Supressors and Feral Deer on the Agenda in Tasmania

Shooters Union Tasmania had a meeting a few weeks ago with the Tasmanian Police Minister, Jacquie Petrusma, to discuss widening the availability of suppressors and Category C firearms in the state.

While little headway was made on these issues, it was a productive and civil conversation which has served to raise SU’s profile with the Tasmanian Government.

SU Tasmania has also had some initial discussions with the Invasive Species Council and Bob Brown Foundation regarding the issue of feral deer in the state; we are pushing to have their semi-protected status removed in a bid to control their numbers.

We look forward to further discussions with these groups as we work to find a sustainable way to manage deer in Tasmania – preferably one that involves less bureaucracy for hunters to shoot them, especially if they are being harvested for food.

Weapons Licencing Verification System online now

WEAPONS Licensing Branch have launched a helpful new online tool which instantly provides a validity report on a Queensland firearms licence.

You can access the tool here

The online licence verification tool allows a user to enter a firearms licence number and expiry date, and will confirm if it is still valid or has been suspended.

While the new tool does not take the place of sighting a physical licence card, but should still prove useful for licensed gun dealers as well as regular shooters wanting to ensure a licensed friend is still properly authorised before lending them a firearm.

This is a step forward for Queensland and it is good to see WLB continuing to implement 21 st century technology in its firearms reporting systems.

State Forest Hunting Petition Support

ANYONE who has spent any time outside the city knows feral animals are a huge problem in Queensland.

Rabbits, hares, foxes, wild dogs, kangaroos, deer and feral pigs – they are all at plague proportions and a constant threat to our farmer’s livelihoods, eating feed needed by cows, nibbling away on vegetables meant for your dinner table, digging up fences and generally causing havoc.

Queensland environmental scientist Daniel Boniface is hoping to change that via a petition on the state government website calling for a three year trial of hunting in Queensland’s state forests.

You can sign the petition here.

The petition only applies to state forests – there is no call to open national parks for hunting – and its purpose is to establish a three year trial to prove viability and gain data to enable a properly informed discussion about implementing the scheme permanently.

Unlike New South Wales and Victoria, which have successful state forest hunting schemes in place, Queensland currently refuses to allow this and is subsequently missing out on literally millions of dollars in potential economic benefits – not just from hunting licence fees, but from
the flow-on effects to rural communities from tourism, accommodation, fuel sales, food purchases and the like.

The Economic Impact of Recreational Hunting in New South Wales report commissioned by the NSW Department of Primary Industries in 2017 stated that hunting in the state’s forests had generated $119 million in gross revenue for the 2016-17 financial year.

A 2014 report from Victoria – Estimating the economic impact of hunting in Victoria in 2013 – stated the activity was worth an estimated $439 million to the state.

Shooters Union wholeheartedly supports this petition and we urge our members, supporters and friends to sign it if they have not already done so – the benefits of the proposal are countless and would make a huge difference to shooters, landowners and nature-lovers across the state.
There are an estimated 200,000 licensed shooters in Queensland, a huge number of whom would dearly love the opportunity to keep these pests under control – except they’re not allowed into the state forests where these animals breed.

Landowners across Queensland have been telling us this is a huge problem – even if they shoot the pests on their land, they are still breeding in state forests where hunters cannot reach them due to the existing laws.

City-based shooters are crying out for somewhere to hunt and not everyone has the luxury of owning a suitable property or having a friend or family member with access to one.

In addition to helping keep feral pests under control and give our struggling farmers and rural communities a much needed hand, it will allow an entire generation of shooters to experience and enjoy hunting in Queensland’s great outdoors. Better access to hunting areas means more licensed shooters which means a stronger voice when we speak in support of our sport – the benefits are countless and the downsides are non-existent.

Support your sport and protect our natural environment – sign the petition and support hunting in Queensland’s state forests!

Article written by Royce Wilson on behalf of Shooters Union Australia.

Why we should all become hunters…

WILD deer are emerging as a bigger menace than dingoes in Queensland with warnings they may spread deadly foot-and-mouth disease to the billion-dollar beef herd.

There are at least 30,000 feral deer in Queensland, with landholders saying those numbers are vastly underestimated.

As well as carrying contagious diseases and ticks into tick-free cattle zones, the deer are competing with livestock and native animals for pasture.

The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions has begun an $8.7 million study to find ways to eradicate and contain the deer.

Matt Gentle, a Queensland Government biosecurity zoologist, has joined researchers using drones and thermal imaging to track deer.

Toowoomba-based Gentle says as well as the foot-and-mouth threat, wild deer harm agriculture and reforestation programs.

The deer trample crops or eat them. They also feast on certain native plants, as well as plants and flowers in parks and gardens.

Scientists discovered the animal’s agility when they photographed one crawling under a fence.

Gentle says wild deer (pictured) pose a growing traffic accident threat in so-called periurban areas like Brisbane’s western suburbs, the Sunshine Coast hinterland and the Moreton Bay Regional Council area.

Deer are in large numbers in the Brisbane Valley, on the Granite Belt and in bush zones west of Longreach, north of Clermont and on the Atherton Tableland.

Gentle says the four species causing damage in Queensland are the red deer, the rusa, the chital and the fallow deer. All are introduced.

Deer in Queensland are regularly trapped and shot from light planes and helicopters.

Some are poisoned.

Scientists attempting to count and track deer herds were this week crawling around in the bush counting deer poo pellets.

A Queensland Government report entitled Feral Deer Management Strategy suggests the invasive pest could be a money-spinner.

“Landholders may charge fees for access to hunt feral deer, and hunting guides and professional outfitters may generate income by servicing recreational deer hunters,” it says.

“There are opportunities for professional harvesters to supply the wild venison trade for both human consumption and the pet meat market.”

This is sensible. Those of us who have shot and eaten deer can attest to its tastiness.

Original article appeared in the Sunday Mail 8/12/18

Public Land Access Discussion

The Victorian Hound Hunters (Inc.) invites you to an evening of Q&A on Public Land Access…

The Victorian Hound Hunters Inc. would like to invite your political party to attend and evening of Q & A, the main topic being Public Land Access.

All relevant user groups will be invited to attend the evening. We look forward to your attendance.


Date: 31st October
Time: 6.30 pm
Venue: Healesville Football & Netball Club, 245 Don Road Healesville

RSVP – 15th October to huhnter01@gmail.com
(For catering purposes)

Regards Julie Couper
Secretary Victorian Hound Hunters Inc.


NSW: Calling for volunteer non-commercial kangaroo shooters

The following information applies to properties in New South Wales only.
Kangaroo management: Changes to non-commercial landholder licences and shooter requirements

Effective from Wednesday the 8th of August 2018, the NSW Government has made changes to landholder licences to harm kangaroos to reduce populations as part of a package of drought relief measures.

Experienced shooters with a current Firearms Licence and suitable firearms are invited to list their details on the Local Land Services (LLS) Kangaroo Shooter Register. Shooter details on the register are available to licensed landholders seeking assistance from professional or volunteer shooters.

You do not need a NSW Game Hunting Licence to participate.

NSW DPI Game Licensing Unit has been heavily involved in preparations for these changes alongside the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and LLS. We developed the Volunteer Non-Commercial Kangaroo Shooters Best Practice Guide to help guide the legal, safe, humane and ethical culling of kangaroos under these new arrangements.

What has changed?
  • Physical tags – no longer required.
  • More than two shooters may operate under a landholder licence at any time.
  • Shooters no longer need to be listed on the landholder’s licence at the time of application and only need to be listed on landholder licence returns after culling operations.
  • Carcasses may be removed for personal use (but not sold, swapped or traded).
Landholder licensing
Landholders are able to apply for a Licence to Harm Kangaroos over the phone or in person with their local National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) office.NPWS, part of OEH, will assess the property size and issue an allocation (like a quota) of kangaroos that may be non-commercially culled on that land.

How to qualify

How to help landholders
Landholders who are licensed to harm kangaroos are able to access a Local Land Services Kangaroo Shooter Register to find professional or volunteer shooters.You can register your interest using the online form provided by LLS (use the button below).

Remember, you must have permission before entering any property to shoot.and the property must be covered by a licence to harm kangaroos issued to the landholder by OEH/NPWS.

Register your interest: Volunteer or professional kangaroo shooters

Volunteer Non-Commercial Kangaroo Shooters Best Practice Guide

Detailed information about the changes is available on the following websites:

Shooters should also be familiar and comply with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Non-Commercial Purposes.

How Bore Cleaning Affects Accuracy

From the June 1965 issue of American Rifleman, an article about cleaning the bore of a smallbore rifle and how it can affect accuracy. By L.F. Moore.

Cleaning the bore
The frequency of cleaning the bore of the smallbore rifle varies widely among shooters, and match-winning scores are produced by individuals whose cleaning practices differ greatly.

Until 1937 several brands of smallbore match ammunition were loaded with a Lesmok propellant. This propellant, abandoned in 1947, was a mixture of black powder and guncotton which left a rust-producing salt residue in the bore on firing. Also, under some conditions it left fouling. It was necessary to clean the bore at least after each day of firing to avoid rustling or fouling. It is understandable that shooters developed the habit of frequent cleaning.

Recently, an extensive test was carried out to determine whether, under normal conditions, cleaning the bore of the smallbore match rifle is necessary. Four rifles were used to fire a total of 3800 rounds. Two M40X Remington rifles in new condition were selected to represent average match rifles, and one M37 Remington with an Eric Johnson barrel and a custom stock was selected to represent a rifle with a rough bore. Over 50,000 rounds had been fired in the Johnson barrel; the bore was very rough at 6 o’clock for about 2″ at the breech end, and there was some roughness at 6 o’clock throughout the rest of the bore. An additional rifle, an M52C Winchester in new condition, was used as a control. All firing was conducted under conditions as nearly uniform as possible except for bore condition and barrel temperature. The firing was done from a machine rest on a 100-yard enclosed range. A 20x telescope sight was mounted on the rifle.

A preliminary test was conducted for the purpose of selecting a lot of ammunition for each rifle which would give representative smallbore rifle accuracy. One lot of ammunition was fired in the M37, seven lots were fired in each M40X, and four lots in the M52C.

Testing at 2 temperatures
Two tests were then carried out, one at ambient and one at high temperature. In each test, five 10-round groups were fired without sighting or fouling shots in each of the two M40X and the M37 rifles. One target was set up directly before a second and, since the machine rest was not moved during the firing of a particular rifle, it was possible to obtain five 10-shot and one 50-shot groups by changing the front target after each 10 rounds.

Immediately after firing the five 10-shot groups, the rifle bore was cleaned without removing the rifle from the rest. The cleaning rod was a Parker-Hale. First a bronze brush was passed through the bore six times (three cycles). The brush was removed and a tip was assembled to accommodate a cotton cleaning patch. One patch saturated with Hoppe’s No. 9 bore cleaner was passed through the bore twice (one cycle). Two dry patches were then passed through the bore twice each (one cycle each). Five additional 10-shot groups were then fired without fouling shots. This procedure was repeated on three additional days. The M52C rifle fired five 10-shot groups on each day and it was not cleaned during this test.

The first shot fired from a rifle which had not been fired for some time was generally out of the normal group and on several occasions the second shot was also out of the group.

Excluding the first group, there was no significant difference in the size of the groups before and after cleaning. There was a day-to-day variation, not connected with cleaning, in groups fired with the M37 and the M52C rifles.

The above procedure for the ambient-temperature test was then repeated with the rifle barrel heated by six 250-watt infrared industrial reflector lamps positioned about 12″ from the barrel. The rifle was exposed to the heat for one hour prior to firing. The temperature, determined with a pyrometer, varied between 135°F and 180°F at different points on the barrel and at different times during the firing.

The temperature was sufficiently high to affect the definition of the telescope sight, apparently by condensation of moisture on the lenses. As in the previous test the difference in the group size before and after cleaning was not significant. In general, heating the barrel had an adverse effect on accuracy.

After completing the high-temperature test, the lamps were turned off and the rifles were permitted to cool. Each rifle then fired five 10-shot groups. The accuracy obtained after the rifles cooled was the same as that obtained in the ambient-temperature test.

Some fouling in bore
While no effect of fouling on accuracy was observed in these tests, some fouling is deposited in the bore of the smallbore rifle. The quantity is normally too small to be observed without an instrument giving magnification. Light fouling throughout the bore and frequently a comparatively heavy deposit at the bullet seat can be observed with a borescope after the rifle has fired considerable rounds. Fouling builds up gradually and in minute quantities during firing, and is difficult to remove even with a bronze brush.

It is possible for a bore to have unusual characteristics which would cause comparatively heavy fouling, but this would be uncommon on a match rifle. I have seen heavy fouling from firing modern rimfire ammunition in only two bores. One of these, in a match pistol barrel, had a rough finish. The other, that of a match rifle barrel which had been disassembled form the rifle, had a visible accumulation of fouling at one point. The reason for this deposit was not determined. The heavy deposit of fouling in both bores was removed with a few passes of a bronze brush.

It may be desirable to inspect the bore of match rifles periodically with respect to number of rounds fired. This can be done after pushing a patch through the bore to remove the loose residue which results from firing a round.

Except when the rifle has been exposed to adverse weather, it appears advantageous to clean the bore of the .22 rimfire rifle only infrequently.

Game licence statistics: Hunting booms in Victoria

ALLAN THOMPSON, The Weekly Times

HUNTING in Victoria continues to boom, driven mainly by a surge in the number of deer hunters, the latest Game Licence Statistics reveal.

Victoria now has more than 50,000 registered game licenced hunters, up from 24,000 a little more than 20 years ago, with deer hunter numbers soaring 365 per cent, from less than 9000 to more than 34,000, in the same period.

It is estimated that hunting now contributes more than $500 million to the Victorian economy and is vital to the economic health of many regional communities and towns.

“A 2013 Game Management Authority study showed hunting to be worth $439 million to Victoria,” Australian Deer Association spokesman Barry Howlett said.

“There were 44,000 registered hunters in 2013, so add another six thousand since then and the economic gains to Victoria each year must now be worth more than half a billion.

“The economic, social and environmental benefits of hunting in Victoria are difficult to overstate.”

Mr Howlett said surging deer populations had partly sparked the interest in the hunting boom, but that wasn’t the only reason why numbers were rising.

“Many people find there is something missing from urban society and hunting provides that reconnection to the bush and nature that is so powerful,” he said.

The surge in hunters is not without its challenges, Mr Howlett said, with compliance problems needing to be addressed.

“This data highlights, more than ever, the need for a strong, well resourced and empowered Game Management Authority in Victoria,” Mr Howlett said.

“Currently GMA is hamstrung from doing its job, GMA officers can’t go out without police escorts and given how few police there are in some of these areas there is very little compliance work going on.

“There’s more and more of us out there and society needs hunting to be well regulated.”

Queensland’s Banana Shire Council introduces $10 feral cat bounty

FERAL cats are now a hunted species after Banana Shire introduced a bounty on the pest.

The council will pay $10 for an adult cat’s scalp and $5 for a kitten.

The bounty is designed to stop the growing population of feral cats in rural areas of the central Queensland shire, where they are having a devastating effect on the native bird and mammal populations, The Morning Bulletin reports.

The council has allocated $25,000 in its Land Protection budget to cover the cost of the bounty and will continue the program until this funding is exhausted.

Environment and planning manager Chris Welch said a similar program recently introduced in the McKinlay Shire had a significant impact on the feral cat population.

“An increase in feral cat numbers has been observed, particularly though the rural areas of the shire, and council has received information from the Upper Dawson branch of the Queensland Wildlife Preservation Society raising the issue of impacts from feral and uncontrolled cats,” he said.

Mr Welch said the bounty would be restricted to feral animals destroyed on rural properties.

He said a property owner didn’t need to be the party destroying the animal and requesting payment, but must sign the payment request form giving a hunter permission to be on their property.

A recent study carried out by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the National Environmental Science Program found feral cats kill 316 million birds every year, while pet cats kill 61 million birds.

Lead researcher Professor John Woinarski said everybody knew cats killed birds, but this study showed the amount of predation was staggering at a national level.

“We found that the birds most likely to be killed by cats are medium-sized birds; birds that nest and feed on the ground, and birds that occur on islands or in woodlands, grassland and shrub lands,” he said.

“For Australian birds, cats are a longstanding, broadscale and deeply entrenched problem that needs to be tackled more effectively.

“Our knowledge of the impacts of cats on threatened mammals was a major stimulus for our first-ever national Threatened Species Strategy, which prioritised actions to control feral cats.”

Article written by Cameron McCrohon for the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin. Published 13/10/17 at 1:14pm.

Deer hunting: Sport is revitalising small towns in country Victoria

LUKE Davis was taught his way around a rifle not long after he took his first step.

“I’ve been following my dad around since I could walk, and have been going out by myself since I turned 18 and got my licence,” Mr Davis says.

He is from a family of “mad-keen” hunters who moved from Tasmania to Casterton in South West Victoria for greater access to the state’s “ideal” hunting terrain about 10 years ago.

More recently Mr Davis moved to Mansfield, one of Victoria’s hottest hunting destinations according to figures from a 2013 Department of Environment and Primary Industries report that looked at the economic impact of hunting in the state.

It found the sport accounted for 2.5 per cent of the shire’s economy, about $14.6 million, with sambar deer hunting the region’s main drawcard for recreational shooters.

Mr Davis is a meat manager at the town’s FoodWorks supermarket.

But in his spare time he recently started taking tourists on guided hunting tours. He says he started Alpine Adventures in a bid to capture a slice of the tourism dollar that flows into the town most weekends.

“During hound season, about $15,000 (worth of) meat goes out on a Friday and Saturday, blokes are standing there with orange hunting hats  on a Friday afternoon it’s ridiculous the amount of people who come into town, about 200 hound utes would come through, $1800 worth of diesel would be sold, then they go and buy $100 worth of food, then their alcohol, it all just adds up,” he says. “It’s the ripple effect, the way hunting brings money into the town.”

The 26-year-old has spent “thousands” on hunting gear, about 95 per cent of his friends hunt and fish and the traditionally masculine pursuit is not only popular among the lads, he says. “My sister, she’s just turned 18 and she’s taken deer of her own,” adding the pair mostly hunt with their dad.

For a town that has operated in the shadow of Mt Buller since snow sports took off not long after World War II, hunting appears to be making its popularity felt.

Twelve years ago the Kirley family opened the town’s first dedicated store, Mansfield Hunting and Fishing. Shane and Mandy’s son Nick was shooting competitively — he represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games in India in 2010 — “and we saw this gap in the market,” Shane says. “And it’s (hunting) just becoming bigger and bigger every year.”

And if the proof is in the proverbial pudding, what further evidence is required than the imminent opening of a second taxidermist in Mansfield, with Alpine Artistry set to open its door in a week.

But despite the growth of the sport at the foothills of the Victorian alps, Mansfield Shire’s tourism and economic development team leader, Judy Dixon, says it is not actively marketed so as to avoid deterring “mainstream” visitors who come to snow or water ski, fish, hike, horse ride or cycle.

“The economic benefit of hunting is important as a niche market,” Ms Dixon clarifies. She stresses the shire did however acknowledge and value hunting’s benefits to the town’s economy.

It is a stark contrast to the approach taken by nearby Towong Shire, north of Falls Creek, which is keen to embrace the hobby. It is believed to be the first Victorian council to formulate a dedicated hunting tourism action plan.

Mayor David Wortmann says the council threw its support behind the draft plan in August in a bid to capitalise on the shire’s “expansive natural assets” and pursue tourism that had the potential to bring new jobs into the region.

“As a small rural shire, any idea that could create jobs and money would be investigated,” Cr Wortmann says. “This one has come from the community: the deer population has escalated, they thought there was an opportunity there, and we believe Towong might have some of the best sambar hunting in Victoria, maybe even Australia.”

There are more than 50,000 licensed game hunters in Victoria, an increase of about 8000 in the past five years, and a 186 per cent increase in the past decade, the draft plan says.

Towong ranks 13th in the list of local government areas relative to yield associated with deer hunting, attracting $1.5 million in annual spending.

The shire’s plan will look at ways to improve hunters’ access to private land for a fee, investigate celebrating the opening of the annual hunting season with a festival and, if game meat processing legislation changes, take the lead in developing this service, among other ideas.

 Australian Deer Association chief executive Barry Howlett commends Towong’s initiative, particularly its ideas around the processing of wild-shot deer due to the limitations of the current regulations.

“I have a cool room and a small mincer, and most deer hunters have something set up at their house, but that’s severely limited,” Mr Howlett says.

He says if DEPI’s report released four years ago on the value of hunting in Victoria was repeated today, “it would undoubtedly show a much higher benefit to the state”.

“Hunting is going from strength to strength in Victoria,” he says.

Mr Davis agrees, and dreams of turning his passion into a career. “As long as the freedom of hunting is secured by the government, it will grow as a sport. And maybe in 20 years I’ll be able to turn Alpine Adventures into a full-time thing,” he says.

Article written by Alexandra Laskie for the Weekly Times. Posted online 17/10/17 at 11:00pm.