Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Recreational Hunting in NSW National Parks - Will you be safe as a bushwalker?

The Shooters and Fishers Party recently did a deal with the Barry O'Farrell Government to once again allow recreational hunting in NSW National Parks.

There has been a lot of media spin and hype about the arrangement, with Bushwalking Clubs leading the charge on the fear campaign, claiming they will no longer be safe out bushwalking.

Outrageous claims have been made that bullets will be flying over their heads, hunters shooting anything that moves, and hunters shooting native wildlife.  They believe recreational hunters are amateurs and don't meet the stringent guidelines to which professional shooters are required to conform.   They falsely claim these stringent standards are set by the NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service).  Some staff and rangers in the NPWS are also against the proposal because of safety concerns. While some of those fears may be genuine, I believe many just want to protect their own personal interests, as professional contract shooting jobs are at stake.  I hope through a process of education we can alleviate those safety concerns.

I did post a link of my blog on the Wild Walks Facebook page but the administrator deleted it and has banned me from posting again.  Obviously the truth is hurting their campaign.  If you do have a facebook page, please post this link again on their page so members of the public who do stumble across their page have the opportunity to learn the facts. 

As a recreational hunter myself, who has also done some professional shooting, I've written this blog with the particular purpose of dispelling some of the myths about hunting on public land.

I hope you take the time to read my thoughts and the facts I am presenting, and come to the conclusion that the proposal to once again allow regulated hunting in NSW National Parks is not unreasonable.

I've broken down my analysis of the issue into the following parts:
  • the types of hunters; 
  • the scientific evidence to show hunting is one of the safest sports;
  • where a game council hunter can hunt and what the rules are;
  • the recent joey shooting incident in a National Park;
  • the licensing process to become a Game Council recreational hunter;  
  • the licensing process to become a a professional shooter; 
  • the argument recreational hunters are not effective to control feral animals; and most importantly...
  • firearms safety.
Background: I'd like to point out that hunting in National Parks is not revolutionary.  NSW is one of the few states that do not allow hunting in National Parks.  The practice was banned some decades ago.  Since then, our parks have been run down under a NPWS 'lock it and leave it policy'.  Victoria has never banned the practice of hunting in its National Parks.  A hunter who has a valid firearms licence, regardless of his or her state of residence, can apply for a permit through the Victorian Department of Primary Industries to hunt in Victorian National parks (excluding populous areas like ski fields).

In 2002, the NSW Labor Government approved hunting on public lands under a trial program with the view to expand hunting to all public lands in NSW, including National Parks.  The opposition Liberal Government at the time opposed the proposal.  The proposal went ahead and the hunting regulatory body, known as the Game Council, was created.  Professional shooters and other experts created the framework that was largely adapted from the FAAST (Feral Animal Ariel Shooting Team), a government professional shooting program, and tailored it for non-commercial recreational hunting purposes.  Hunting areas included 480+ State Forests and crown land under a highly regulated system.  Experienced hunters and members of an Approved Hunting Organisation could apply to undergo training and testing for the privilege of obtaining a Game Council 'R' licence to hunt on public land.

As you read on, I encourage you not to stereotype the highly regulated, trained, certified and licensed recreational hunter with the thousands of untrained cowboys who own unregistered firearms and do not respect the law.  These people are the true amateurs.  They do not respect the law.  They have previously hunted and will continue to hunt on public land, regardless of the law.  Licensed hunters have a vested interest in stopping these people as we want to change the perception of hunting to help protect our lifestyle - a lifestyle that is truly green and self-sustainable.

1.  The Types of Hunters 

Hunters essentially fall into five categories:
  • Unlicensed shooters:  citizens with unregistered firearms.  The AIC (Australian Institute of Criminology) refers to these shooters as "the grey market".  I have heard estimates from various sources of between 1-3 million unregistered firearms in this market, however the AIC claims "It is not possible to estimate the size of either the grey or illicit markets.  The grey market may be substantial, but there are no reliable estimates of the volume of it or the illicit market.".   The black market is much smaller and is defined as the organised crime/criminal market. 
  • Amateur bow hunters:  anyone can buy a bow without a licence or training in the state of NSW.  I suspect this is the type of individual who shot the joey kangaroo accidentally.  I won't provide comment as to what I believe really happened in this instance, but I'm sure you'll be able to draw your own conclusions, when you finish reading my article.   
  • Licensed shooters:  usually farmers, or friends or relatives of farmers, who cull feral animals on private land.  Firearms safety training and federal police criminal history checks are required.  Approximately 700,000 Australian citizens have such a licence.  
  • Game Council Licence holders:  bow hunters or licensed firearms owners.  Both groups must be members of Approved Hunting Organisations and attend regular hunting workshops to keep their skills sharp and refreshed.  If they wish to hunt on public land, they must study for and sit the Game Council 'R' licence examination.  These requirements are in addition to the requirements of becoming a licensed firearms owner, should they wish to hunt with firearms.  I haven't been able to confirm this figure (will update when I have the numbers), but I believe there are approximately 20,000 Australian residents with a NSW Game Council 'R' Licence.  
  • Professional shooters:  must sit the FAAST training and firearms licence safety training, as well as undergo criminal background checks.  These shooters are generally employed by the DPI at significant cost to manage pest culling programs, often via aerial targeting, at great expense to the tax payer.  They also manage baiting programs, dropping 1,080 bait, which indiscriminately poison native fauna. 
2.  Hunting:  one of the safest sports:

The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) recently compiled a report for the Game Council, which shows that hunting and shooting is one of the safest sports.  It details 25 case studies containing all hunting related deaths from 2000-2010 across Australia, from data gathered from the National Coroners Information System.  You can read the full report here.

The report shows that there has been an average of 2.5 deaths related to hunting accidents every year and contains a case study for each event. Hunting related deaths account for 0.1% of all accidental related deaths 

There has not been a single example whereby a bushwalker has been shot by a hunter.

You can view the statistics in greater detail by clicking on this image below.

There are approximately 1200 road fatalities every year but only 2.5 hunting related deaths where the hunter or his hunting companion was shot.  Ask yourself, what is the true likelihood that you would be shot accidentally in a National Park?

Each year 250 of all accidental deaths relate to falls.  Wouldn't you be so much more likely to die on your drive to the National Park or have a fall on your walk than to be shot by a hunter? 

I'd also like to point out that a highly trained and regulated Game Council hunter has never been shot nor his hunting companion in the 6 years since hunting on public land was introduced.

You might be of the belief that the reason there are so many more road fatalities than hunting accidents is because many more people drive compared with how many people shoot.  Consider the fact there are over 700,000 licensed firearms owners in Australia, and many farmers with unregistered firearms not included in that statistic that shoot feral animals on an almost daily basis.  The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia has over 150,000 members, many of which shoot in pistol, rifle and shotgun competitions on a weekly basis at hundreds of clubs across the country.  The perception there isn't a lot of hunting or shooting activity in Australia is false.  Many shooters don't advertise their hobby because of political correctness.  I wouldn't be surprised if some people were unaware they had a friend with a firearms licence.

3.  Where is a Game Council Hunter allowed to hunt and what are the rules?

Currently, only in state forests and on crown land, and only with a valid permit issued by the Game Council.  National Parks in NSW will soon be open for recreational hunters, but only 10% of them.

The permit is issued by an online system to ensure an appropriate number of hunters, based on the size of the park.  The hunter is issued with detailed maps of the area, including exclusion zones, where s/he is not allowed to hunt.  Typically, these are high traffic areas for bushwalkers, camping grounds, lookouts and other significant points of interest.  The hunter is not allowed to shoot at night. 

4.  What about the joey that was shot in a national park?

Game Council hunters take their hobby very seriously and invest a significant amount of money on equipment - equipment that under the provision of the law can be confiscated for illegal activities.  Their firearms licences can also be seized, as well as any other firearms they own.  

The average Game Council licensed hunter could have an investment of between $10,000 - $50,000 worth of equipment that could be seized for a single illegal act.  

We would like you to appreciate that hunting is our livelihood and we don't just blast away at random animals indiscriminately.  On most hunts, I've never even fired a shot.  And when I do, it is not over a ridge or at an object that I cannot clearly identify.  We often sit patiently, listening intently for wildlife, and will always hear a bunch of bushwalkers jibbering from hundreds of metres away.  We always use binoculars to scope a target and never load a live round into our firearm until we are ready to shoot. 

Illegal shooting in National Parks has always occurred.  Criminals do not obey the law and there are fools in every sport that give serious hunters a bad name. 

The bow hunter that shot the joey inhumanely (shown on the WildWalks website) was not a licensed Game Council hunter.  The arrow was also a target arrow, not a broad tipped arrow, as is required under law to be used for hunting.  

Game Council hunters have on many occasions worked with rangers and the police to report illegal hunting activities.  We will identify and report illegal activity to protect our sport. 

5.  What does it take to become a Game Council recreational hunter or a professional shooter?

Wildwalks claims there are "Stringent Guidelines" set by the NPWS for professional shooters and that recreational hunters, who are licensed through the Game Council, are amateurs.

I'm a little offended by the statement, especially when they have clearly shown they do not know the first thing about hunting.  Making claims that bullets will be buzzing above their heads is just sensationalist nonsense.  It is also the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) that regulates professional shooting standards for the NPWS, not the NPWS as WildWalks claims.

Let's analyse the definitions of "professional" and "recreational".

The definition of a "professional" is that someone merely does something for a "profession".  

"Recreational" means we do it as a "hobby".  

Hunting safety codes are standard the world over.  As a Game Council licensed hunter who meets all of the Governments stringent hunting requirements and someone who has been assessed to be fit and trained to hunt on public land, how does that make me an amateur?

A professional driver could be a taxi driver.  Does that mean as a licensed motorist with 20 years driving experience that I'm an amateur driver? 

The guidelines to becoming a professional shooter can be found here and are referred to as the FAAST training (Feral Animal Arial Shooting Team).  The guidelines to obtain a recreational hunting licence can be found here.

Apart from the section titled "Helicopter Operations and Principles of Aerial Shooting" and "Work Process Risk Assessment" (OH&S related stuff for a government contractor), the training and stringent testing is much the same.

But I'll let you be the judge.

6. Recreational hunters not effective in controlling feral animals.

I've heard a lot of commentary from people suggesting recreational hunters are not as effective in controlling feral animals as professional contract shooters.  If that is the case, I'd love for someone to explain to me why since the lock down of hunting in National parks in NSW there has been an explosion of the feral animal population.  Could they also explain why the Koala population in NSW is threatened (most likely due to foxes and wild dogs) and why this is not the case in Victoria where recreational hunting in National parks is legal.  Could they also point out why they would rather pay taxes in a debt riddled state for the Government to hire professional shooters when recreational hunters are willing to do it for free?

Another argument is that recreational hunters make it more difficult for professional shooters to do their job because when they shoot the animals scatter deeper into the bush.  This is complete nonsense.  Feral animals are everywhere and professional shooters cull from helicopters.  There is no deep bush.  There is just bush.  I've yet to hear an answer from people with this argument as to why since hunting was banned in National parks in NSW have sambar deer been spotted on the outskirts of Sydney when two decades ago they were only known to have been inhabiting Victoria.

Read more about the effectiveness of recreational hunting here.

All these points aside, there is one overriding fundamental point I'd like to make that trumps any argument in this area and that is my right as a free law abiding citizen to carry out my lawful recreational practices without having to answer to people who have no justification or evidence what I do is causing anyone else any harm. I'm not going to set up a facebook page to ban knitting because you might poke yourself in the eye.  Every recreational activity has risk associated with it.  Hunting, despite peoples perception, has a very low risk of injury or death.   I encourage everyone who reads this blog to stop the nonsense that has turned Australia into the nanny state that it is.

And for the record, i'm a deer hunter, so the feral management effectiveness argument doesn't even rate as far as i'm concerned.  I want to harvest my own fresh free range organic meet for the cost of a bullet and a little bit of time.  I could start to carry on about my practices being more environmentally sustainable given that I eat less beef and contribute less to the methane problem, but that is a whole other argument that isn't relevant in this debate.

7.  Firearms Safety Video

I'd also like to highly encourage you to to watch the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) NSW safety video below.  It is an excellent video that will give you confidence in the comprehensive training the organisation provides to its 150,000+ members.  This training is preliminary to subsequent training required to obtain a Game Council 'R' licence.    

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  1. Hi - a few comments - I will leave on idea per comment - just to make it easier to deal with.
    BTW thanks for joining in the debate. Great to have your input.

    Fact??"NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service) who are also against the proposal"
    This should say rangers and other staff of the NPWS are also against the proposal, the organisation as a whole, is required to implement the law and has not made a comment either way. The staff apposed has said they have concerns for safety, cost on implementing, and the negative environmental impact

    1. Everyone should watch this video to show the alternative method to control feral animals.

  2. "recreational hunters who are licensed through the Game Council are amateurs.
    I'm a little offended by the statement"

    Sorry for offending you, that was not my intention. I was using the term 'amateur' in its proper sense ie 'A person who engages in a pursuit, esp. a sport, on an unpaid basis.' as distinct to a professional.

    But there is a big difference in the effectiveness of an recreational hunter and that of a professional. A professional hunter will have a very strategic approach to have the greatest impact on reducing the total number of feral animals in a park. Most recreational hunters seem to only kill a very small number of animals, about half of which are rabbits. There is already a place for this sport to take place, a national park is not an appropriate place for this sport.

  3. fact??"Hunting related deaths account for 0.1% of all accidental related deaths "
    To consider the real safety risk you need to consider the number of people hours involved in these activities as well. most of the population spend a lot of time in cars driving each year so have a high exposure to the risk. Very few (relative) people participating in hunting. So you need to multiply the number of deaths in hunting out many times to give a real indication if you want to truly compare like this. I have not done this math, I encourage you to, but I suspect the number will be high.

  4. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your feedback. I will fix the point you made about NPWS.

    I still don't believe the word amateur is appropriate to describe someone with many years of hunting experience, or a group of people that have an excellent safety record.

    I agree there is a big difference in the effectiveness of recreational hunters vs professional contract shooters. Recreational hunters are not licensed to use semi-automatic firearms and cannot make rapid follow up shots to take out a mob of pigs as effectively as a professional shooter. Professional shooters also often cull by helicopter at great expense to the tax payer in a State that is already riddled with debt.

    I don't support the argument that because we aren't quite as effective as an excuse to ban the activity. Every little bit helps.

    As for the effectiveness of culling feral animals, me personally, i don't spend my holiday time to go on a mission to cull feral animals. I'm a deer hunter and whilst i love to camp in National parks, i also want the right to harvest my own fresh free range organic meat. A right that should be afforded to every law abiding citizen who is appropriately licensed and trained to do so.

    1. Hi Aussieguns - thanks

      "I still don't believe the word amateur is appropriate to describe someone with many years of hunting experience"
      Maybe take that up with the dictionary :) I guess some people do use the term with a negative tone, but I agree you can have very experaince and highly skill amateur.

      " cull by helicopter at great expense to the tax payer in a State that is already riddled with debt"
      Yes, but it is still much cheaper then this program. It still costs around $150 of NSW tax money for each rabbit killed through this system. Strange I know but the recreational hunting program cost much more per animal killed then does a commercial aerial program.

      "Every little bit helps"
      I wish that was true, but it is not. You kill one deer and the herd heads deeper into the bush. The big old male buck killed is quickly replaced. but now the herd is harder to find by the professionals. The guys in the chopper would have taken out as many of the young females as possible. They also get a second shot to put the animal out of pain if the first shot failed.

      "right to harvest my own fresh free range organic meat"
      Great - and I am all for it. But a national Park is not an appropriate place for such an activity. You already have the right to do this in most of the state, but national Parks are protected for a good reason and that protection should continue.

    2. The game council was all about economies of scale. Economies and targets they haven't been able to meet because hunting was not opened up to National Parks earlier as it should have been.

      Most people don't like to hunt in State forests because they are usually ex farm land that has been run down. They are not scenic. I enjoy camping and fishing. Why should I have to fish and camp on second rate land because i'm not allowed to hunt in National Parks?

      I've had my R licence for years. I hunted in state forests twice and i'll never go back because the camping experience was awful. Bindies, weeds, no scenic outlook etc.

      Telling me State Forests are good enough for me is like saying you got to live in Cabramatta if you want a firearms licence.

      I don't believe the heard scatters deeper into the bush. They are already everywhere in the bush. In fact Sambar deer that were once only in Victorian National parks were spotted on the outskirts of Sydney years ago and there have been many more sightings since.

      If hunting was banned in NSW all this time, how did they scatter all that way?

  5. Fact???"National Parks in NSW will soon be open for recreational hunters, but only 10% of them"
    Well as you already know the 10% figure is the number of parks, and the land area is more like 40%. But that aside, this is based on very old information and yet another broken promise by the State Govt. The limit to the 79 parks as spoken about did no appear in the legislation. Instead it excluded some parks. So I have created a map here
    that show in red all the NSW National Park land where the Minister can allow hunting. As you can see this is very different from what the community has been told.
    We are yet to see the policy on when, how and where people will be allowed to hunt, so it is to early to say assume that it will be the same rules as state forests.

  6. Matt, There are 700,000 licensed firearms owners in Australia, many who are farmers, friends or relatives of farmers who hunt and cull feral animals on private land.

    I also compete in pistol competition 4 hours each week along with 35,000 or so other Australians across hundreds of clubs in Australia.

    The SSAA has a membership of 150,000. Many of which shoot in local target shooting competitions or hunt through an Approved Hunting Club.

    There is a perception there isn't a lot of shooting going on in Australia, but that simply isn't the case.

    In terms of the statistics. I can live with the fact there are 2.5 hunting related accidents a year and 0 hunting related accidents a year by professionally trained recreational shooters with a licence to hunt on public land.

  7. I agree the politics has been a little sleazy. My view is that all national parks should be opened for hunting, with exclusion areas marked in popular areas.

    A farmer can shoot feral animals on his 40 acre block without killing his neighbours. There is no reason why this cannot be applied to National parks.

  8. Fact??"The bow hunter that shot the Joey inhumanely shown on the WildWalks website was not a licensed Game Council hunter."
    I was not aware they had caught they person.

  9. "As a Game Council licensed hunter that meets all of the Governments stringent hunting requirements"
    Sure, but my understanding to get the licence though the game council I need to sit an open book test of 30 multiple choice questions. And be a member of a registered hunting club. I am not convinced that is "stringent"

  10. As for the Joey, again you're assuming the new law has something to do with it. Don't tar me with the same brush as you would a criminal. I'm not sure whether they caught that person either. But there is no evidence it was a Licensed Game Council Hunter.

    As for the licensing. You are looking at that a little simplistically. Sure it's an open book test, but that doesn't mean you can pass it if you don't know your stuff. You also seem to forget that the firearms safety training is a different course.

    I challenge you to go through the process. Obtain your firearms licence, R Licence, get approved for membership by an Approved Hunting Organisation. I guarantee you that you it will be many months and most likely 6 months before you will be booking in your first hunt.

    More to the point, the safety training for a professional contract shooter is exactly the same, except they also learn how to use semi-automatic firearms safely.... oh and how to shoot from a helicopter safely.

    1. "the safety training for a professional contract shooter" Although public safety is one issue it is just one. Professional shooters follow a strategic plan generated by NPWS based on research to reduce the total number of feral animals. Recreational hunting in landareas as large as most national parks just makes this more difficult.
      I know that most hunters will follow the safety protocol. I think it is fair to assume that not all 12year kids hunting the the national park will have the same expertise and experaince as professional hunters.
      I am not suggesting you or even most hunters are criminals. But there is obvious evidence that some people do illegally (or accidentally) hunt native animals in national parks now. Parks are a big place to police, and this new legislation will make it much more difficult to catch illegal hunters.

    2. The science to support your claim that recreational hunters make the management of parks more difficult is not valid. I Have raised many points in my blog that have still gone unanswered to support those claims.

      12 year old kids don't have drivers licenses to be able to drive to a National park. They will generally be supervised by an adult. I started hunting around that age and as far as i'm concerned, if the legal system can try me as an adult for a crime at that age, i am old enough and responsible enough to use a firearm.

      On a side note, you might be interested in this video of the youngest IPSC shooter who shoots in international competition. Not suggesting a 6 year old should be able to hunt or shoot unsupervised though. I just believe people need to give kids more credit when it's due. More responsibility at a younger age is a good thing.

  11. I want to say that I do like you blog, I think you write well.
    This page misses a few other very significant points.
    1) That this legislation was only got through as the government traded it for the vote of the shooters and fishers party to sell of the states power stations. The actual policy aside we should be outraged.
    2) There is much evidence that there will be a negative impact on the environment. The very small number of animals killed through recreational hunting, tends to just disrupt animal behaviour and make professional programs more expensive and less effective.
    3) Cost. The game council is funded to the tune of $2m a year from tax payers money. NPWS would have a much higher impact with animal control with that money.
    4) Many things are yet to be worked out, like how this will be monitored
    5) although most hunters will do the right thing, totally agree. It just takes one or two to do the wrong thing. So as pig number drop in an area, we are likely to see seeding of new pigs in the park by rouge hunters, as there is evidence of in Vic.
    6) National parks are places set aside for the protection of the landscapes. This program has no place in this role.

    1. Thanks for the compliment.

      There are good arguments on both sides of the debate. But I don't think it's all doom and gloom like you make it out to be. Hunting takes place in every country in the OECD and in all States in Australia on private land and some public land.

      There is one overriding factor you need to appreciate that trumps your whole argument and that is my own personal freedom as a law abiding citizen to have my Government and fellow citizens to trust me to do the right thing.

      The moment we take freedoms away, it's just the thin end of the wedge. Who really has the right to decide that one persons recreational freedom is ok but others are not?

      Rest assured that licensed hunters are very angry with the idiots who change public perception and ruin it for the rest of us. We have excellent gear for gathering evidence of illegal activity and we do report it. More licensed hunters out there, mean less illegal unlicensed and untrained hunters out there. These are the people who are the danger to society.

      As for the Government deal. That's what you can expect from the major parties. Labor were the ones that approved the game council in the first place and also tried to sell off the states electricity. They even agreed to hunting in National parks but backflipped on the idea. Now they support neither the power sell off or recreational hunting. Many Australians seem to have short term memory loss as they have forgotten all this.

      I don't like either major party and would rather vote for a minority like the Shooters and Fishers party because at least they have my genuine interests at heart, not the interests of lobby groups and big business.

    2. "The moment we take freedoms away"
      This is not a matter of taking freedom away. It is a new law to allow hunting in a protected area. I am not "free" to pick flowers in a national park, and nor should I be. National Parks are there for the protection of the whole landscape.
      "Who really has the right to decide that one persons recreational freedom is ok but others are not? "
      You are free to participate in your choose recreation in many parts of the state. Should you also be free to hunting in Pitt St in the City - of course not. There are approriate places for all recreation. As a society we do have the right to consider the common good. So we bad recreatioanal activies such as drag racing on public streets. Does this restrict people freedoms - yes it does. Is is good to restrict some peoples freedoms for the common good - yes. Is is good to restrict this 'freedom' in this case of hunting in National parks, I would say yes.
      "not the interests of lobby groups"
      They are a lobby group - and that is OK. you are forming a lobby group here - that is also a good thing. Our role in a democratic society to to promote discussion and lobby for what we think is right. That is what we are doing now. thanks

    3. Actually Matt it was a law put in place some 20 years ago that took away the right to hunt in National parks in NSW. A law that should have never of been passed. We are simply reversing that bad law and restoring the freedoms we once had.

      Your picking flowers argument doesn't wash. I'm not free to poach native wildlife, nor am i asking for that right. You are free to pick weeds though, just as i should be free to hunt feral animals and harvest deer.

      I think you're losing the plot a little when you suggest if I should be allowed to hunt in Pitt street. I'm not asking to hunt in Pitt street. Nor are there any deer in Pitt street.

      The lobbying to allow hunting in National parks has been done. The shooters and fishers party took 15+ years of campaigning to make it happen and it is happening. I'm lobbying to dispel the myths about hunting and to explain why it is not as bad as people seem to think it is.

  12. We don't all walk on the tracks you know...

    1. I don't understand the point you are trying to make. Please see my response to Peter below.

  13. As a bushwalker I don't always walk on track either. That is the problem isn't it? I quite often go off track in National Parks. I wouldn't do the same in a state forest, as I know it is used for other forms of recreation. Also signed posted so I believe?

    Sorry about the deleted post above. I should know how to use this!

    1. And that is your choice Peter to get off the track, just as it's my choice to hunt freely on my land. As a law abiding citizen of this country the National parks are mine as much as they are yours. You'd be very lucky to encounter a hunter on your walk. Hunters will sniff you out or spot you well before you approach them. There is no evidence to support your fear that you might be shot. I hope you can accept the evidence and change your mindset about hunting.

  14. I haven't read all the way through the replies here, but I would like to respond to Matt.

    The average life span of a fox is three to six years, although individuals may live up to 10 years. They reproduce 5 - 10 young per year.

    So if I hunt one 2 year old vixen fox, assuming she would have lived to years, I have potentially prevented up to 40 more foxes being born.

    A single fox is estimated to eat about 400-800gm of food each night. Research has shown that the 'typical' fox diet in Australia consists of one third native species, one third domestic stock, and one third feral pests such as rabbits, mice and rats.

    So that's on average 2 native animals per week, over 4 years.
    2 x 52 x 4 = 416
    That's 416 native animals I've saved, potentially in a National Park too!!

    How is this wrong Matt?


  15. Hi Anonymous (if that is your real name), math does not work like that in biological systems. Biological systems are complicated, and prey, disease and food sources play important roles.
    Lets run with you logic and assume you choose not to kill that one baby fox this year. Using the same math below you can see that that one fox will see a total of 103,635,000 great-great. Grandchildren born in her tenth year. Not bad considering the current estimated population in Australia is only 7.2 million.

    Lets go through the 10 years of your first female fox
    2012 - 2 foxes
    2013 - 2 - now have 10 young (12 in total - assume half female)
    2014 - 7 female * 10 = 70 young + 7 moms
    2015 - 35+7 females * 10 = 420 young + 42 moms
    2016 - 210+42 females * 10 = 2520 young + 252 moms
    2017 - 1260+252 females * 10 = 15120 young + 1260 moms
    2018 - 7560+1260 females * 10 = 88200 young + 7560 moms
    2019 - 44100 + 7560 females * 10 = 516600 young + 44100 moms
    2020 - 258300 + 44100 females * 10 = 3024000 young + 258300 moms
    2021 - 1512000 + 258300 females * 10 = 17703000 young + 1512000 moms
    2022 - 8851500 + 1512000 females * 10 =
    103,635,000 young born in 2022 alone

  16. ""As you read on, I encourage you not to stereotype the highly regulated, trained, certified and licensed recreational hunter with the thousands of untrained cowboys who own unregistered firearms and do not respect the law. These people are the true amateurs.""

    Where did you get any definition whatso-ever to support the statement and then the figures involved

    1. There are plenty of references on my facebook page to all this data in the notes section. You'll note in the last century over 7 million firearms were imported into Australia, of that, only 600,000 were handed in at John Howard's buyback in 1996. Of those 600,000 only 3% were semi-automatics. Hope you are feeling really safe having paid 1 billion dollars thus far and $70m a year to maintain registries that only account for 2 million firearms. It is well known illegal hunting exists on private and public property. Just read the news. Every week an unlicensed firearms owner is caught. Over 1000 unregistered firearms are seized by police every year. A small dent in the 5 million to go! The choice is obvious, regulate and train to allow citizens to carry out a perfectly reasonable recreational activity legally, or wait 5000 years until all those firearms are seized by police. It's a no-brainer don't you think?

    2. This was posted in the NSW police facebook page at the same time I wrote my post. Illegal firearms are imported into this country on mass and customs are unable to stop it. There is simply far too much container freight to scan.

      We need to learn to live with guns in the society and the best way is to look after law abiding firearms owners who are very much in tune with what is really going on and assist police with their investigations.

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