Hunting is one of the safest activities of all. American football is the most dangerous in the study, more than 100 times worse than hunting. Source: NSSF

Matho’s blog: Hunting in national parks

There’s been a predictably mixed reaction to the announcement that hunting will be permitted in NSW national parks. Shooters, of course, love it, while the Greens hate it, but the interesting thing is the nature of support and opposition.

Supporters see it as sensible and rational. So many opponents think it’ll involve “weekend cowboys running around shooting everything that moves”. They’ve even said it’ll increase gun crime. Despite years of Victoria’s experience of hunting in national parks with minimal regulation, and the success of NSW’s well documented state forest hunting system, the public is still ignorant.

That’s to be expected, of course, because most people don’t really care. Hunting is a non-issue for them.

This change in NSW gives us an enormous opportunity to show people that hunting is fine. Every time we counter ignorant statements with credible facts, we’ll swing things further in our favour – and away from the emotionally charge drivel peddled by our opponents over the past two decades.

The Greens are still doing it. David Shoebridge yesterday put out a predictable press release that has received little airplay. It used the same tired old phrases and accusations. Even I couldn’t be bothered trying to work one of them into a report because you’ve heard it all before. They have nothing left to say, their arguments have fallen flat and society generally seems to be moving back to a position based on common sense.

Shoebridge in one report was trying to talk up the danger. “There are regular fatalities,” he said, either oblivious to or ignoring the facts. Hunting is safer than just about every other outdoor sport, even bowling. Yet as always, the Greens never let the facts get in the way of a good scare campaign.

Nor did Labor’s Luke Foley, who quipped shooters were being sent into national parks to finish off koalas not killed by loggers.

Much better that we air comments such as Rod Drew’s, the CEO of Field and Game Australia, an organisation that stands firmly behind the upcoming change in NSW laws.

“The O’Farrell Coalition Government should be applauded and recognised for applying common sense in the face of ideological lunacy,” he said. “In excess of half a million pests and feral animals are removed from NSW State Forests every year by ethical conservation hunters, protecting Australia’s native flora and fauna – but the National Parks have been left to become major pest animal breeding havens.

“Sustainable and ethical hunting activities carry enormous social, economic and environmental benefits for the state.”

And as FGA points out, the international community recognises those benefits through the provisions of the IUCN, CITES and RAMSAR agreements, to which Australia has signed up.


Mick Matheson




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.