He’s the poster boy for bogans, sporting a mullet that would make Warwick Capper blush and has a wife who obviously shares the same hair stylist; however I’d wager there are a lot of guys and girls out there who would love to have Dog the Bounty Hunter’s job.

Business in the front, party in the back. Pic: Supplied.

Kitting out in tactical gear; kicking down doors; dragging bail-jumpers back to prison all for a hefty fee – sure beats sitting at a desk staring at white walls all day.

Dog the Bounty Hunter could also provide the solution to NSW and potentially Australia’s rural pest problem.

According to the NSW Game Council, there are approximately 23 million feral pigs in Australia; 2.6 million feral goats; 18 million feral cats; and 7.2 million foxes.  It is estimated that this population of foxes kills 190 million Australian birds every year.

On a recent hunting trip, my comrades and bagged 15 large pigs and 30 plus goats in the space of two days; we barely made a dent in the population.  As we drove out the gate to head back to Sydney, a mob of pigs stopped to watch us as if to say ‘we’re still here’.

In the spirit of the Dog, why not turn licenced recreational shooters into feral animal bounty hunters?  With the solid rainfall the numbers of feral goats and pigs is ballooning and as the various rabbit viruses have washed out of the system, the rise in bunny numbers has been mirrored by foxes. 

If the NSW government put a price on the head of these animals - $10 for every goat and fox, $50 for every pig – there is the potential to make a measurable impact on the population of animals that mangle our native environment.

A year ago this month, Victoria reintroduced the bounty on foxes and wild dogs responsible for devastating wildlife and livestock in the garden state. 

Since October 2011, almost 117,000 animals have been eradicated and their skins handed over for a bounty of $10 per fox and $50 per wild dog.  Upon announcing that 116,691 fox scalps and 337 wild dog skins had been collected so far, the Victorian Agriculture Minister, Peter Walsh, told media that the bounty ‘recognises hunters’ efforts in controlling feral animals and offers an incentive for more hunters to take part’.
 
Peter Walsh is right; knowing that every animal you put down helps cover the cost of the ammunition and fuel for a hunting trip is a big incentive for shooters to get out into the bush more often.

Of course the Greens won’t like the idea, not surprising considering they tend to live in a political fantasy world, where unicorns and pixies run free and developing a solution to any particular problem is as simple as coming up with a pithy line at a press conference.

They’ll also claim that the only way to address the issue is to support professional hunters culling and baiting feral animals wherever they are found.

The simple fact is that this strategy is not working.  While professional shooters have a big role to play in combating the feral population, the increasing numbers clearly show that they can’t handle the job alone.

Seeing firsthand the devastation feral animals inflict upon our environment, it’s time the NSW and perhaps the Federal Government took note of the success the Victorian bounty is having and follow suit.

If they did, I’d be the first into the bush to chase down a bounty or two; but I’d draw the line at growing a Dog style mullet.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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40 comments

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    • TChong says:

      06:35am | 08/10/12

      Brad
      All good until you mention politics,then your argument fails.
      After bagging the Greens for living in a political fantasy world, you have an idea that a govt. should pay an amateur like you to eradicate feral animals, so you can pretend to yourself that you are some type of professional hunter.
      And the Greens are unrealistic, you reckon.
      No problem with the professionals, its the half pissed , pharkwits, out for a weekend of “shootin” that cause the problems.

    • willie says:

      06:55am | 08/10/12

      What are these problems you mention.
      Are they so serious the tax payer should fork out for pros when amateurs get the same results, namely dead dogs.

    • L. says:

      08:10am | 08/10/12

      Chong says:

      “you have an idea that a govt. should pay an amateur like you to eradicate feral animals, so you can pretend to yourself that you are some type of professional hunter.”

      What you just described is the very definition of ‘professional hunter’.

      Anyway Chong.. if not what was proposed, what is your solution… and while you’re at it, what is wrong with what was put forward by Brad?

    • Alfie says:

      08:16am | 08/10/12

      @TChong
      What a load of crap - a sweeping generalistion that all amater shooters are “half pissed , pharkwits”. The vast majority of current gun owners are licensed by the police, formally trained in weapons handling and generally belong to reputable sporting shooters clubs such as SSAA.

      Your ‘red-neck’ claims are about as frivolous as Greens policies.

    • ChrisW says:

      10:55am | 08/10/12

      Chong’s presumably a pixie or a bureaucrat if he really believes that you have to be registered, certificated, professionalised and all that stuff to be able to stalk then shoot accurately.
      I very much doubt that the recipient of a well-placed bullet is too concerned with it was fired by a “professional person” or not.

    • Michael says:

      11:23am | 08/10/12

      Early for you Mr. Chong, you striking today with your brothers and sisters?

    • TChong says:

      11:34am | 08/10/12

      lads, lasses
      I’m out to protect the professional hunter.
      Its the weekend clowns which gives guns a bad name in rural/regional areas.
      The pros dont go around shooting signs, isolated buildings,silos, letterboxes,gates, wildlife,  stock.
      Tresspasser shooters burning wood posts they “find” ( often neatly stacked for other uses), vandalising buildings, vehicles .
      These type of things happen so often, for so long, thats it rates little mention.
      I have seen all of this, and as a stupid young bloke, did many of these things, like most other young blokes in most ( every ? ) rural/ regional town.
      I know that this doesnt apply to all weekend shooters, but , unfortunately the ratbag element spoils it for others.
      ( goes with most human activity)

    • JW says:

      01:45pm | 08/10/12

      TChong, I tend to agree with you.
      I know many Farmers who won’t allow hunting on their property, due to the simple fact that a lot of “hunters” have utterly no respect for the property of the Farmer - ie, they shoot livestock, damage fences and crops, and bring noxious weeds with them as they cavort merrily across the countryside on dusk.  In these instances, the cost of having these gung-ho idiots nearly incurs more damage than that of the feral animal itself.

      ChrisW & Alfie - It’s not so much about the weapon capability of the amateurs, its how they operate on a hunt. It sounds stupid, but I know of instances where people on a hunt, have shot others they were with - incidental of course, but there you go. A ute full of amatuer hunters, bush bashing in unfamiliar scrub, full of adrenaline, in the middle of the night. What could possibly go wrong?

    • Alfie says:

      01:47pm | 08/10/12

      @TChong
      “...and as a stupid young bloke, I did many of these things.”

      So you now class yourself as one of these “half pissed, pharkwits” you mentioned earlier? You shouldn’t be handling a gun if you keep shooting yourself in the foot.

    • Kipling says:

      06:59am | 08/10/12

      Not a bad idea though to kill anything that harms the environment I must say.

      Now onto heavy industry….

    • Don says:

      09:40am | 08/10/12

      First stop, the company that makes your computer.

    • Kipling says:

      11:39am | 08/10/12

      no worries mate, that’d be your computer also and maybe even your employer after that eh?

    • gobsmack says:

      07:04am | 08/10/12

      “23 million feral pigs in Australia; 2.6 million feral goats; 18 million feral cats; and 7.2 million foxes.”

      And you think shooting 100,000 of these feral animals over a period of 12 months has put a dent in their populations?

      I’m sure that the pigs, for example, can easily breed quickly enough to fill the gaps a few hunters create.

    • fml says:

      07:42am | 08/10/12

      “23 million feral pigs in Australia; 2.6 million feral goats; 18 million feral cats; and 7.2 million foxes.”

      Well, Someone should make a business of capturing all that bacon, goats, and foxes for consumption. The kitty cats we can capture and train as an elite group of vicious but cute mercenaries that we can use to crush our enemies. All the while we sit back and enjoy a deliciously succulent feral bacon fritters with goat korma with foxy kebabs.

      Problem solvered.

    • Borderer says:

      09:21am | 08/10/12

      gobsmack,
      It depends on how you do it. For example if you put a localised bounty on pigs of $50 in say a shire council area you could wipe the floor with a local population of ferals in a few months, then move on to the next region. Shooters will follow the cash and since the ferals aren’t migratory creatures you could effectively clear areas as you go.

    • Nick says:

      09:49am | 08/10/12

      So if ferals don’t disperse you’ve got to wonder how they spread in the first place?

      Either way…23,000,000 pigs x $50 per pig is well over a billion dollars and we’re making the nonsensical assumption that there will be no new pigs born in the meantime.  That’s quite a cash cow.  No wonder the shooters are salivating.  It isn’t just the prospect of all that bacon that’s got them going.

    • gobsmack says:

      09:56am | 08/10/12

      @borderer

      I’m not against a bounty if it is well targetted and supported by proper scientific evidence as to its effectiveness.

      If the impact of recreational shooters on feral animal populations is negligible then paying them beer money to do what they would be doing anyhow amounts to nothing more pork barrelling.

    • Tel says:

      07:13am | 08/10/12

      The old bounty system used to work - don’t see why an expanded new version wouldn’t either.

    • Kerryn says:

      07:20am | 08/10/12

      Why isn’t some huge fashion company getting on this? Legal fox and rabbit skin clothes, purses and shoes made from cane toads…we’re looking at a huge potential industry here!!!!!!!  We could even use it for tourism - get international hunters in here spending their money in our shops while eradicating our vermin.  Get the foodies on board!  I’m sure we could turn Australian rabbit meat into a delicacy.

      Am I the only one seeing $$$$$$?

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      07:29am | 08/10/12

      That’s not a mullet, btw.
       
      A true mullet would have the wearer sporting short hair front, and sides and long hair at the back. The greater the difference in the length of hair in the two areas, the greater the mullet.
       
      And the idea of ridiculing someone for their appearance, social status, or gender, to somehow legitimise ones own argument is pretty shallow.

    • BMJ says:

      07:41am | 08/10/12

      Napalm or small tactical nukes would be my preference.

      wink

    • iansand says:

      07:56am | 08/10/12

      A great plan.  I would add a rider - this deal is off the second one hunter releases a deer or pig into the wild.  It is off the second one human being is put in danger.  It is off once a single domestic animal is killed by hunters.  Or when a single road sign is shot while trying to escape.

      Sadly, I am afraid that the deal would be off inside a month.  There are some hunters out there who give the rest of you a bad name.  Work out a way to weed them out and your argument would be a lot more persuasive.

    • Meph says:

      11:59am | 08/10/12

      @iansand

      It’s hardly fair to call off the bounty for roadsign slaughter. The odds are that at least as many of them are victims of bored-teenager-of-a-farmer syndrome.

    • Christine says:

      07:58am | 08/10/12

      More hunters = more guns.  More guns = more brazen thefts of said guns.  More stolen guns = escalation of existing gang wars and spread of said gang shootings to the rest of the country.
      Research is needed to find another way to cull these pests - maybe traps then a quick stab?

    • dingaling says:

      08:19am | 08/10/12

      sounds like a good way to get rid of bikies to me.

      Then hunters could get on with the business of varmiting.

    • L. says:

      12:14pm | 08/10/12

      “Research is needed to find another way to cull these pests - maybe traps then a quick stab?”

      And of course Christine won’t be the one volunteering to get close enough to ‘stab’ trapped wild dog or pig…

      Thanks for the input sweetie, but, ummm… no.

    • CJP says:

      08:13am | 08/10/12

      Bounties on feral animals have been shown to be costly to tax payers and not effective in reducing populations of pests. They may allow hunters to feel like they are contributing but broad scale, coordinated program’s across adjoining landholdings are needed that include a range of measures. I’d like to see an independent analysis of the actual impact of hunting in reducing pest populations before NSW jumps on the bandwagon as a result of political pressure from recreational hunters. The scarce funding available for pest management should be spent on the most effective programs at reducing pest populations.

    • Nick says:

      08:26am | 08/10/12

      Bounties have almost never worked. Sure, a few species with restricted ranges and low reproductive potential were driven to extinction using bounties but for the most part invasive populations increase under them.  Not least because they mean the shooters themselves have a vested interest in maintaining a viable population.  Listen to some of the old stories from Frank Fenner and company…they were literally run out of whole districts and had to work in disguise.

      I think if we go down this sort of path what we should pay for is an objective measure of population reduction - killing a few tens thousands of animals with a high reproductive potential in a landscape with a carrying capacity of millions is worth diddly squat.  It might be useful for the temporary protection of highly accessible and high value environmental patches but that work is already being done by professionals for the most part.

    • andrew says:

      08:34am | 08/10/12

      many farmers do quite well out of trapping feral pigs - they are caught alive in a mesh trap where they can enter then the door swings shut behind them. Usually they are then shot and sold for meat. One farmer in the coonabarabran region told me he had trapped 50 pigs on his farm in the last year, and his neighbour 150. Perhaps park rangers could make increased use of these traps?

    • Another Andrew says:

      01:57pm | 08/10/12

      Agree, Andrew. Many of my rural clients already trap feral pigs and goats, and sell to processing plants. These are a very good income earner to supplement usual agricultural income. One customer of mine pulls in over $300k p/a alone on these, let alone livestock. Personally believe safer to let the professionals keep at it, which they’be been doing for years, rather than recreational city-slickers out there for a weekend every now and then.

    • patsy says:

      09:25am | 08/10/12

      I was disappointed that this story wasn’t about employing bounty hunters in Australia to do the work that Dog does. He returns bail jumpers and gaol escapees into custody.
      I know of one escapee who’s been on the run for 14 years. I hear he has not been in trouble beacuse he has a job and even visits his mother. Another one I met told me that he was knowingly harboured by the woman sitting across from me whilst he was on the run and added that he knows Anthony Perish. Never sat with them again. Another is my son who escaped from gaol May 1210 and is not one to get a job but will be bag snatching his way through life and being sheltered by people. He has brain damage from “chroming” and I suspect that he may be dead.
      The police aren’t looking nor concerned. I was told to “hassle” the coroner’s court about pauper’s graves instead. It’s hard to know the number of people with warrants for their arrest because it’s not on any census question. I tried to get a few journalists help but, no one’s interested.

    • Matt says:

      09:36am | 08/10/12

      It’s hard to say because although the numbers of foxes shot is impressive, it is rather expensive to still pay $10/head for them.

      Further that with the way that we’re only killing the ferals that are easy and convenient to access, and it’s easy to see why a lot of people are reluctant to bring the bounties back.

      Also, the number of people that want to hunt is limited, as you’re only likely to hunt if your dad did, and the numbers of these people are decreasing. And those that still hunt are probably going out as much as feasibly possible anyway, so the bounty may only be an expense, rather than an encouragement.

    • Jay says:

      09:46am | 08/10/12

      Who kills for recreation other than a seriously sick person? What possible fun,enjoyment,bonding could you achieve from hunting down a defenceless animal and then killing it and watching it die?  Excuse me but you people with guns have got serious issues.

    • Fred says:

      02:36pm | 08/10/12

      Jay get over yourself. Feral animals cause enormous destruction on the native environment, and livestock every year. It is much more distressing finding a young calf or lamb who has been mauled over night by a pack of feral dogs. Limbs missing, half alive, and other scenes much more distressing then those associated with shooting a feral animal.

    • seniorcynic says:

      10:11am | 08/10/12

      There is a bit of cross-border trade in fox scalps. A number of years ago when there was a bounty on fox tails I travelled to northern NSW from Vic and noticed that the foxes skittled on the road in southern and mid west NSW had no tails while those in northern NSW had their tails. I left them as I didn’t want anything to do with the stinking foxes.

    • Lapun says:

      11:58am | 08/10/12

      Sorry!  Read this by mistake.  Thought it referred to Albanese, Emerson and Swann.

    • DFB says:

      02:35pm | 08/10/12

      Places like WA that do not allow hunting in State Forests are creating a massive sanctuary for ferals (and the most boring state in the land).

      Let hunters in and they will do the job for nothing.

      As for Jay, above, you clearly have been removed from nature and the real world for far too long. There is no such thing as an easy death in nature (no nursing homes or medication). Reality is hard but it is what’s real.

    • Craig of North Brisbane says:

      02:51pm | 08/10/12

      You want to let a bunch of gun-toting maniacs and bogans loose to cull feral animal populations, presumably without causing any collateral damage?  And you want to actually pay them taxpayer’s money to do it?

      Who, exactly, is living in the political fantasy world here?

    • dibatag says:

      03:03pm | 08/10/12

      I supose the number of pigs includes the one’s in Canberra whith there snouts in the trough and the union officials to

 

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