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Is hunting the same as pest animal management?
The answer is no, although pest animal management sometimes involves the ground shooting of animals as a control method, it is different to hunting in a number of ways. For example:
The following comparison reveals the ineffectiveness of recreational hunting of feral pigs compared with government coordinated pest animal management control programs:
This means that recreational hunting removed roughly the same amount of feral pigs over a 6-year period that were removed by a coordinated and planned feral pig management program conducted over a matter of weeks.
Hunters use ground shooting, bowhunting and ‘sticking’ (or stabbing) with a knife to kill animals. All of these methods are labour intensive, expensive and are inefficient for the long-term control of pest animals. They are used primarily because they are a test of the skills and technical competence of the hunter, not because they are useful for managing the impacts of pest animals.
Some of the methods used by professional pest animal controllers are more humane than those used by hunters. For example, in some situations aerial shooting has been assessed as being more humane than ground shooting since the distance from the shooter to the animal is much shorter and any wounded animals can be followed up quickly. Also, shooting of deer at night with the aid of a spotlight causes less stress to the deer compared with recreational hunting where deer are only permitted to be shot during daylight hours.
Competence of operators
In contrast, hunters have highly variable skill levels and there is no shooting competency test required to acquire a hunting licence. In a survey of hunters carried out by the University of Queensland in 2012, 58% of 6,892 hunters said they had not done any accredited hunter training. Disturbingly, in some states, young children can hunt animals under a junior hunting licence. In Queensland the minimum age is only 11 years old, in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales it is 12 years of age. Junior licences are free in some jurisdictions and may have fewer conditions than adult licences.
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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