Narrabri Shire might become the first conservation hunter-friendly shire in NSW, according to a report in local newspaper The Courier.
“Narrabri is well placed to become the game hunting capital of NSW, with the vast reaches of Pilliga forest on its doorstep and thousands of hunters wanting to shoot there,” the paper reported earlier this month.
It revealed the Game Council and the shire’s tourism officer, Penny Jobling, were working to promote hunting together.
Ms Jobling said hunting was already part of the shire’s tourism strategy, “but we are looking at ways of doing it better”.
Game Council zone manager Ned Makim told The Courier R-licence holders had spent more than 3000 days hunting the huge Pilliga forests in the 12 months to the end of the March.
GC surveying indicates that led to a direct spend by the hunters of $2.6 million in regional NSW, much of it in the Narrabri area, which encompasses the Pilliga.
Mr Makim said the shire could realistically expect to more than double its hunting-based income if its strategies were successful.
The economic benefits of hunting tourism have long been tracked in the US, where it is measured in billions of dollars a year, but Australia has rarely paid much attention to the subject.
The NSW Game Council, however, has been crunching the numbers in recent years, publishing an annual public benefit assessment, which last year revealed a direct and indirect benefit to regional NSW of over $40 million, and this figure is projected to rise in coming years.