The ABC’s 7.30 Report recently aired a report about deer culling and new hunting laws in NSW that was full of errors and has added to the public’s lack of proper understanding of the controversial laws.
The report made a number of fundamental errors, from confusing regulations aimed at recreational hunters with what is permitted for professional cullers, to calling the Game Council a “pro-hunting group” when in fact it is a statutory government body tasked with administering hunting on public land and some other places in NSW.
The report was so flawed that Game Council CEO Brian Boyle felt compelled to set the record straight.
Mr Boyle made the following statement on the Game Council’s Facebook page:
The ABC mis-reported a number of points on its 7:30 program on the 27th December 2012 in regards to deer control and management in the Illawarra:
1. Hunting has not been “opened” up for Rusa deer on the 27th December with the enabling of amendments passed in June 2012. Hunters have been and still are able to hunt deer in that area: AS LONG AS THE HUNTER HAS THE CORRECT LICENCE AND HAS PERMISSION OF THE LANDOWNER OR MANAGER OF THE LAND THEY WISH TO HUNT ON. There is concern that statements on the ABC make it appear that the area is now “open” and this could encourage illegal hunting in the area.
2. A landowner can apply to the Game Council to have regulations suppressed that prohibit the use of spotlights, shooting at night and shooting from vehicles if they wish to engage a paid/professional shooter or use a licensed hunter to control the deer on their land. It is the landowner’s decision if they wish to use licensed responsible hunters:- whether they are paid or not and it is a simple process to look at the suppression of regulations.
3. In the past 18 months local authorities have engaged paid shooters to control deer on some properties on a program in part of the Illawarra area, with some success, since licensing began in 2004 licensed responsible hunters have also been removing far greater numbers of deer right across the Illawarra, at no cost to the landowners or ratepayers.
4. The Game Council is a NSW government statutory authority responsible for delivering the objectives of the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002. The Game Council is about managing game and feral animals, and as such it licences individuals to hunt privately, or as hunting guides, or as commercial hunters who sell game animals and as professional shooters.
Finally: It was the Game Council that initiated cooperative deer management in the Illawarra when it established the Illawarra Deer Working Group and invited the RLPB(LHPA), Wollongong City Council, Police and local landholder reps to join it to address the many challenges in managing deer in that area.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Game Council.