$10 A SNOUT: Gympie offers lofty reward for feral pig scalps
GYMPIE Regional Council has confirmed it has offered "snout bounties" turned in by local hunters "for some time" - and at double the price proposed by Queensland councils lobbying the State Government to try to decrease feral pig numbers.
A spokesman said council will continue to pay "$10 for feral pig snouts and tails and $40 for wild dogs (nose to tail)" after other councils that are worried about farming and environmental dangers associated with feral pigs passed a motion for the bounty at the Local Government Association of Queensland's annual conference earlier this week.
"Last financial year council paid approximately $25,700 in bounty payments ... this figure is fairly typical of what bounty claims are made each year," the spokesman said.
"Council takes its responsibility to the environment seriously. As part of this commitment, council's aim is to achieve sustainable land use across the region.
"Pests, whether plants or animals, pose a threat to agribusiness, and in turn the livelihoods of many of our residents and the environment."
Sandy Creek ginger farmer John Dickfos said feral pigs posed an "absolute problem" and had cost him "thousands" in damages.
"They don't actually eat the ginger, but they move into a patch and turn it over with their snouts, which does a lot of damage," Mr Dickfos said.
"They were a huge problem in 2016 especially, they cost thousands of dollars, but they haven't been on our farm as much this year because of how wet it's been.
"I'm not a crack shot, but I shoot about three or four pigs every year. If I was a professional hunter I would have shot a lot more.
"I absolutely encourage hunters to act on these bounties because pigs continue to be a massive pest problem. As long as it's done responsibly it's absolutely worth doing."
Amamoor hunter Les Gain, who now helps neighbours by laying traps and setting up cameras to catch feral pigs on their properties, estimated more than $100,000 in crops lost on his macadamia farm in the past five to six years.
Mr Gain said he had recently collected bounties for 95 snouts from council.
"I started taking an interest in setting up the traps because of the damage they've done," he said.
"People have started taking a lot more interest now, so there's a bit more success than there used to be. There's been some compensation, but nowhere near enough because there's so many of them. The only way to keep them out is electric fencing, but the costs are too expensive."
Mr Gain also noted health risks associated with the infestations and said he had seen pigs "covered" in paralysis ticks.
Boulia Shire Council's motion at the LGAQ conference called for councils and the Government to offer matched funding to get the bounty underway.
Mayor Rick Britton said it was important there was the same bounty price across the state.
The council argued co-operation between landholders, community groups and local government was essential for the bounty's success, but Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said there was "little evidence" to suggest bounties were an effective way to control pests.