Due to the inherent risks involved, many animals hunted for sport or recreation will suffer pain and distress.
Most of the animals that are hunted for sport and recreation are introduced species such as feral cats, wild dogs, feral goats, foxes, hares, rabbits, feral pigs, buffalo as well as feral donkeys, horses and camels. The particular species that can be hunted vary between states and territories, as do the licensing and regulation requirements.
Wild deer are hunted as game animals (despite being considered pests in some areas due to their adverse environmental impacts). Some native animals including wallabies and kangaroos can also be hunted in some states. A number of native waterfowl species (such as black duck, wood duck, chestnut teal etc.) and other native birds (corellas, galahs, Australian raven) are also hunted along with native and non-native game birds such as quail, guinea fowl, partridge, peafowl, pheasant, spotted dove, turkeys and magpie geese.
Whether or not a licence is required and, if required, the type of licence varies according to the species hunted and whether it is hunted on private or public land. Where animals are classified as ‘game animals’ there may also be ‘bag limits’ which place restrictions on how many animals can be killed by a single hunter in a day.
Unfortunately, there is no legal requirement to demonstrate shooter competency, so anyone who has a firearm licence can obtain a hunting permit regardless of whether or not they are skilled at shooting animals humanely. There is limited monitoring or enforcement, so many animals may suffer pain and distress after being shot but not killed outright by an unskilled hunter. In addition, children as young as 11 years of age can obtain a hunting permit.
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.