Is hunting conservation?

The NSW and Victorian governments have been funding recreational hunting and opening access to public lands on the basis that hunters can control feral animals.

But evidence (including the failure of numerous bounties) shows that, at best, hunters can supplement more effective methods of feral animal control or provide control in small, accessible areas.

Funding recreational hunting as a primary method of control is a waste of taxpayers’ money. There is also the risk that opening up public lands to hunting creates an incentive for maverick hunters to shift feral animals into new areas – as has occurred particularly with pigs and deer.

The Invasive Species Council has been working with other environment groups to oppose legislation to expand hunting into NSW national parks, allow private hunting reserves, and permit the release of exotic birds rated as a serious or extreme pest threat by Australian governments as well as seeking to reduce the threat to animal control posed by hunting in Victoria and Tasmania.

A decision by the NSW Government in Jul 2013 to abolish the NSW Game Council is an important improvement. We are still waiting to see how this unfolds to determine if hunters in NSW continue to undermine effective feral animal control.