A member of Bowhunters Australia on the prowl for a feral animal.
A member of Bowhunters Australia on the prowl for a feral animal.

Hunters happy forests open

A DECISION to keep open a raft of local state forests to feral animal and game shooters for the next 10 years has been welcomed by archer Steve Myers, president of the Grafton Bowhunters.

“The decision is a huge benefit to the club, and to new members. It means we have access to legal hunting grounds close to town,” he said.

Earlier this month the State Government announced the forests will be open until 2021 from June 9.

The initial five-year period designating the forests as legitimate hunting areas had come to an end last year and early this year, depending on the forest, said a spokesman for the Game Council of NSW.

Forests affected by the decision include Butterleaf, Camira, Candole, Chaelundi, Clouds Creek, Dalmorton, Double Duke, Gibberagee, Grange, Marengo, Mount Mitchell, Myrtle, Nana Creek, Nymbodia, Tabbimobile and Whiporie.

The Grafton Bowhunters has 57 members and their contribution to feral animal control was significant said Mr Myers.

In local forests, rabbits, dogs, pigs and foxes had been hunted.

“We help to keep vermin down, which is a great benefit to local farmers,” he said.

Anti-hunting groups who argue that feral animal control should be left to professionals didn't understand the realities of hunting in the state forests, Mr Myers said.

“To get into a forest you have to be licensed, and you have to be a proficient archer. Our members are as close to professional as you can be without being paid.

“We are very ethical and highly trained. We always aim for a humane kill.

“People say poisoning with 1080 is an alternative, but if you have ever seen an animal die this way you know it is cruel,” he said.

Without access to state forests hunters have to use private land. Often this means going to specially set-up commercial properties that are expensive and long distances from the Clarence Valley, he said.

Hunters also had to report the numbers of feral animals killed and spotted on a regular basis, which was a great source of data.

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