Hunting in some NSW National Parks

NSW & ACT specific bushwalking discussion.
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NSW & ACT specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby johnw » Sat 02 Jun, 2012 10:20 am

I haven't yet commented on this issue as I've been mostly pre-occupied with work and other matters this week. But I've been following the discussion with great interest. When I saw this announced on the evening news my reaction was a combination of outrage and utter disbelief. I'll comment further later on but let's hope this stupid decision can be turned around. Needless to say I will be petitioning for its reversal and in our household that process is already underway. I'd like to applaud Matt/Wildwalks and Tim/Fat Canyoner for facilitating avenues for people to protest, and the members here for an informed and considered debate. It's probably obvious by now but I am opposed to hunting in National Parks (other than NPWS culling programs by rangers and/or licensed professionals), however I'm not against hunting in principle.
John W

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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby wildwalks » Sat 02 Jun, 2012 2:22 pm

Greenie wrote:...waiting by my radio to listen to Matt on the radio. He will be on 92.5 ABC Central Coast shortly. ....
I hope Barry is also listening


Hehe
People do listen, hope I was clear (felt a bit all over the place). It was great to have a people call in - It is exciting to hear the wider community joining in on the debate.

http://nohunting.wildwalks.com
We are getting a few more resources up there. We have had over 150 people use it to send letters so far - pretty good start.
Please add this URL to your facebook page, tweet it - or write it on a bit of paper to share it with you friends.

Thanks for all the support and rallying around this
Again big thanks to Fat Canyoner, Geoffmallo, Tony the NSW NPA and so many other keen people all working hard to let Mr O'Farrell know this is not OK.
Maybe this democracy thing can work

I am really enjoying the debate here, thanks everyone for keeping a good tone.

Matt :)
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby crankybugger » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 12:57 am

Hi everyone

I've only just found this forum and read the posts and I think you all should be congratulated on a civilised and rational discussion. I hope my post below is written and read with the same qualities.

As you can see by my user name I'm not happy with recreational hunting in national parks. For the sake of disclosure, I am one of the national park rangers imposing work bans on hunting in national parks.

There are so many things to comment about, I'm not sure where to start and I apologise if they tumble all over the place so I'll throw some information out there for your consideration and response.

  • 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 http://www.gamecouncil.nsw.gov.au/docs/ ... -parta.pdf 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 http://www.feral.org.au/pestsmart/ 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.

Anyway, thats just a few of the thoughts going through mind at the moment, but its late and need to get some sleep.

cheers

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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby highercountry » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 3:57 pm

A point I would like to raise is that very few hunters carry out the animal/s they have shot. It is very difficult, if not impossible to drag a dead pig or deer any great distance. Most hunting is about trophy kills, not meat. Typically, a hunter wants a large, mature stag, not a sexually mature, breeding doe. Killing a sexually mature doe has far greater impact on population numbers than removing a rapidly replaced stag.
In Victoria the DSE estimate that around 30,000 deer are shot each year. That is an enormous amount of carrion left sitting in the bush. There is a growing body of evidence that wild/pest dogs are feeding on this abundant "gift" from the hunters and that as a consequence dog numbers are swelling. Hunting is contributing to, not solving the problem.
Recreational hunting has an insignificant impact on pest animal populations and actually makes activities such as professional pig, dog and horse trapping very difficult. Pigs, dogs and horses disperse at the sound of gunfire. A few shots can spoil weeks of careful trap preparation, free feeding and the gaining of a pest species trust enough for it to enter a trap and take a bait.
Allowing recreational shooting in a National Park is foolishness and displays a total lack of understanding of the nature of feral animals and their control.
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby hikingdude » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 6:06 pm

There is a lot of overreaction to this proposal. For starters, there will only be 70 Parks open to hunting, of which only a small portion of the Park will be declared a hunting area. State Forests, which see greater numbers of people each year, have been declared hunting zones for the last decade. Hunting has been very successful in the forests and no incidents at all have occourred.

The same hysteria was put forth when the proposal to open the forests for hunting a decade ago. Green groups and the media engaged in a massive fear campaign which turned out to be rubbish - just like this campaign will .
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby Tony » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 6:25 pm

hikingdude wrote:There is a lot of overreaction to this proposal. For starters, there will only be 70 Parks open to hunting, of which only a small portion of the Park will be declared a hunting area. State Forests, which see greater numbers of people each year, have been declared hunting zones for the last decade. Hunting has been very successful in the forests and no incidents at all have occourred.

The same hysteria was put forth when the proposal to open the forests for hunting a decade ago. Green groups and the media engaged in a massive fear campaign which turned out to be rubbish - just like this campaign will .


Hi Hikingdude,

Could you define and expand on " Hunting has been very successful in the forests" .

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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby hikingdude » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 6:43 pm

Hi Tony,

Recreational hunting has removed many feral pests from State Forests.
There have been no safety incidents at all.
It has allowed people with a passion for hunting who don't have access to private land a place to hunt.
Economic benefits for rural areas.
Employment opportunities for over 400 people.
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby Tony » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 7:07 pm

hikingdude wrote:Hi Tony,

Recreational hunting has removed many feral pests from State Forests.
There have been no safety incidents at all.
It has allowed people with a passion for hunting who don't have access to private land a place to hunt.
Economic benefits for rural areas.
Employment opportunities for over 400 people.


Hi hikingdude,

I have no doubt hunting of feral pests has removed many pests from state forests but the question I have is that "has hunting reduced numbers of feral pests in state forest" and if so can you show me where I can read any results to prove this.

Maybe there have been no shooting incidents in State Forest yet, I will try and check that, but history shows that it will only be a matter of time before there is a shooting incident and shooting in NP's where there are more bushwalkers is another matter, I hunting was allowed in NP's where I walk I would fear for my safety.

Hunting in Open farm land is different than thick forest, I can see that hunting of feral's on farms has some economic impact.

Can you show me some proof that hunting in forest employs 400 people.

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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby hikingdude » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 7:54 pm

Hi Tony,

I don't have any evidence to show a reduction in feral animal numbers throughout state forests. However, I know for a fact that I see less feral animals in State Forests than I do in National Parks. Furthermore, Game Council NSW statistics show that an estimated 660,000 feral animals have been removed from forests and private land since 2006.

Also, hunting related incidents are extremely rare - in NSW they have been entirely absent. You may say that you feel unsafe in a Park that allows hunting, but your fear is irrational. For instance, your chance of dying from hypothermia on a walk is magnitudes greater than a gun shot. Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities there is.

Also, a report by the Australian Deer Association shows the direct and indirect employment opportunities made possible by recreational hunters. Game Council NSW staff, gun dealers, hunting guides and outfitters, hunting accommodation and rural support are examples.
Reference:
thttp://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/reso ... 264ada.pdf
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby highercountry » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 8:49 pm

hikingdude wrote:Game Council NSW statistics show that an estimated 660,000 feral animals have been removed from forests and private land since 2006.


That should read killed. Not removed. A small fraction of that number are physically removed. The remaining carcasses provide an excellent food source for foxes, dogs, cats and pigs.

hikingdude wrote:..... I know for a fact that I see less feral animals in State Forests than I do in National Parks


Anecdotal. One man's observation. Doesn't establish it as a fact. Doesn't mean a thing.
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby Pteropus » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 9:17 pm

Firstly, I don’t think there is a right or wrong in the issue of hunting or hunting in National Parks per se and everyone can have their say. However, I personally don’t agree with the idea of amateur hunters having access to National Parks, for the reasons I have stated in previous posts to this thread. I do not think that using the reason that recreational hunters are going to help manage feral populations is a reasonable or legitimate excuse to allow hunters into National Parks.

Just because ‘thousands’ of feral animals are being killed, it doesn’t mean that recreational hunting is having a negative impact on their populations. Another issue is that species targeted are most likely going to be game such as deer or pigs, but rarely cats or foxes. Sure, one or two people might have a passion for removing cats and foxes too, such as jackhinde stated, but I am sure most hunters are more interested in game, such as matagi, who stated that the idea is to consume the animal he kills. I have no problem with that aspect of hunting, however that is not a form of population control and shouldn’t be used as an excuse for recreational hunting in National Parks. Unless a concentrated effort is made on taking out animals across the demographics of their populations, recreational hunting most likely won’t make a dint.

There is also the safety aspect, which I think many people are worried about and I don’t think it is irrational for users of National Parks to have a fear of recreational hunters. I am sure 99 out of 100 hunters use their fire arms safely. However, you just have to type ‘hunting accidents australia’ into Google to find stories like:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-01/b ... nt/3926152
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-07-26/m ... ent/919774
http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/bo ... 5858132739

A mate of mine who hunts and also shoots at a rifle range also said that he has seen some terrible shooters at the range and hopes they never get into a National Park with a gun. I have driven through State Forests such as the Pilliga and seen road signs shot up and camp sites with bullet casings everywhere. Sure, maybe that was done by the 1 irresponsible hunter in 100, but how can that type of behaviour be policed in a National Park? I am not lumping all hunters into the one basket either, but we all know the consequences of the actions of the irresponsible few will be devastating, whether to humans, wildlife or the reputation of hunters in general.

Lastly, comparing State Forests and National Parks with each other is like comparing apples and oranges. A State Forest is managed for harvesting timber and not so much for the conservation value (though SFs are recognised for their conservation value). National Parks are managed for their conservation value alone. That is why many recreational activities such as mountain biking have been banned on most single track throughout the countries National Parks. The conservation comes first before the user of the park. Well, that is how it is supposed to be. I think that the control of feral species should be left up to the professionals, not the amateurs. Simple as that. Sure, the professionals might not get it right all the time, and that is because they are working on limited budgets. But I will say again, letting recreational hunters in will not take up the slack in reducing populations feral animals.

So what I want to know is, with a plethora of areas to hunt in, WHY do recreational hunters want this access to National Parks anyhow?
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby Tony » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 9:35 pm

Hi Crankybugger,

Welcome to Bushwalk Australia forum.

It is great to get a view of someone involved in National Park feral animal control.

I have spent most of the weekend reading papers from Feral.org and ISC and I have read a lot of literature that backs what you have written.

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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby forest » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 10:02 pm

Tony wrote:Hi Crankybugger,

Welcome to Bushwalk Australia forum.

+1, Very interested in your input.

crankybugger wrote:*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.

I feel this is the best comment out of them all.
If this were a rational decision to allow NP Rec Hunting, based on solid info maybe it wouldn't see so much opposition.
We should not just lobby for no NP hunting but also no power privatisation.

highercountry wrote:Recreational hunting has an insignificant impact on pest animal populations and actually makes activities such as professional pig, dog and horse trapping very difficult. Pigs, dogs and horses disperse at the sound of gunfire. A few shots can spoil weeks of careful trap preparation, free feeding and the gaining of a pest species trust enough for it to enter a trap and take a bait.

This is true but one would have to think if a well thought out trapping plan was in action that Rec hunting would be banned in the area of XX time until the traps were cleared ?? I would hope it would be as I agree that shooting scares the critters off.
highercountry wrote:That should read killed. Not removed. A small fraction of that number are physically removed. The remaining carcasses provide an excellent food source for foxes, dogs, cats and pigs.
Okay, yep those animals will eat carcasses. But if a carcass isn't there will that same animal do further damage to the enviroment and eat small native animals instead.
Also I would be very interested in hearing if NP's remove all the large numbers of "kills" when undertaking a high count helicopter cull in rugged terrain.
I would think not but could be wrong.

If the aim is reducing numbers than my opinion is call in the choppa's. As stated this is very effective.

I know there is a lot of concern regarding NP rec hunting and plenty of stat's posted regarding NZ deaths. I do believe VIC has NP hunting and has done for quite some time. There has been a few tragic deaths from hunters shooting hunters but I don't think a walker has ever been shot ??

The guys I know that hunt state forests are not trophy hunting. They are generally just out there to shoot feral's whilst in SF's. (I don't think they get much though....)
The same group will target trophy animal's on private land though as will I on occasion. I think most hunters will have a different mindset when on gov land hunting as we do understand that there is a different reason for being out there.
I am a GEAR JUNKIE and GRAM COUNTER !!

There, It's out. I said it, Ahh I feel better now :lol:
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby crankybugger » Sun 03 Jun, 2012 10:53 pm

Thanks Son of a Beach, I was wondering where my post went :) I feel as though I should have added a space between the dot points :)

HI Tony, thanks for the welcome.

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 http://www.investigatemagazine.com/jul03hunt.htm

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.

Someone asked about whether NPWS removes carcasses from our parks after an aerial cull. The short answer is no, its impractical as the terrain is very rugged and we operate over very large areas. As suggested, this provides a short term food supply for carnivores, however I'm not aware of any research which indicates this leads better survival rates of feral species. As forest said, there may be some short term prey switching away from native animals and I'm sure the wedge tailed eagles don't mind an easy feed - but I haven't heard of any research on the matter.

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 http://nohunting.wildwalks.com/map

cheers

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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby Pteropus » Mon 04 Jun, 2012 7:56 am

Hi cankybugger, welcome. It is good to get a parks ranger's point of view.

I guess this is the whole crux of the matter ->
crankybugger wrote: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.
<- that the decission is purely political and not for conservation purposes.

crankybugger wrote:...*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.

And this is my big concern, more so than the safety aspect. People deliberately maintaining feral populations so they can continue hunting them. This is already the case with stocking some streams with fish.

Cheers and good luck!
Andrew
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby izogi » Mon 04 Jun, 2012 9:55 am

Tony wrote:it will only be a matter of time before a bushwalker is shot at, injured or killed as it has been the case in NZ recently


I haven't been following this (until this morning), but for the public safety perspective, which New Zealand incidents are people referring to? NZ occasionally has close calls, but it's very rarely with recreational walkers or trampers. There are a few shootings each year, which tend to be concentrated during the Roar (when the once-a-year guys are out). Virtually all are idiot hunters stupidly shooting their mates. This isn't acceptable but statistically that tends to be where the main danger is more than hunters shooting recreational walkers. There was a high profile incident in late 2010 when a group of idiots were illegally spotlighting from the back of a truck on a public road and shot a woman cleaning her teeth in a road-side DoC camp-site. There have been a couple of less usual hunter-shooting-hunter incidents where the hunters were in different parties, like one in 2009 ( http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/ ... l/1012371/ ) and another recently in the Aorangis (possibly more packed with hunters in NZ than any other range, and not of much interest for tramping). As far as I know, the 2010 incident is the only verified incident in recent history (last 10 years at least) where a non-hunter has been shot by someone thinking they're hunting. To be fair there have been occasionally close calls, nearly always people with weapons acting stupidly near back-country huts after dark, as far as I know.

I'm definitely not saying there aren't other great reasons for keeping hunting restricted or that NZ hunters won't stupidly shoot walkers in future, but statistically it doesn't happen much. On the other hand, using NZ as an example of hunters stupidly shooting and often killing their mates could work really well.
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby Tony » Mon 04 Jun, 2012 9:55 am

hikingdude wrote:Hi Tony,

I don't have any evidence to show a reduction in feral animal numbers throughout state forests. However, I know for a fact that I see less feral animals in State Forests than I do in National Parks. Furthermore, Game Council NSW statistics show that an estimated 660,000 feral animals have been removed from forests and private land since 2006.


Hi Hikingdude,

When you look at the number of feral animals in NSW, 660,000 feral animals removed over the last 5 or so years is not really a lot in the grand scheme of feral animal control. In the literature on feral animal control, I keep reading that recreational hunting does very little to control numbers, in some cases recreational hunting can help increase feral animal numbers, if you realy want to know the facts, here are some links Invasive Animals CRC , invasive species council and www.feral.org.au.

Even if Recreational hunting was more successful that it actually is, some feral animals like pigs and goats have the ability to increase breading up to 70-80% after numbers have been reduced, others at a lower rate.

Also, hunting related incidents are extremely rare - in NSW they have been entirely absent. You may say that you feel unsafe in a Park that allows hunting, but your fear is irrational. For instance, your chance of dying from hypothermia on a walk is magnitudes greater than a gun shot. Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities there is.


I am sorry but I will differ with you here, while hunting incidents are rare, they still do happen, just last week a house on the outskirts of Queanbeyan was shot at by a careless hunter, hunting nearby, it was only luck that the occupants where not hit. Can you 100% guarantee that if hunting is allowed in National Parks that there will be no shooting incidents ever, if not I rest my case. As you have pointed out bushwalking has enough dangers as it is I do not want any more dangers especially bullets from careless gun hunters. I was in NZ last year where I experienced gunshots while walking in the Dart Valley, it made me feel very uneasy, especially after talking to a hunter on my previous NZ trip, he was telling stories that he has seen hunters shooting at deer across popular walking tracks, on that walk we came across some hunters on the track with guns ready, we also heard gun shots in the distance. I will never feel relaxed when bushwalking with gunshots in the distance.

I am sorry while most gun hunters are very safety conscious, I am not convinced all are, I will and do fear for my safety if hunting is allowed in National Parks.


[quote]Also, a report by the Australian Deer Association shows the direct and indirect employment opportunities made possible by recreational hunters. Game Council NSW staff, gun dealers, hunting guides and outfitters, hunting accommodation and rural support are examples.
Reference:
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resou ... 264ada.pdf quote]

Thanks for the link to the Deer Australian Deer Association (NSW) submission to the Taskforce on Tourism and National Parks, it was very interesting reading.

Tony
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby FatCanyoner » Mon 04 Jun, 2012 11:08 am

Big thanks to Crankybugger for joining the forum and providing that great information from an insider directly involved in managing the issue of feral animals in our national parks. I found it incredibly useful. They are definitely some of the most informative posts so far (although there has been some great debate which I'm currently trying to catch up on after a weekend of walking). I've actually updated my blog post with your comments, linking back to this thread, which I hope you are fine with (please let me know if it is an issue).

I will point out that I have been blown away by how quickly the shooting lobby have swung into action on this. So far I have had comments on my blog from plenty of hunters (I think because of a link which was shared on a hunting forum), including two councillors from the Game Council NSW, an organiser from the Shooters and Fishers Party, and the editor of a hunting magazine. None of these people identified who they were, simply claiming to be ordinary hunters. From what I can tell they are very well versed in these arguments and like playing the 'I'm just an ordinary outdoor enthusiast who happens to shoot' card. Some of the other posts have been by people whose email addresses appear nowhere else on the internet, so I assume are fakes used to post with. I won't be surprised if some of these people have posted comments on here.

Given I am trying to implement some level of disclosure and honesty on those comments, I'll do the same for myself. I've never hunted, but I have done extensive target shooting and am not anti-guns per se. I am not a member of a political party, although I am a member of several conservation organisations. I hold no positions, either voluntary or paid, with any organisation involved in this debate.

Finally, for me there are a couple key things that this entire debate boils down to:
1) What is the primary role of our national parks: conservation or recreation?
2) What is the best way to managed invasive species and feral animals: with centrally controlled professionals or well-meaning amateurs?
3) And do you believe that powerful firearms are compatible with other outdoor pursuits?

The reason I am opposed to this policy is because I believe national parks are first and foremost about conservation. I believe coordinated professionals governed by scientific research are the best form of pest management. And as someone familiar with guns, and the inherent risks they can pose, I don't believe they should be allowed on public land where other members of the public are. If you don't share those three points, you will probably come to a different conclusion.

Unlike other dangerous pursuits like base jumping (which are banned) where the person at risk of dying is the willing participant, the victim of a mistake by a hunter will be the poor *&%$#! who happens to be at the wrong end of the gun!

As far as I am concerned it is only a matter of time before someone is maimed or killed because of this policy (whether a bushwalker or a hunter). Given I strongly believe that I don't want to end up with blood on my hands because I sat back and did nothing. It shouldn't just be our politicians who are held to account if lives are lost because of this policy.
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby forest » Mon 04 Jun, 2012 11:08 am

Just as a small side note I wonder what will happen in Kosci if hunters are allowed in regarding the alpine huts ??
That's probably a micro issue in the scheme of things but something to ponder.

NZ hut's are all a DOC's affair which run's all activities in the parks ie: shooting and walking (Tramping)
They have strict firearms codes and rangers to enforce breaches if they are on hand. I believe most follow the reg's and even if they don't... They still have known reg's in place.

As the alpine hut's are run by a different group to NPWS and definately not under the game council who will regulate occupants usage and regulations.

I could just see a carload of hunters turning up, moving in and spending a week at say, Pretty plain hut in Kosci.

If they are not allowed in the alpine huts who's to manage that if there is a breach. I'm not comfortable touting the rules to a bunch of gun whelding dudes.
At least in NZ the hut users are registered and you would know who they are if in breach and you could report once back home.
I am a GEAR JUNKIE and GRAM COUNTER !!

There, It's out. I said it, Ahh I feel better now :lol:
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby forest » Mon 04 Jun, 2012 11:40 am

Thanks for the blog and comments fat canyoner. Good stuff.

Matt's comment is where I stand even as a hunter.
"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."
I go to a NP to enjoy it, AS IS. If feral's get bad bring in the pro's to control things.

FatCanyoner wrote:I won't be surprised if some of these people have posted comments on here.

Not me, I'm lobbying just as hard as the rest to stop this.

Just as a cheeky comment.... What would be worse.
Rounding a corner and bumping into a toothless hill billy with a gun and denim overall's, no tee shirt. He say's Hi, are you alone.....
Or
Rounding a corner and bumping into a few naked bushwalkers, They say Hi, are you alone.....

The mind boggles :oops:
I am a GEAR JUNKIE and GRAM COUNTER !!

There, It's out. I said it, Ahh I feel better now :lol:
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby izogi » Mon 04 Jun, 2012 11:46 am

forest wrote:They have strict firearms codes and rangers to enforce breaches if they are on hand. [...] At least in NZ the hut users are registered and you would know who they are if in breach and you could report once back home.


NZ has strict regs, but with the exception of a few very touristy locations there are very few rangers around, certainly not ones in a position to effectively monitor and regulate all the hunting that goes on everywhere, although if there was something obvious like gunshots reported in a park where hunting's banned, a person might be picked up on the way out.

People have to be licenced to own and use firearms in NZ generally, but there's nothing to reliably say who's been in a hut in New Zealand. The only huts that require any kind of formal booking, complete with names, are Great Walk huts and a couple of others in extremely popular touristy places, and it'd be very unusual for hunters to go there anyway if hunting were allowed. Most back-country huts have books which you're supposed to write in whenever staying or passing through, but many people don't through forgetfulness or otherwise, and certain parts of the hunting community in particular are notorious for intentionally not writing in the books. (Often due to paranoia about thinking they're being traced by the government for not paying for hut tickets, even though that really is paranoid imho.)
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby FatCanyoner » Mon 04 Jun, 2012 11:48 am

forest wrote:What would be worse.
Rounding a corner and bumping into a toothless hill billy with a gun and denim overall's, no tee shirt. He say's Hi, are you alone.....
Or
Rounding a corner and bumping into a few naked bushwalkers, They say Hi, are you alone.....

The mind boggles :oops:


Hahaha... gold! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Although now you know why I'm so concerned... what will happen if that toothless hillbilly spots my naked hide!!! :shock:
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby forest » Mon 04 Jun, 2012 11:50 am

FatCanyoner wrote:Although now you know why I'm so concerned... what will happen if that toothless hillbilly spots my naked hide!!!


ROFLMAO :lol:
I am a GEAR JUNKIE and GRAM COUNTER !!

There, It's out. I said it, Ahh I feel better now :lol:
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby wildwalks » Mon 04 Jun, 2012 8:27 pm

Wow Crankybugger - you have guts. THanks so much for sharing some of the feelings from the 'inside'.
I know how much NPWS hate bad press and people speaking out, so this is a very gutsy move.

Saw an interesting comment today

Robyn Parker (Enviro Minister NSW)
"This is important to get across that it is an extension of a feral animal eradication program, it will be strictly controlled, we have volunteers helping with our bushfire control program and this will be the same. "
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-04/minister-to-meet-park-rangers-over-hunting/4050612?section=nsw

My question to Mrs Parker is.
How many (approved) hazard reduction burns are conducted by solo volunteers?

I am a big fan of crowd sourcing, and people getting involved and helping out government agencies.
But if this was really about people partnering with NPWS in a similar way, then I doubt there would need to be a change in legislation (although I am no expert here).

Please keep the conversations going with people at work etc. It seems that the community is starting to buy the green-washed argument that the Govt is driving.

Matt :)
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby wildwalks » Wed 06 Jun, 2012 8:59 am

Another interesting thread here, about experiences of hunting in National Parks
http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10048#p132883

Interesting to hear the government feeling the pressure on this the last few days. Coming up with on the run policy announcements that this hunting will be more like how they use volunteers to help with hazard reduction burns. I still think that solo hazard reduction burns is called arson :).

Keep the conversation going with friends, the community seems to be buying the 'green-wash'.
Interestingly the NPWS rangers are just as upset by this policy after their meeting in Bathurst with the Premier

Matt :)
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby north-north-west » Wed 06 Jun, 2012 8:06 pm

crankybugger wrote:... Shooters and Fishers Party i... In 2009, they tried to introduce a bill that amongst other things ... forbid a national park ranger to approach within 10 metres of a licensed hunter on a national park without their permission ...


That is just insane. They could be doing all sorts of illegal things (like fires on TFB days or shooting protected species) and you wouldn't be able to check or ticket them for it. *&%$#! ridiculous idea.
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby wildlight » Wed 06 Jun, 2012 8:53 pm

So the ranger can approach the hunted animal without the hunter's permission... and asking permission about approaching the hunter from over 10 meters away might make enough noise to scare the animals off..?!

They might even try to prevent a national park ranger from approaching a waterway, for fear of scaring the fish therein which the fisher person is trying to catch... (licence or no licence- and we'll never know if the ranger cannot approach"

Too bad if it's 30 degrees and the poor NP Ranger needs a drink!

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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby Pteropus » Fri 08 Jun, 2012 11:00 am

I am sceptical about the effectiveness of online petitions, especially to governments, but there is this online petition that will apparently be sent to Barry O’Farrell’s government to prevent hunting in NPs.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/sto ... parks.html
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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby johnw » Tue 12 Jun, 2012 1:59 am

wildwalks wrote:Great to hear all the good debate.

Check out http://nohunting.wildwalks.com/
We have set up a system to make it easy for those who want to write to your local member about this issue.
You just drop in your details. From you postcode work we can work out who your local member is.
And we set up a draft fully pre-populated e-mail.
You can edit the e-mail and then press send.

The more customising you can do the better. But you can be in and out in about 1 minute if you want.

I have also put up a map of the effected parks. The site is still a work in progress, there are more bits to add and the map to clean up as well.
If you have any extra stuff to contribute just email (matt at wildwalks dot com). I hope to get a bit more up in the next few hours

Thanks

Matt :)
(a big thanks to Geoffmallo and the NPA for there help in making this happen)

Took a while to draft something but now done and sent, finally.
John W

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Re: Hunting in some NSW National Parks

Postby Tony » Tue 12 Jun, 2012 7:04 am

This just get worse with this recreational hunting in NP's, it is looking like that the National Parks are going to be closed to all other park users when the recreational hunters want to go hunting.
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