With the Inquiry into Invasive Species already underway in the Victorian Parliament, Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber thought he’d be an opportunist and write an opinion piece for the Weekly Times. This is the latest in the recent wave of anti-hunting agitprop, in part an end run at gun control by slowly eroding hunting rights. Yes, they’re trying to come at it from all angles.
What the Greens and their ilk are trying to do in Victoria is have deer reclassified as a pest species, therefore locking hunters completely out of crown land in a similar situation to Queensland. Put simply: “you can’t hunt on crown land anymore. What do you need the firearm for? Hunting is no longer a genuine reason.” Catch my drift?
We all know what the Greens alternative is – mass use of 1080 poison, wiping out thousands of non-target native Australian wildlife in the process, dying excruciating deaths over 2-3 days as their organs literally burn. But remember, they want Live Export banned because it’s cruel. After all, what do you expect from the Greens? The same crowd that are anti-hunting but wanted snipers to protect penguins in Tasmania when recreational hunters could’ve done it for free.
Barber takes his first shot:
“The population growth hasn’t happened by accident — you can blame deer hunters and cuts to national park funding. Bag limits and hunting restrictions which have been maintained over decades have given deer freedom to reproduce and spread, and Parks can’t afford to stop them.”
So in essence, Barber is blaming hunters for the spread of deer but then goes on to say that bag limits and hunting restrictions have allowed deer to get out of control. I’m no genius, but maybe it’s those same bag limits and the numerous nonsensical restrictions on hunters and access that is allowing them to get out of control?
The NZ born Barber is being completely ignorant of the much more successful deer management program in his country of birth, where deer hunting generates tourism dollars. But no, in Australia it’s better to spend state money for no reason than encourage enterprise that makes it.
However, it’s this part that takes the cake:
“Victoria’s licensed deer hunters bag just 2.1 deer per shooter annually. In comparison, an elite shooter working in a Parks Victoria operation in Murray-Sunset National Park took out 459 goats in just 3½ days. The Government needs to employ professional, highly-skilled shooters to eliminate deer region by region. Recreational hunters lack the skill and motivation to eradicate them.”
How did Barber arrive at this figure? Source? Divide deer hunting licenses by approximate number of deer taken? Did he actually allow for all the variables involved in hunting and feral species control? I’d say no.
If one bothers to read the SSAA media release that Barber selectively cut and pasted into his lazy opinion piece, you would discover the following:
“SSAA Victorian Conservation & Wildlife Management (CWM) members have played their part in a four-day Parks Victoria feral goat culling program in the Murray-Sunset National Park. A total of 459 feral goats were removed during the period of Tuesday, June 9 to Friday, June 12, with 95 per cent of animals sighted destroyed. Very few other pest animals were spotted.
The Sunraysia Daily in Mildura reports that the shooting program is part of the Mallee BioFund project that has cut the number of feral goats in the national park by hundreds. In all, 500ha was closed for four days with no negative feedback from the public.
The scheme involves no one single method, but aerial shooting was used, which means teams made up of a helicopter pilot, a spotter and two shooters. SSAA members then move in once the helicopter has left the scene. Parks Victoria staff and a vet are also in the area to assist with clean kills. For the latest cull, independent vet assessment reported animal welfare was compliant with the standard operating procedure.
SSAA Nhill Branch conservation program coordinator Gary Clarke said the SSAA had assisted in removing more than 6500 goats from the national park since 2003. Parks Victoria spokeswoman Tanya Smith said that feral goats had damaged native vegetation, increased erosion and prevented regeneration of native buloke, slender cypress-pine and belah trees.”
So, not only has Barber omitted the slightly important fact that helishooters were brought in (at huge cost), he also failed to mention that there were no public complaints and that SSAA volunteer shooters have a long history of successful goat and deer eradication in this area and others; and that Victorian Government authorities routinely call on volunteer recreational shooters to assist them.
Further, claiming recreational deer hunters “lack the skill and motivation” when they bear all the time, energy and costs themselves at a financial loss, is just an absurd statement.
There is the usual inherent Greens hypocrisy in Barber’s position. The Greens along with Animals Australia and the Coalition Against Duck Shooting have spent much time, energy and money dog whistling that recreational hunting is so “evil and effective at wiping species of animals out” that it needs to be stopped. But when it comes to deer or other species, the Greens position on recreational hunting is the complete opposite and we need “professionals” instead. This makes no logical sense.
Barber’s comparison of goat culling to hunting Sambar is intellectually dishonest in the extreme. Sambar are the most difficult deer species in Australia to hunt, being highly evolved to escape natural predation. Goats on the other hand, are at the other end of the spectrum. Deer are also far more difficult to hunt due to the density of the terrain they reside in, which nearly always renders aerial culling ineffective. Barber not surprisingly makes no mention of this while in the same breath advocating more “public funding.” I assume Barber has also made financial plans for the lost government budgetary shortfall with all the associated income hunting generates for the state government? Probably not, given that economics is kryptonite to a socialist.
The Greens tactic of couching hunting as exclusive to “professional shooters” is purely a neurolinguistic trap employed by those in the anti-firearm crowd to socially engineer the public. The term “professional” is sleight of hand because it sounds good rolling off the tongue. So what defines a “professional” other than an arbitrary minimum income? What metric? What standard?
Are professional shooters good operators? Of course some are however, there are plenty of professional shooters out there that are as average or worse as some rec shooters, and vice versa. And after all, how do you get the experience to become a professional shooter? By being a recreational shooter or hunter. But according to the Greens, as soon as that word “professional” is tacked on it magically changes. And it completely glosses over all the numerous independent variables involved in hunting/culling of species that hunters are all subject to.
Professional can also often mean “very expensive.” When applying “professional” to the Greens, don’t expect to be taken seriously.
The reality is also that the background checks for a Category D licence are exactly the same as Cat A, B and C. There’s no accuracy assessment. There’s no legislative baseline firearm experience requirement – the process is basically obtaining an ABN and showing evidence of access to contracts and income.
Barber has fallen well short in this lazy attempt at trying to drive the thin edge of the wedge into the hunting community. The deer and invasive species problem has long been the side effect of locking hunters out of national parks and essentially creating protected breeding grounds for these species to further inflict havoc on our natives.
Not that the Greens will ever swallow their pride and admit that. It’s not as if they aren’t an environmental party anymore.
I think a far more effective method, given their track record, would be locking Greens MP’s out of discussions on firearms and hunting issues.