Ep 3: An environmental scientist on hunting

Daniel Boniface - an environmental scientist

In this I Am Hunter podcast we talked to Daniel Boniface, an environmental scientist from Queensland who recently petitioned the Queensland government to open public land for a 3 year trial of recreational hunting. Having studied environmental science, Daniel understood firsthand the enormous damage feral animals cause the environment if not managed, and how important wildlife management, including culling and hunting, are to rectifying these problems.

How environmental science can fight the feral problem

Daniel Boniface - an environmental scientists petitioning the Queensland government to open up public land hunting

As Queensland does not have any public land hunting available, feral species such as pig, wild dog, fox, deer, goat, cat and rabbit populations have exploded, creating strongholds in Queensland state forests, well out of reach of hunters who are only allowed to hunt on private property. As an environmental scientists, Daniel believes that this is an enormous threat to Queensland’s biosecurity and has a huge impact on the state’s important agricultural sector.

“There are 200,000 licensed shooters and recreational hunters in Queensland, and many of them would love to help keep feral pest populations under control,” said Daniel.

“This goes far beyond just environmental science and benefits to the environment. Recreational hunting in New South Wales has huge economic benefits as well, with the state earning around $1.8 billion from recreational hunters in 2017-18. Victoria has a similar scheme that is just as profitable. Making hunting more readily available in Queensland would help solve the feral animal problem, and bring economic benefit to rural Queensland.”

Many Queenslanders agree with Daniel, with 13,576 Queenslanders signing the e-petition and his idea strongly backed by the Shooters Union of Australia and the Australian Deer Association.

Yet despite overwhelming support, common sense and environmental science being on his side, the Queensland government still chose to reject the petition.

Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the government “does not support recreational hunting in state forests and has no plans to open these areas for hunting as it is inconsistent with long-standing management arrangements for state forests in Queensland”.

Petitioning the Queensland government for common sense

Below is an extract of what was covered in Daniel’s e-petition to the Queensland government:

Queensland citizens draws to the attention of the House the absence of legislation allowing for hunting of feral game in Queensland’s State Forests. Such schemes are in place in NSW and Victoria and these have proven to be both safe and successful. The NSW scheme requires recreational hunters to complete additional accreditation and licensing and this too has proven an effective means of controlling and monitoring the public participation in the scheme whilst qualifying the suitability of hunters for public land access. Targeted feral species could include deer, goats, pigs, foxes, feral dogs and feral cats. Your petitioners, therefore, request the House to propose a 3-year trial of recreational hunting in Queensland’s State Forests and to establish a “Restricted Game License” scheme, similar to that which is already in place in NSW.

What now?

While Daniel’s petition may have fallen over, it is important that people continue to push for change not just in Queensland but everywhere. We are increasingly seeing governments bow to Green pressure and implement nonsensical, ‘feel good’ policies based on emotions rather than environmental science; policies that will ultimately harm the environment. The Queensland government has bought into the Green-fuelled ‘lock it up and leave it’ ideology around conservation that has proven to be an abject failure everywhere it has been introduced. That’s because politicians often appeal to city voters who never have to live with the consequences of their poorly thought out environmental ‘solutions’.

Write to your members of parliament, choose your votes carefully at election times, and continue to support those organisations that are fighting to keep hunting alive.

Here are a couple of articles on the damage caused to the environment when politicians cave to emotional pressure from activist groups:

Do animal activists do more harm than good?

How 55 elephants were killed with kindness

How the sly fox pulled the wool over our eyes

Activists fail to save African wildlife

The real cost of a hunting ban

Environmental scientists back the proposal to introduce recreational hunting in Queensland public land to deal with feral species like pigs, fox, deer, goats, cats, dogs and rabbits.

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