Hunting profits point to tourism trade

Hunting’s economic impact outstrips NSW sheep trade levels.

Dave Rose

There is no point trying to pull the wool over the eyes of hunters in New South Wales. That’s because intriguing statistics released by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) indicate that participation in hunting has soared to levels that eclipse the economic level of the traditional sheep farming trade.

The figures from the DPI confirm that in the 2019-20 financial year, hunting was worth more than $1.4 billion to the state’s budget. This is set against the wool output in the same year which was $1.09 billion, that the Department said had slumped six per cent year-on-year.

So in stark terms, a staple, long-established component of Australia’s most populous state has been overtaken by the spending of those inclined to undertake a pastime that remains long ingrained in the psyche of a huge section of sporting society.

The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia has long been an organisation championing the rights of such dedicated devotees and the cause certainly seems to be flourishing.

Brent Twaddle has been recreationally shooting for the bulk of his life and has transformed his zeal into a virtual profession by assisting farmers to curb animal pests like rabbits and foxes.

In a report by the ABC, Brent said: “I’ve been shooting since I was 12, so always hunting.”

He felt the upsurge in hunting could be a burgeoning tourism outlet for rural Australia, in the same way that has evolved for New Zealand. But please… no sheep jokes just because of the published statistics.

“A lot of people will travel from the city to help the farmers out by shooting pigs or whatever and it’s something that’s really growing,” he also told the ABC.

“When the guys are travelling out, they’re buying fuel, food and they’ve already bought ammunition, he added in the article.

Deer, foxes and wild dogs have all become more abundant in central New South Wales as numerous pieces published in issues of the Great Australian Outdoors have outlined.

Despite the developments, Brent conceded that recreational hunters on their own would not be able to eradicate the state’s pest traumas. A combined approach is required.

Brent felt it would be a constructive move to see authorities back support for farmers to engage more contract shooters on their lands.

“To help cover the cost of hiring the likes of myself to come in and eradicate pests would be a great help,” he concluded.

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