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Can recreational hunting hinder the management of pest animals?
The answer is yes. Recreational hunters have interfered with the effective control of pest animals in some areas, especially in state forests. Evidence from genetic studies has shown that pig hunters have illegally transported feral pigs into new areas. The national threat abatement plan for feral pigs states that “the continued release of feral pigs for hunting, either in new areas or in areas they do not currently occupy is a major threat to the effective management of feral pigs and their damage”. It has also been shown that shooting feral pigs, especially where dogs are used, can be counterproductive to other control methods because it can disperse pigs or make them more wary of humans.
Deer (especially fallow, red and chital) have been deliberately and illegally released into ‘deer free’ areas so that hunters don’t have to travel long distances for their sport. Hunters will also selectively take some individuals (large males) and leave others (females, young) because of the motivation to maintain animal populations for future hunting.
The only circumstances where licensed hunters could be used for pest animal control would be part of a government supervised management program with mandatory competency assessment for shooting accuracy.
The RSPCA opposes recreational hunting, or the act of stalking or pursuing an animal and then killing it for sport, due to the inherent and inevitable pain and suffering caused.
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