out there, actually doing it. Think about this. Some brainiac came up with the idea of trapping feral cats and sterilising them and rerelease them so they can’t breed and produce more. Ummmm a dead cat can’t produce any offspring, and, as an added bonus, can’t go on killing thousands of other animals. Doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out.

      • For some strange reason, areas that allow hunting — like state forests — seem to have a lot more feral animals. Meanwhile, remote areas of national parks have few if any from my experience. Ferals generally come in via disturbed land (often farmland or privately owned land) and in many cases are released by hunters. Take deer for example. After 150 years of hunting, there are more than ever, with new populations magically appearing around the country. Hardly evidence of the effectiveness of amateur hunting in controlling introduced species!

      • Some states class deer as game animals and are regulated to a degree. Something I don’t agree with. Gerald should be classed as pests and treated as such. Really not sure a out the comments that areas that are hunted have more ferals or that hunters releasing animals to create populations is all that correct, but no doubt it does occur.

      • T2, why do you feel compelled to use the insult “bogan with a rifle”? You consider ‘professionals’ (doctors etc) to be “bogans”? That sort of name-calling suggests you lack the intellectual horespower to mount a cogent argument and smacks of the tactics employed by twonks of the Green-Left and ….oh…wait..

      • T2, where have you seen these State Forests with high numbers of pests. I hunt state forests where I am allowed and find few ferals. The goats I see are usually along the border of the joining NP and quickly return to the NP where we are not allowed to shoot them. I think the goats in particular would be wiped out without the safe haven provided by NP’s.

        Pigs, Rabbits, deer, Foxes are Cats are also much less common in hunted State Forest. One NP I hike into back country areas to fish also is loaded with these pests. Whole areas along the creek are dung over by pigs, and foxes and cats scavenge around the campsite at night with no fear of humans. Being allwed to hunt there would be very beneficial to the environment and native animals.

  73. Why are you trying to stop hunting in national parks?
    The question needs to be asked why are hunters being prevented access to National Parks.
    The very first National Park the concept and implementation was in fact thanks to an avert hunter Teddy Roosevelt. History and tradition dictates hunters should be there in the National parks. weather you like it or not hunting is a popular recreation activity.
    I can do any other activity I like in the National Parks no matter how destructive tho the park it may be. May be we should only allow access to the National Parks to the professional bush walkers.. After all the current bunch of Bogans they are letting in now,
    Vandalise amenities, pollute and litter the National gems. cause mass destruction of these areas through fires. Millions of dollars are spent current lot of visitors to these National Parks who’s activities are not no benefit to the National Parks and generally the access is of over all determent to the parks. The current Bogans who have access to the National Parks not only cause injury to themselves they put others lives at risk.
    Most of them have Never had any professional training nor have they had to justify the reason for having access to public lands to conduct their recreational activity,
    To deny hunters access to National Parks is an act of discrimination by a bigoted few
    who wish to deny someone with different life style views to theirs.
    using a safety issue to promote a bigoted view of the world.
    The facts clearly show you have more chance of being killed and or injured my motor vehicle on the way to the way to or while travelling to these National parks.
    than sustain an injury of death by shooting.
    Where is the call to ban Vehicle access to National Parks?
    The New Zealand case keeps getting sited on this blog, Tragic but that’s life. They lose on average 12 people a year on Mt Cook Alone from mounting climbing. Where’s the call for mountain climbers to justify their reason to access the National parks.
    People lose their lives try to rescue these Bogans
    How many Bogan Bushwalkers have professional training or have undertaken accredited training before venturing into the National Parks.
    Yet millions are dollars are spent and lives put at risk for their and your rescue

    The truth is Hunting the National park is probably totally ineffective but who gives a shit.
    How effective and benefit is your recreation to the National Parks?
    Should Your activity be only conducted by professionals?

    That’s is not what the Wild places / National parks is about. It is about having an area that is open and free for everyone to challenge themselves in their chosen activity.

    When you have justified both the effectiveness of your recreational activity and benefit
    then to the park. Clearly demonstrated why a professional couldn’t do it better, demonstrated to how you could do it better over the professional. Then you have the right to ask the same of me.
    Anything less is Bigoted and Recreationalism / Racist

    Open the National Parks up to everyone should be the call.
    Not a call to keep the National Parks for just a select few for their select recreational pursuits.

    • in our area I wish they would start hunting, the wild dogs are out of control 7 attacked our house 2 weeks ago after killing sheep and lambs next door, when our cattle calve in April and august we do get some aerial bating, at least the dogs keep the pigs down but also kill all the rabbits, foxes and native animals

  74. Hi Fat Canyoners, found a ‘four-toed print’ in your pics relating to the Woolemi for Aboriginal Art section. Its is two wallaby feet pressed together as they hop – possibly short feet of a rock wallaby – but that is pure guess work. Bob Mac

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