Australian landscape needs hunting now more than ever

The role hunting plays in land and animal management has been a hot topic in news and current events around Australia in recent months as previously flooded land becomes flush with vegetation and firearms laws are rewritten.

Despite the clear connection between hunting and strategies to control pest animals and the cultural place hunting has in society, the validity of the concept is often questioned by our state’s leaders.

SSAA National has recently extended its support to the Australian Bowhunters Association in its bid to protect the future of bowhunting in South Australia, as the SA Government considers banning recreational bowhunting.

The future of duck and quail hunting in SA and Victoria is also in question and SSAA National, SSAA South Australia and SSAA Victoria are actively advocating, making formal submissions and have been involved in deputations for several inquiries on the matter. Our hunters are skilled conservation volunteers who care for the environment and prioritise animal welfare by seeking ethical humane kills.

In the west there has been some debate around the need for hunters to help farmers and pastoralists control pest animal populations. But the discussion continues to return to the multiple conflicting demands on landowners and the valuable service hunters provide in helping with pest control responsibilities.

Farmers from Central West New South Wales to Queensland are reporting a surge in pig numbers, with crops being trampled and livestock being eaten after years of heavier than average rainfall. Farmers using multiple control methods including baiting, trapping and aerial shooting are counting the costs of the damage and the resources needed to control the pigs.

Populations of deer in NSW and Victorian public lands are booming and wild deer are spreading to outer-urban areas and presenting a real management issue.

Hunting is just one tool in the toolbox landowners and state governments have available to manage pest animals and the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia and the 212,000-plus state and territory SSAA members are the perfect resource. The SSAA Farmer Assist program is a free service for landholders to connect with skilled volunteer hunters to outsource pest-control services. Our Conservation and Wildlife Management branch members use their shooting skills to assist in the conservation of native animals and the management or control of pest animals.

As members of your SSAA state or territory Association, consider sharing our message to assist with public perception in your wider networks, involving yourself in public consultations when relevant and volunteering your time with SSAA Farmer Assist or SSAA CWM programs. The actions of our skilled and responsible volunteer hunters speak volumes for the important role we play in conservation.

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