State forest pest hunting would help Gympie, petitioner says
A QUEENSLAND Parliament petitioner has pointed to the Gympie region as a major beneficiary of a proposed three-year state forest feral game hunting trial.
Environmental Science student Daniel Boniface authored the petition in September and has since attracted 9448 signatures, with feral deer, goat, pig, fox, dog and cat species in the firing line.
The petition referenced schemes already in place south of the border which have "proven to be both safe and successful”.
"Allowing the trial would absolutely benefit rural areas doing it tough from drought and other issues not just environmentally but economically,” Mr Boniface said.
"Recreational hunters would be able to travel through the region and across the state to support businesses, and support jobs in large rural and regional areas.”
Mr Boniface previously told The South Burnett Times the damage of uncontrolled pest populations may soon become "irreversible”.
"The obvious issues include predation of native animals, marsupials and ground-dwelling birds,” he said.
"What isn't so well known are the environmental issues such as soil erosion, land degradation, water pollution and the perpetuation of pathogens carried by feral pigs.
"As it stands, if dramatic reduction of the populations of introduced species was to begin soon, it would still take many years for the impacts of that mitigation to be observed in the environment.”
Mr Boniface said he had noticed a high number of signatures compared to other Queensland Parliament petitions but conceded he was "disappointed” given the amount of firearm owners in Queensland.
He said "disunity” and "apathy” within shooting sports had limited the petition's success.
Gympie gun lobbyist Ron Owen endorsed the petition and said it would more effectively curtail the region's feral pig problem.
Mr Owen said the vast majority of an estimated 28,000 shooter's licence holders in the Gympie region would support the move.
The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia Queensland has "more than 68,000 members”.
"There was a similar petition a while ago but it fell through, the government have got to look at it eventually,” Mr Owen said.
"Pigs are so much worse now, it is so immense and so troublesome.
"Farmers can keep the pigs off their properties but once they cross into national parks nothing can be done.
"They all would want it to happen, every farmer and every landowner. The economical impact pests have affects all of them.”
Mr Owen said an argument could be made for shooting pests being the "most humane way” for them to die, ahead of being mauled by dogs or poisoned.
The Queensland Government estimates "feral pigs alone ... reduce grain production by $12 million a year” while "wild dogs cost $33 million a year in livestock losses, diseases spread and control”.
The petition closes in February next year.