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Gympie's big boar hunt takes down almost 700 feral pigs

CHAMPION EFFORT: Gympie Regional Council representative Dimitri Scordalides and lands protection officer Bree Galbraith, with Jacob Pilkington and pig hunt promoter Ron Owen at the council’s John St Depot, where the snouts were handed over.
CHAMPION EFFORT: Gympie Regional Council representative Dimitri Scordalides and lands protection officer Bree Galbraith, with Jacob Pilkington and pig hunt promoter Ron Owen at the council’s John St Depot, where the snouts were handed over. Patrick Woods

THE weekend's Gympie region big boar hunt represents much more than a cosmetic approach to feral pest management, according to hunt promoter Ron Owen.

Pig fat, a raw material for cosmetics, including moisturisers and makeup, will be among by-products from the event, Mr Owen said yesterday.

But the 660 pigs killed from Friday to Sunday represent a great deal more than that, he said.

Those shot, knifed or brought down with bow and arrow over the weekend made up a dead weight, literally, of more than 10 tonnes.

Mr Owen says this represents an incalculable and priceless tonnage of valuable produce - possibly hundreds of tonnes of macadamias, ginger and fruit - consumed during their lifetimes.

"One pig can consume 6kg of macadamia nuts an hour," he says, illustrating the major economic and environmental impact of feral pigs, reportedly in increasing numbers all over Australia.

Proceeds from Mr Owen's event go entirely to the Wandering Warriors charity, organised by the Australian SAS Association to raise money for the care of veterans and their families.

Yesterday, Mr Owen added to the funds raised by nomination fees by presenting Gympie Regional Council with 443 snouts.

He said he was happy to collect the council feral pest bounty of about $10 a snout.

And he said the competition, now well established and with considerable support from local businesses, will be looking for a major sponsor for next year.

And next year's event should be bigger still.

Contestants shot 338 feral pigs in the Gympie region for last year's event, almost doubling this to 660 pigs this year.

In line with an annual doubling of the estimated feral pig population Australia-wide, Mr Owen says he expects contestants to bag in the order of 1200 pigs next year.

He says the pigs do massive environmental damage and cost the agricultural sector many millions of dollars.

Mr Owen's Queensland Big Boar Championships aimed to address the economic and environmental issues by helping reduce feral pig numbers, while also promoting the image of shooters.

Heaviest pig events for men and women were won by Roger Hayden and Natlie Cepeniuk, with a range of donated prizes for other events.

Topics:  editors picks feral pigs pig hunters pig hunting

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