Wowser-watch: shooters are making environment’s day
I went shooting recently. A couple of old friends and I spent a few days on a farm in northern NSW which can only be described as a target-rich environment.
I’ve never seen so many rabbits in one place ... between us we nailed about 300 of them and left thousands more chewing up the paddocks.
So numerous were they that at night you could have walked through the pastures with a cricket bat and scored a century.
And where there are rabbits there are foxes, so we dispatched several of those varmints as well.
We only saw one feral pig, but the barrel of my mate’s .222 was the last thing that porker saw. There were even a couple of cats that wandered into our sights, but they were long shots and they’re still out there, and we’ll get them next time.
The nearby town was fabulous, because it was a place where if you told people you were going shooting for the weekend it didn’t make mothers gather their children behind them as they backed slowly out the door, or their metrosexual, manbag-carrying husbands look at you like you were some kind of crazed assassin.
Generally, that’s what happens when you disclose a love of hunting.
The Shooters Party in NSW copped a barrage from the misinformed recently when they proposed hunting in national parks.
Not hunting of native animals - as was wrongly reported.
This is an extract from the party’s manifesto:
``The Party supports free access to all areas and facilities within National parks and State Forests for 4WDs, licensed anglers and horse-riders, and that areas be available to shooters to take authorised game. The Party’s elected members will actively pursue legalisation of hunting of non-indigenous animal species on all public lands of NSW.’‘
For all those mouth-foamers who, when this idea was proposed, conjured up visions of rednecks swarming through national parks picking off koalas with Kalishnikovs, ``non-indigenous’’ animals means feral animals.
You know, rabbits, foxes, cats, pigs, goats, camels, horses, buffalos, dogs, toads, carp to name a few _ the host of introduced critters that are causing havoc to Australia’s ancient and fragile ecosystems.
Why wouldn’t you let trained, licensed, responsible sporting shooters enjoy their pastime getting rid of these pests? Baiting hasn’t worked, fences haven’t worked and biological controls haven’t worked.
No one needs to shoot a native animal in this country, and anyone who does is a d***head and should lose their licence.
While reading some of the crap that greeted the Shooters Party’s proposal my mind wandered back to my school days at a country boarding school.
It had its own rifle range and most kids had their own .22s. You could spend the afternoons learning how to shoot properly or you could go and dive-bomb off trees and rock ledges into the river that flowed past the school, both activities that are forbidden today. Sigh.
In the holidays I would more often than not be invited to go and stay on some mate’s farm, where we would roar around on motorbikes or horses and go hunting rabbits with our rifles.
Twelve was pretty much the age at which it was deemed appropriate to arm your children back then.
I was given mine for learning morse code in Scouts.
Sport shooting used to be considered a healthy pursuit but in modern times if you mention that you’re going to empty a couple of boxes of Winchester .22 magnums in the general direction of the Easter bunny, you get given the death stare.
Before you know it, fishing will cop the same treatment, as will swatting flies and mozzies. Watch out all you Queenslanders who love a bit of toad golf.
Time to get cocked and loaded Australia, and shoot to save the environment.
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