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The recreational hunting inquiry is due to report next month.

Shooter: WA hunting systems already exist

By Anita McInnes

WHILE an Upper House committee inquiry into the benefits or otherwise of adopting a regulated, licensed recreational hunting system in Western Australia is underway there is evidence unlicensed systems already exist.

Professional shooter Steve Pass said individuals or companies were already advertising hunting safaris where they say hunters can kill kangaroos and feral animals such as camels and goats.

Mr Pass said one company operating out of Toodyay and Gabyon Station in the Murchison were two he had seen advertised.

He said some property owners seemed to be making money out of allowing recreational hunters to shoot feral animals and kangaroos.

In June last year a Toodyay-based safari company owner was quoted in the West Australian as saying he had set up a contract with pastoralists where he paid them for the animals hunted and the accommodation used.

A Department of Lands spokesman said the legal requirements differed across animal species and land tenures.

But declared pests come under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 and the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013.

The spokesman said the Act was administered by the Department of Agriculture and Food and was the state’s principal legislation for the management of pests.

“All native fauna in the state is protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and Wildlife Conservation Regulations 1970 – these are administered by the Department of Parks and Wildlife, ‘’ he said.

“Activities on Crown land may come under the Land Administration Act 1997, which is administered by the Department of Lands.’’

He said people carrying out such activities were also subject to obligations under other legislation such as the Animal Welfare Act or the Firearms Act.

“DoL is unable to comment strictly on whether these people are acting outside the law, because it depends on whether their activities fall within the provisions of the relevant legislation for the particular animal species and land-holding, and whether the necessary permits have been obtained for the respective activities.’’

In relation to an advertisement for a York property with cattle and crops, which said a reasonably unlimited number of hunters would be allowed and the possible game available was foxes, cats and rabbits, he said without knowing the specific details of the property it was not possible for the department to answer whether the operator was breaking the law as the answer would vary if the property was Crown land or freehold.

Mr Pass said Gabyon Station advertised at the Shooting Expo held on December 6-7 that hunters could kill kangaroos when they went to the station.

The Department of Lands spokesman said all native fauna were protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Act.

“With regard to kangaroos, certain species are declared pests under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act.’’

The Department of Parks and Wildlife said kangaroos were protected fauna under the Wildlife Conservation Act but there was an Open Season for red kangaroos in the Murchison.

A department spokeswoman said the Open Season notice had a number of restrictions including that red kangaroos could only be shot when they were causing damage, or could be reasonably expected to cause damage to primary production, or to control populations and rates of natural increase.

“Red kangaroos may be taken without licence only by landholders and leaseholders or their approved nominated agents, on land which they own or occupy which lies within the shires specified in the Open Season,’’ she said.

“It is illegal to take or dispose of red kangaroos, their carcasses or skins for commercial purposes, unless the person is the holder of an appropriate licence under the State’s Wildlife Conservation Regulations 1970.

“All shooting is to be carried out in accordance with the code of practice for the humane shooting of kangaroos.’’

Mr Pass is worried a Hunters and Fishers Party push to set up a licensed recreational hunting system in WA could lead to an increase in recreational shooters wanting access to state forests, national parks and conservation reserves where “you would have to be naïve to think they would only shoot foxes and rabbits’’.

“Tens of thousands of kangaroos are already shot to waste each year by recreational shooters,’’ he said.

“There are only 425 accredited professional shooters with less than 10 per cent shooting full time compared with 82,500 licensed WA firearm owners.’’

The Standing Committee on Public Administration, chaired by North Metropolitan MLC Liz Behjat, which has been conducting the inquiry into recreational hunting systems is due to report on Tuesday, March 10.

The committee includes East Metropolitan MLC Amber-Jade Sanderson.

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

5 comments

  1. WA has nothing on Victoria when it comes to properly legislative hunting and game licensing systems for hunters. Hunters can hunt game species both introduced and native animals on private and public land. With over 26,000 licenced deer and duck hunters and a proper game management authority advising the government on policy i can honestly say a system exists. Can WA say a system exists because some some guy told the paper, he heard some guys paid money to shoot roos east up north. Come on now, seriously.

  2. So… a professional shooter sees recreational hunters as potentially making him look bad, so suggests they’d shoot something other than declared pests… with no proof of the fact… nor an understanding that if they are caught doing so, they could lose their firearms and ability to hunt (particularly if modelled of the NSW system) instantly, and face heavy fines.

  3. NO !!! The point is WA is the only state were recreational shooters in open season shires on private property such as farms or stations can shoot kangaroos for fun and without a licence. But here is the mentality of the government and the departments wanting to support amateur hunting under licence or accreditation to shoot feral animals. Go figure.
    I say anyone shooting a kangaroo should be licensed.
    Kangaroos aren’t protected in the way you think and they are certainly not regulated here in this state when it comes to recreational shooters.

    • That statement about shooting kangaroos without a permit is completely false, this is only the case for aborigines carrying out a traditional hunt. It does not extend to anyone else unless they have the proper permits and this is heavily regulated

      • PRO SHOOTER Steve Pass

        Michael – You are ill advised, WA is the only state that has open season on Red, Grey and Euro kangaroos. I suggest you check with Parks and Wildlife or read their website listing the government gazetted shires that have open season notices requiring no license. Just a couple of facts. To spell it out the majority of kangaroos shot by amateur shooters are shot without a license. It is true there are some shires requiring damage licenses but even this information is not collated or reported on. So when it comes to recreational shooting no body knows how many kangaroos are being shot to waste in these open season areas. Quotas with now zone quotas only apply to the commercial shooting of kangaroos by Professionals.
        Incidentally quotas only apply for Reds and Greys as there are no commercial quotas for euros since 2010 so they are only shot to waste, with this year the Goldfields Nullabor zone being closed to commercial shooting but still remains open to amateur shooting without a license. This regulation or lack of is a disgrace by our Government.
        Get your facts right.

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