The best discussion I’ve found on this subject is this 2009 paper by the Invasive Species Council. http://www.invasives.org.au/documents/file/reports/Critique_IsHuntingConservation.pdf
It refers to my own major problem with this outrageous policy (I think much more serious than gunshot risk to other park users) – the certainty that shooters will deliberately introduce ‘stock’ (feral animals) into their favourite hunting patch (National Park or Nature Reserve). The interests of hunters are absolutely opposed to the desire to eliminate ferals from any allowable hunting ground. Their interest is to maintain stocks at a satisfying level, that is, the numbers that ensure they can likely find a target without too much trouble. That number is in most cases higher than the number now present.
Successful policies are those that align personal (selfish) motivations with a desirable social outcome. This is the opposite and will inevitably make things worse in areas that currently are not in much trouble.
Take Mark’s Charcoal Tank as an example. At present you might find some rabbits and maybe a fox or two. I’m sure there’s a few hunters in West Wyalong who’d like some more fun than they are getting now, and driving out to Charcoal Tank to blast a few rabbits doesn’t quite cut it. But if they could get a few pigs in there, or even some goats, what fun they could have. Worse than that, after the situation settles down and people forget where the pigs or goats came from, their regular shooting to “control numbers” will be seen as a justification for the continuation of this very bad policy!
My letter to the NSW ministers is below, encouraging anyone motivated enough to improve on it and send in similar letters.
I write about the unsupportable decision to allow shooting in National Parks and other reserves in NSW. Quite apart from the obvious and well discussed dangers, there is one very serious issue that I have not yet seen addressed adequately and that deserves further attention and a reconsideration of the new legislation.
Irresponsible game shooters are well known to actively introduce target species to areas in which they are allowed to shoot. This has been cited often as a reason for the numbers and extent of deer, pigs and perhaps goats that are now pests in public and private land throughout eastern Australia.
Some of the reserves in which shooting is soon to be allowed are quite small and isolated by surrounding cropland. The temptation to release just a few piglets, goats or deer in such reserves will be irresistible to a minority of shooters. What could be more attractive to a not-so-thoughtful shooter than a local ‘private’ hunting ground? Many of these reserves currently support few or uninteresting feral species, so that the pressure to augment feral stocks will be great.
What is a keen hunter going to do in the unlikely event that his local hunting ground (National Park or Nature Reserve) appears to be running low on 'stock'? Where is the vested interest for shooters to actually eliminate any feral animals at all? On the contrary, there is a considerable motivation to increase the number of feral animals so that they can be seen to be 'doing more' and being a more impressive part of the 'solution'. Personal interest is completely opposed to the professed objectives of the policy.
Given we already know that feral translocation by shooters has occurred extensively in the past and largely if not entirely caused the present problem, any legislation that encourages such introductions to areas of even higher conservation value is an appalling, unforgivable change. Together with the certainty that some native animals will be accidentally shot and the fact that general recreational hunting has never been shown to control any feral species in any location in Australia, what is the justification that allows changing the law? We are faced with a lose-lose and yet one more 'lose' for our limited remaining native species.
Hunting can be an enjoyable and satisfying activity for many people, including me. Unfortunately in the context of Australia’s contemporary highly degraded ecosystems it has become an unnecessary and destructive luxury that, if allowed at all, should be limited to dedicated self-funded hunting reserves.
Has the government included consideration of the problem of deliberate feral translocations into national parks and reserves, and if so, what evidence was used to decide the new laws would not make the situation worse than it is now?
62/44 Jerrabomberra Av
NARRRABUNDAH ACT 2604
0419 039 540
From: Graeme Clifton [
Sent: Monday, 4 February 2013 21:18
To: Denis Wilson
Cc: Daniel Hoops; COG list
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] hunting in nsw national parks
This is about the craziest idea I have come across in a long while BUT let's have a reality check. The Coalition doesn't have the numbers in the Legislative Assembley (UpperHouse) and so has struck a deal with the Shooters Party, ie you vote with the Government and you can do what you like in National Parks, Nature Reserves etc.
It could be worse, they could have struck a deal with Fred and Elaine Nile.
As for shooting stuff, the main targets will be pigs and goats. It takes a very dedicated and expert hunter to find and shoot deer unless they are spotlighting.
The NPWS have maintained for a long, long time that shooting is not an effective way of controlling pigs. They favour poisoning and or trapping with grain as the bait after free feeding for some time. Disturbance by shooters scares the pigs from the trapping site.
As for goats, the shooters will only generally be interested in trophy Billy's and kids for the camp oven. They will have next to no impact on the overall population. The best way forward with goat control is several real good working dogs and temporary yards and a truck to take the goats to the abattoirs. The economics will be dependant on the location.
Shooters in National Parks. NO
Re shooting in National Parks, my main concern is personal safety.
Last year there was a tragic accident when a NZ shooter mistook a school teacher for a deer, and shot and killed her.
Such "accidents" are not unknown - though usually shooters shoot other members in their own group.
I live adjacent to the huge Morton National Park (see map attached).
It had two State Main Roads which run through it , the Braidwood to Nowra Road (Main Road 92) and Fitzroy Falls to Nowra road. And it can also be accessed from the Ulladulla side.
And it has numerous other entry points (especially around Kangaroo Valley).
The media for these far-spread areas are controlled in Nowra, Goulburn and Bowral.
One cannot listen to all sources of media in any one point.
How are they going to get the word out to me that the Park is closed?
There is no way they can possibly close main roads of economic and strategic significance leading to and from Canberra to Nowra. So, short of blocking 100 minor roads, how do they "close" this Park?
NPWS have inadequate staffing to do that at the best of times - let alone when the NPWS Staff are openly hostile to the idea.
The NSW Game Council, the State Organisation "responsible" for this Shooting Program has hardly any staff at all. It really exists as a revenue raiser for NSW as the Licensing body for the Shooters.
Beyond issues of safety, my personal interest is in rare and endangered Orchids (of which this Park is well endowed). What chance is that a bunch of ill-informed shooters will take any notice or concern for tiny Orchids in the leaf litter, when slipping and sliding down a steep hill-side, in search of their prey?
They would have no idea of what damage they might be doing.
Need I really go on?
Incidentally, in the hundreds of hours I have spent in this Park I have never seen any Deer, nor Goats and only one suckling Pig which I reported to the nearby farm from which it had escaped several days before.
This is a vastly different situation from the large numbers of wild Pigs and Goats in the Far Western region, near Broken Hill.
Incidentally,. my personal experience of shooters I have known is that they like to take their "Pig Dogs" out in the bush and let them chase "Game". The usual result is badly mauled Wombats and Kangaroos - both of which are protected species.
Mark Clayton has already affirmed that after hundreds of banding trips to Charcoal Tank and Buddigower, he has seldom seen any "game animals" in those Nature Reserves (both listed on the Parks to be opened to shooters)
Robertson NSW 2577
On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 5:44 PM, Daniel Hoops <m("anu.edu.au","daniel.hoops");" target="_blank">> wrote:
Maybe I'm just ignorant, but why are you against this hunting? From what I understand, the hunt will be on invasive large mammals, which are unbelieveably destructive in a lot of National Parks. Isn't it a good thing to allow people who want to shoot them for free shoot them? The parks will be closed during the hunts, so what's the danger to the public?
Also, according to this website, duck hunting cannot take place on National Parklands.
On 04/02/2013, at 5:37 PM, Denis Wilson wrote:
To satisfy Mark's concern, let me say that in NSW, there is a very strong campaign against hunting in National Parks being led by the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, the Total Environment Centre, National Parks Association of NSW, and the NSW Greens.
That having been said, Mark is correct in his interpretation of everything else.
It is a political problem for NSW to deal with, however, and as ever, politicians are inclined to ignore people outside their constituency.
But don't feel bad, Mark - my local Member in NSW is ignoring my vehemently expressed opinions.
There will be a rally outside his office, In Kiama, on 23 February. But already we know he will not be attending.
Yours - in Hi Vis apparel
On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 5:18 PM, Mark Clayton <m("bigpond.com","chollop7");" target="_blank">> wrote:
I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a sensible reply from the Premier, Robin Parker who is the Environment Minister (I wonder if she actually knows what the term means?!!!), nor from Bob Conroy, the Director “Conservation Operations Division” (my quotation marks) for the National Parks and Wildlife Service. As I think I said in a previous email, I received a reply from the Premier’s Parliamentary Secretary, the “Honourable (again my quotation marks) Marie Ficarra that was almost word for word to a reply a colleague received from Conroy when she emailed the Premier. I also know of a retired senior Federal Government researcher who worked on feral species who received essentially the same reply. Basically we have been treated like idiots!
One thing that really gets on my goat – excuse the pun (intended) – is that the Game Council, a section within the Premier’s Department, has now declared that the deer “hunting” season has now CLOSED. What sort of morons are running this show. The whole thing smacks of hypocracy!!!
I must add that I am disappointed by what appears to be the apathy shown by most COG members to this problem and I have not heard of the committee doing anything – I hope I am mistaken. Only a few people have replied to my original email. If people don’t protest then we deserve what we cop.
Appended: cut and paste direct from current NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website
Protest form letter from http://nohunting.wildwalks.com/ for those who might like to express an (edited) opinion before this legislation is enacted in March
Further to Philip's original email and Mark's comments on dogs with hunters, I was inspired to look at the NSW Parks website and found something to make one's gobsmacked brain reel a little more. How has the description of 'Illegal Activities in National Parks' gone from that selected and noted below to the new legislation? How are hunters going to move around the parks with shooting equipment and remain on the 'authorised' roads? Does their 'bag' lie where it is shot? Are the shooters permitted to 'harvest' their kill? I am awaiting response from premier's department.
Thank heavens we also have those who are brave enough to attend to the deadly and pesky duck problem! Kind of the dept to encourage them to 'enjoy their harvest'. Surely a re-introduced and expanded duck destruction season is just what we need...
Illegal Activities in Parks
If you see anyone doing anything suspicious in a park or reserve, please report it. Illegal activities may include:
· hunting of any kind
· trapping or collecting birds, birds' eggs, reptiles or other animals
· driving or riding vehicles, bikes and horses on unauthorised track
to assist rice farmers
Over the past two years NSW and inland Australia have been experiencing significant rainfall. As a result of this, ducks have been breeding up over the past 18 months. The rainfall has also meant that this year there will be significant areas of rice grown in southern NSW. Holders of NSW Game Hunting Licences can participate in the NSW Game Bird Management Program and assist farmers by controlling ducks that have the potential to ruin crops by eating the freshly planted seed, young emerging plants and, later, the mature crop.
Will I be able to utilise the ducks harvested under this program?
Yes, although the program is a mitigation program, hunters must hunt ethically and legally. Game Council also encourages all hunters involved to remove and utilise the ducks taken in the program so that they can enjoy the wild harvest.
If you're not pissed off with the World, you're just not paying attention.
"The Nature of Robertson"
If you're not pissed off with the World, you're just not paying attention.
"The Nature of Robertson"
<Morton NP - Map 2013 - web.jpg>