You are hereDo you want shooters in parks you ride?

Do you want shooters in parks you ride?

Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 13 April 2011

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Dunno about anyone else, but this news makes my blood boil:

Hunting in state forests has been discussed here before (see 'Conservation' Hunting in NSW State Forests) but if you thought that was a stupid idea, what about letting shooters into National Parks?

A group of cyclists are riding some tracks in XX National Park unaware that on a track 100 metres away is a hunter stalking his prey. This hunter is also unaware that the cyclists are on the other side of the trees. He takes aim.........he misses his prey........and the bullet continues on.........

Look at the picture in the article linked above? And these people claim to be conservationists? WTF!?

They also want shooting included as a school sport, and I think we've all seen what happens when you give troubled adolescents access to lethal weapons and teach them killing is 'sport'.

What do you think? Should bike riders be given more access to National Parks and should MTB (and other bike) skills be taught in school, or should we just forget that and give the kids guns instead? Sad

moggio's picture

I'm gobsmacked! This bunch hold the balance. Are we in Australia still?

So either the BOF makes deals and gives them what he wants to get stuff through or he maintains a sense of sanity and lame ducks as premier unable to operate. I guess we will see how clever he is and whether he has a spine.

That photo where he has shot a bull elephant is just so f$#ked up. Says a lot about the mindset.

Flynny's picture

Yeah I wrote letters of concern when it first went in.
The response was predictable.

I don't mind licensed shooters being there as they do help keep ferrals down. It concerns me though that it's up to us to give them 3 months notice of when we plan to hold an event. i thought it should be the other way around.

last year with lidsdale I just booked every sunday even if we had no intention of having a race on all of them.

That works for clubs and official events doesn't do much for recreational riding though.

I guess if you see signs and hear gun shoots make sure you have a bright reflective vest and don't act like a duck or something

Muninjitsu's picture

Oh my God. What has this screwed up world come to? I dont see how National Parks would stand for this, it opens up a lot of litigation issues if someone is mistaken for a ferrel cat and shot.

Supagav's picture

I am going to stir trouble here but YES I want to be able to access national parks and go hunting for feral animals that wreck havoc with the native bush land.

The quote above about hunters being 100m off track away from where you could be riding your bike and then getting shot, well that is much like saying the dirt bikes (what is a dirt bike?) cause erosion..... I it full of false claims, no proof and is an uneducated guess as to what and how hunters go about hunting.....

I am a hunter myself and I will never hunt anywhere near a known track, people make noise and smell very strongly, most of the hunted species will have a great aversion to both noise and smell of humans.

The other assumption made here is that hunters will miss the target, and the projectile will hit you.... wheres the proof.
All hunting rifles are very accurate and in skilled hands will be able to put 3 shoots within a 30mm circle at 100m or more.
Even if you have never fired a rifle in your life before with suitable supervision and basic training everyone would be able to put 3 shots into 100mm circle. What this all means is that the chance of missing your target in the first place is basically Nil, (with suitable training etc as stated above).
Dont get me wrong I understand that bullets do miss their targets (or go straight through them) at times. yes if you are in the flight path of the bullet you are at risk.... But myself as a hunter would of taken all due care to ensure that this risk is minimized I would also not be hunting in area where I know other users would/could be present.

If people here are going to put an argument together saying the hunters should not be allowed into National parks they better do some serious homework and ensure their claims can be backed up.

FYI All the hunters I know are out there hunting for the experience of being in the bush and being completely aware of your surroundings, the hunting is a reason to get out there off the beaten track. The actual kill serves two purposes, firstly it helps control feral animals numbers and it provides the hunter with meat (if suitable. eg deer).

Hmm I cant wait till my next MTBing and hunting trip!

darkmuncan's picture

What is wrong with including shooting as an elective school sport? (assuming the school is willing to participate) We aren't talking about hunting here (killing is sport comment) OR letting 'troubled adolescents' loose with Military grade weapons. I was member of the local rifle club when I was in Scouts and I had a great time doing target shooting up at Hornsby Rifle Range.

It's a legitimate sport and forms of shooting were included in the Olympics loooooong before Mountain Biking was.

Firearms education for older students who are interested in sport shooting can only be a good thing. Fireaems education for ANYBODY can only be a good thing.

As individuals and as a group we are always talking about giving special interest groups (this include MTBr's AND Shooters and anyone else who wants to use them sustainably) more access to enjoy our national parks and whilst I don't support the senseless killing for sport, you can't separate them out based on your personal uneducated beliefs, thats what the Hikers do to us (Mountain Bikes being noisy and smoky anyone?) and look how much we hate that.

The scenario of having hunters operating a hundred metres away from MTB Track is just ludicrous too, if you had ever spent any time on a Military or Club firing range you would know that.

*edit - looks like Supagav beat me to the punch.

Rob's picture

I guess we will have to wait and see what the details being asked for are but...

Letting 'recreational' hunters into a park to shoot ferals is like trying to plug a dam with your finger. If 'conservation' hunting is used as an excuse for access it is a very poor one. In order to eradicate feral animals one must have an organised effort and cull them in one area, then another adjacent area, then the next, etc. If there isn't a concerted effort to do this then just removing a handful of animals here and there will have no effect on their overall population.

As for the point about people smelling and animals not going near tracks as a result... having ridden by kangaroos just 10m or so away from the track in certain state forests I would have to disagree.

I would imagine that a hunter would not have any specific knowledge of where mountain bike tracks go. I would also imagine they would prefer to hunt away from firetrails and tracks, but after wondering off into the bush how are they meant to know where the nearest track may or may not be?

Let's suppose that hunters only ask for access to 'wilderness' parks away from population where any stray bullets or arrows (and don't even try and tell us every hunter hits their target every time) are unlikely to find a human target. Well aren't parks away from urban centres those least likely to contain certain feral animals (escaped domestic pets)?

I'm sure there are large populations of other pests in the wilderness areas but as I started out saying above, their eradication should be properly organised and professional.

Out of interest, the Game Council of NSW website which states, "There are approximately 400 declared State forests and Crown land areas available for hunting access under the Game Council NSW game hunting licence system"

Isn't that already enough?

Ray R's picture

I think we should separate some of the purposes here:

- Hunting is a recreational sport. Some like it, some don't - fair enough. There are plenty of private land owners who welcome hunters, again - fair enough. So hunters can use private land.

- Feral animal control is often given as the purpose of allowing hunting in National Parks. There is very strong evidence that shooting is a very INEFFECTIVE method of controling most feral animals (foxes, rabbits, pigs, goats, cats). There are exceptions to this - mainly to do with the eradication of larger, herd animals, eg horses & cows. The most effective methods of control/eradication involve wider scale programs which can not be achieved by hunting.

In fact, there is continuing evidence of hunters always leaving a few animals so that they can maintain a breading population. This is like the rabbit trappers/shooters of the past who always left a few - otherwise their job would disappear.

In Yellomundee Regional Park, I have seen the evidence of pigs being introduced so as to produced a population for hunting.

So let's not get our purposes mixed up. Hunting is ok if you wish to do it - but not in National Parks please. And if we wish to eradicate feral animals in National Parks we should be lobbying the government to provide sufficient funds to NPWS to manage Parks properly.

Rob's picture
The scenario of having hunters operating a hundred metres away from MTB Track is just ludicrous too, if you had ever spent any time on a Military or Club firing range you would know that.

Yes - military or club firing ranges are clearly built in safe locations.

I don't see any problem with sports shooting (as in the Olympics) as you mention but that is mostly done with small calibre weapons, always at a range, at targets that don't move or have predictable trajectory (like clay pigeon shooting - which I have done once and is mildly entertaining). It's absolutely nothing to do with walking through the bush where there may be other people, trying to find and then shoot what would probably be a fast moving animal.

The point is - if you let a hunter loose in a park to shoot anywhere they like they are no longer on a range and could very easily be in an area with other recreational users without knowing it.

I do agree that the parks are there to share, but I sure as sh!t don't want to be sharing it with someone carrying a deadly weapon!

I would also agree that in an ideal world weapons education is a good thing. Trouble is, we don't live in an ideal world Sad

moggio's picture

The BOF rules out deals... for the moment

......'s picture

i hate guns.

Whisperer's picture

All mtb riders would stick to trails, not ride in the extreme wet, respect trail advocacy, wear helmets... you get my drift.

In your ideal world, all hunters would take the careful and precise approach you advocate.

Unfortunately, around Sydney and other high density population centres there are many and varied uses for National Parks. The density and usage means that we cannot be absolutely certain of safety, given there is a likelyhood of other park users in any 1km radius (my laymans assumption of the effective range of a high powered projectile).

Combine the inherent risk of 'fringe' hunters (like fringe mtb'ers), and the chance of injury to others, I cannot support general hunting in national parks. Shooting ranges are fine, and in my past I've done a reasonable amount of target shooting myself. Let it be done in controlled circumstances!

ps's picture

I used to live in a house with a few guys who went hunting (and fishing). They were members of a club and the club had a scale for points associated with the feral animals. Now one of the guys thought a gun wasn't sporting enough so he used to hunt pigs, goats etc on foot with a bow and arrow.
So unless you are near a rural river you would never come across most of these people and some of them do take their sport seriously. I know he had to get within 30m with the bow he was using so had to be downwind, approach slowly etc. My understanding is that he only fired when the animal was still and then had to stand still while the pig died or got angry (theory is if the pig didn't know you where there don't let it find you by moving).
So in that scenario there is almost no chance of him coming into contact with an MTB rider as he could only hunt effectively near remote sources of water.
Personally I would be against hunting near somewhere like Wingello or anywhere within the Sydney basin.

Also seems likely that its the casual hunters that do all the damage and cause all the problems and think its fun to hunt native animals. just my 2c worth.

donkerr's picture

We are seeking access from authorites that we believe don't understand the full arguments in favour of mountain biking yet collectively you rally against another minority group assuming that the idiots are the majority?

Matt_B's picture

As per moggio

BOF has apparently also told green groups that hunting in NPs won't happen and they are taking a wait and see rather than chucking their toys around

Jason P's picture

The current NSW Government Game Council legislation to obtain a Restricted NSW Game Hunting Licence (R-Licence) is quite rigorous.

Are you all that naive you think the NSW Police and NSW Government would give approval for the same types of morons that think Paintball is a sport to go and shoot at anything that moves in a State Forest?

We are talking about professional hunters and recreational hunters with vast experience. One of the first things any intelligent hunter learns is always identify your target beyond doubt, ensure the firing zone is safe along with the area behind the target and making sure the angle of your shot means that if you miss the target the projectile will not carry.

I have actually seen the maps of the permitted hunting areas in Kiwarrak SF under the present legislation and the majority of our singletrack is well away.

As Supagav said this is like pointing the finger at dirt bikers. I've found the dirtbikers in Kiwarrak to always be considerate, they slow down when they see MTBers and get us to indicate how many in our group and they indicate how many motos to come. What people forget is recreational hunters and moto riders are normal people, they have wives, girlfriends, brothers, sisters and children that they would hate to see killed by an act of negligence or stupidity. You carry an accident like that on your conscience for life if you have the slightest bit of humility!

......'s picture

i wonder how many mtber's in the US get shot accidentally. When i was over there i recall several incidents, i also recalled that for a time there riders wouldn't wear brown or green,

i think guns in a mixed useage area is a fools errand no matter how you argue the point. if there is even a slim chance a trail user could be shot and injured or killed there should not be a gun in the area.

It doesn't matter how polite, skilled profesional or experienced a shooter is, an accident carries to high a cost.

obmal's picture

Shooting is fun, Mountain bike riding is fun, Beer drinking is fun... cant wait till we can have a Mont style 24 shoot'em up, do a lap, chug a beer race in a National park!

I think Rob's confusing gun control, gun education and national park access and wrapping them up with sensationalist remarks.. yeah Rob they're going to give kids guns and teach them to kill... its the exact same sensationalist style we don't like when its coming from the mouths of the uber conservative minorities when they are calling for the banning of mountain bikes and generally reeking havoc on trail advocacy issues.. but we are just a bunch of drug using environmental terrorists right??

Now do we really think that they'd open it up so we have the case were we'd have shooters in the situation to endanger cyclists and bush walkers? given the Nana state we live in and the way things go; you'd have to guess it would be bogged down by regulations and safety rules.

Rob's picture

Mountain bike riders have been trying to gain fair access to National Parks for years based on scientific evidence that when done properly mountain bike riding completely sustainable and within the recreation values of National Parks. Certainly building and riding a single track trail is far less of an impact than maintaining a network of firetrails that National Parks seems to think is perfectly acceptable.

There are also many health, economic, social, etc. benefits of riding.

Note that I personally only think special mountain bike access (ie. single track) should be granted where population dictates there is a demand (eg. close to urban centres). I think in wilderness areas, etc. if there happen to be firetrails we should be happy to stick to riding them, and if there are none then bad luck out there.

None of this is anything to do with hunting, or motor bike riding, or any other user group though.

If these other groups want access, it is their prerogative to lobby for it, and just like us, they should put up with the lobby against them from people who think that is not what National Parks are for.

As I've said above (and also mentioned by Ray), I don't think there is a case for 'conservation' hunting in parks. As has also been pointed out, this isn't about range shooting which have their own facilities and there are many other existing places to hunt.

I'm sure there are a majority of hunters that would be responsible, but be honest, what do hunters find acceptable and responsible behaviour? The front page of the SMH today has a picture of a Shooters Party MP who thinks killing an African elephant for a trophy is something to be proud of! I personally find it a barbaric, disgusting relic from the 1800s. Is this what most hunters aspire to or is that image just the media trying to stir the debate? Yes, yes, hunting in National Parks would only be for feral animals, right? Or would some be tempted to take home something more exotic than a stray cat or dog once in a while?

Looking at what can go wrong with a handful of users misbehave. With MTB that might be some erosion, or some illegally constructed trails that will need rehabilitation. Problem with a user group who carry deadly weapons the results might be a bit more severe.

Southy's picture

I agree that done responsively hunting is a legitimate sport but we all know there are those out there who are not responsible and do the wrong thing. The difference is if a mountain bike rider does the wrong thing at worst they cause some soil erosion or scare a native animal. With hunting there is the potential for a much more devastating outcome.

I know of at least one reported case on the NSW north coast of a trail bike rider being killed. He was found dead out on the trail. It was suspected and reported in the media at the time he died from crashing his bike. It was later revealed in a coronial post mortem the rider had a gunshot wound. It is suspected he was hit by the stay bullet of a hunter causing the crash.

I personally have been out in the bush riding when I came across a couple of bow hunters. Knowing they where in the same area I was riding made me more than nervous causing me to leave.

Brian's picture

I just got back to my desk and haven't read all the comments but this came to my mind

Wayno's picture

What would you think the probability of being shot and killed by a misguided/stray bullet in a national park would be compared to the probability of being killed driving to a national park to go mountain biking? Or the probability of being killed on the road whilst riding your push-bike? The next point to ponder is which national parks will be open to shooting. Are you thinking Royal National Park or Garrigal or any of the other parks that are close to populated areas. I would think that they would restrict the shooting to more remote parks which were less frequently visited by people.

......'s picture

the probability of being shot in a national park is far less if hunting is illegal in a national park. I don't care much for the probability argument,

Southy's picture

I think private game reserves would be a much better place for hunter to pursue their chosen sport, not national parks.

Even on that note, the photo in that article of the dead bull elephant brought a tear to my eye. I'm no greenie but what does anybody get out of killing such a majestic animal. How is that sport?

Noel's picture

I think hunting should be allowed, but only using spears, nets, clubs, or knives. I'm not a fan of firearms, but I do like grenades... Could I hunt with grenades in my local national park? How about land mines? Where can I get a rocket propelled grenade launcher from? Will I be able to buy ammo at the Boat House shop in Lane Cove National Park?

With the schools, wouldn't it be better to teach children how to kill using a baton, broken bottle or knife? Surely it would save parents lots of money as firearms cost much more. They could learn to make shanks in metalwork.

I'd take a guess the shooting would be occurring in a fairly controlled manner.

Muninjitsu's picture

Not all shooters are responsible, especially when you add some alcohol to the mix. To legalize shooting even in remote areas is still a risk to walkers, canyoners, etc. I don't see how National Parks would ever legalize something like this.

Johnn's picture

There will be someone, somewhere wanting to introduce something more interesting to shoot like deer, pigs or elephants. Same happens when a new interesting bit of single track or feature is constructed. Some people can't help themselves.
Can't see the sport in making a live creature dead.

Hop fiend's picture

don't you think they would put signs up warning people entering parks that this would be happening?-of course they're will be!-it is easier to get a B-double licence than a gun licence, so lets just settle down a bit here with all this "I'm going to be shot by a drunk trigger happy loon".

Rob's picture

So you are saying no-one is at risk from "a drunk trigger happy loon"?

Tell that to Rosemary Margaret Ives Sad

Although I'm not sure the story actually mentions if the shooter was either drunk, trigger happy or a loon, so maybe a more tactful description would be appropriate (from the link Brian included earlier):

NZ Deerstalker' Association president Alec McIver said it was "very unusual" for a hunter to mistake a person for a target.

"You are quite safe out there, this is just a really unusual situation which obviously should never have happened," he told NZPA.

Should never happen: Yes
Did happen: Yes
Quite safe out there: Clearly not!
Lesson to learn: Don't create a situation of risk unnecessarily.

It's interesting you mention the ease one can get a B-double license (or a car license for that matter). Both (B-doubles and cars) are deadly weapons yet because most of society would not function without transport the risk versus reward equation of allowing people to drive is deemed worth it. However, society would (continue to) function just fine without hunting in National Parks and thus the reward side of the equation looks to be negligible to non-existent, whereas even in this short thread two fatalities have been brought up which highlights the very real and obvious risks.

pantsman's picture

You are quite clearly doing the very thing that anti "anything" uninformed people do. Very similiar to the reaction the colong foundation and the like do to a user group such as mountainbikers. What is your next step? A letter box drop?

It is very easy to search the internet for stories that show anything in a bad light. Really, as someone that runs a website for a user group that has and continues to be ostracised in the outdoor area, I am disappointed to read the way this site is going.

Just because hunting is not a sport you are familiar with does not give you the right to paint hunters as beer swilling, irresponsible thugs.

There are also very real and very obvious risks to our sport, you want us to be stopped from riding in national parks or indeed anywhere?

unclebullbar's picture

If you don't want me to ride my Tomac Sniper in the bush, just say so!

Rob's picture

@pantsman... I assume your comments are aimed at me?

Few points:

1. What is it that makes you think I am uninformed? Perhaps I'm no expert on the topic but like everyone else here am allowed to state an opinion. That opinion is actually based on reports from both sides of the argument; from a story I saw about a wholesome family camping trip where mom and dad take the kids out shooting and end up with a deer which they clean and cook to an expert stating facts about feral animals and what needs to be done to control/eradicate them and how 'conservation' hunters won't really help in any way. As already stated I have no objection to shooting as a sport on a range and admit to have tried it myself.

2. I didn't actually search the Internet for any stories, you note other people posted them here and I simply commented on them. If there happen to be bad stories out there though, and one does not want to see shooting in National Parks, then what is wrong with bringing them up to back your views? If these stories are incorrect, then much as mountain bike riders point out that motor bikes often cause a lot of damage they are blamed for, shooters should point out where they are being incorrectly or unfairly treated.

3. I didn't paint hunters as anything like you suggest ("beer swilling, irresponsible thugs"). It was another user who did that and you note that I said perhaps we should be more tactful.

4. I agree there are risks to any sport, or even getting out of bed in the morning. The difference between shooting and bike riding is that I cannot accidentally kill another parks user a hundred meters away with my bike. Thieves are not likely to break into my house to steal my bike for use in various armed crimes. If I one day snap mentally I won't be able to take my bike to the nearest high school and kill many innocents with it.

5. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and debate, if you disagree with some things I say then politely tell me where I'm wrong and include some evidence to back it up.

......'s picture

i really can't see how there are parallels between us riding single track, and a small metal object designed to kill. i appreciate the advocacy for your sport angle however I simply cannot see how paralells can be drawn.

pantsman's picture

It's not my sport, I have no advocacy for it. I have a very keen interest on keeping on maintaining the rights of anyone being allowed to get outside and enjoy doing there chosen pastime in a manner that is both enjoyable and responsible. Their seems to be a holier than thou attitude slowly creeping into this site that really needs to be addressed.

Again, I have no affiliation with hunting, it's not something I enjoy, but do I think it should be blanket banned in areas because it's not my bag? Hell no.

And Rob, the very way you started your post was inflammatory, it could be on any subject, but your draw parallels between shooting in National Parks to shootings at schools? Or at the very least bring up shootings in schools in relation to shooting as a sport?

Current Affairs programs do a pretty good job of bringing irrational behaviour to reporting too.

moggio's picture

I just don't see how just because something is an outdoor activity they should all somehow be on a level playing field of validity and we should all bond together in one happy family.

I like fly fishing, and I know people would object to that as an activity and I object to other forms of fishing like when I see pics from my father-in-law catching giant squid which they just throw out. I guess I can understand why people like hunting too, but that doesn't mean it should just be allowed everywhere in the same way I don't think mountain bikes should be allowed everywhere either.

The story that started this of has the MP shown having shot an elephant which is a photo that is going to cause a major reaction from most people. This is not on the same level as what could be the most emotive MTB pic, maybe a guy with a shovel and a pile of dirt.

Guns are serious stuff because they can be used to kill. Not many things in our world are designed with killing as a primary purpose, and things which are capable of that need some serious assessment.

pancakes's picture

The parallels are that it's just another group after access to public land that we all have a right to. The ignorance demonstrated in some of the responses to this thread is not really surprising as it pervades modern city-centric society.

Next time you're out in the bush (no not Garigal....) ask a farmer what they think about the National Park bordering their property and the feral animals that have a safe haven there. Ask them about the wild dogs that can roam their property at will and cut a swathe through their livestock, then retreat to the sanctuary of a National Park. Ask them about the park dwelling feral pigs that destroy their fences enroute to feeding on their crop or wallowing in the water courses and advancing erosion. Ask them how much they've time, effort and money they've spent on ripping and poisoning rabbit warrens only to have them return via the neighbouring National Park.

Then, ask them if they give a flying f*** about mountain bikers getting access to National Parks.

When they implement this it won't be a blanket "OK now National Parks or open for hunting". There will be specific areas of specific parks. The same as the current situation with State Forests in NSW.

As for the shooting as a school sport concept, ask a baby boomer or older person if they did shooting at school/in cadets etc. Odds are they used to carry their three-oh to school on the train, then bang off a few rounds at a range possibly set up at the school. Then ask them how it affected them psychologically or if they relished and grew from the responsibilty bestowed on them.

My point is there's a big, wide world out there and just because you have an emotive, ill conceived and uninformed opinion about something (and an internet connection) doesn't mean you're making a valid argument.

ps. If you're really worried about this take care next time you ride in a NP in Victoria. It's been legal to hunt in National Parks there for ever, not to mention if you ever get to ride in the US or Canada.

pps. The other good thing about having hunters in National Parks is they keep the hippies out.

Hop fiend's picture

well said!

Flynny's picture
I just don't see how just because something is an outdoor activity they should all somehow be on a level playing field of validity

Walkers say the same thing about us.

I don't mind shooters so long as it's licensed and regulated properly. I highly doubt it will be open slather in Urban parks.

Rob, re your comment on plugging a dam with your finger. When I was a very young kid they paid $2 or something for a fox skin. I've lived in houses that back onto bush almost my whole life and can't recall seeing a live fox anywhere til I was about 16. Now they are every where.

Rob's picture

There's some good points being raised which is nice to see.

And then there are not...


"And Rob, the very way you started your post was inflammatory, it could be on any subject, but your draw parallels between shooting in National Parks to shootings at schools?

No, I didn't draw parallels, I just pointed out that sometimes people who have problems get hold of firearms and do bad things. The more people that hunt (and isn't getting access to National Parks partly about making hunting more accessible and therefore popular?), the more firearms are going to be in circulation in the general population and the higher the chance of something bad happening. Common sense. If you doubt this then look at the list of school shootings and then the gun ownership table and see who's at the top of them both. I'm not saying it's always going to happen, but the chances are higher (see previous post about risk/reward).


You talk a lot about the problems farmers have with ferals. I don't doubt this and you will see earlier accepted such problems exist. However, I (and Ray) also noted that professionals are the only way to deal with feral animals. Amateur hunters are not going to make any difference despite their claims. Sure, perhaps a farmer might like to pursue individual large pests into neighbouring parks, but are you seriously telling me they are going to clear the entire park of ferals? I doubt they have the time or resources for that, and why should they anyway - that is a task for NPWS - so the problem will remain.

You also talk a lot about ignorance and uninformed people, yet have not told us precisely where we are wrong. Like I said, include some evidence in your replies if you want to make a compelling case.

Look, I also stated very early on in this thread, "I guess we will have to wait and see what the details being asked for are but..." but no-one has seen fit to bring out precisely what it is these people want.

I read their policy statement and they want a lot. Sadly they don't mention once how they are going to separate hunters from other recreational users. As Flynny has already mentioned, the current state forests access agreement is less than ideal. One can only assume they would like the same for National Parks? Sorry, I don't want that.

I did begin to write a section about how it might be acceptable to have recreational shooters in parks alongside professionals as part of a concerted feral eradication program but then thought about it. Would the recreational shooters get in the way of the professionals? Probably, and this would compromised the effort.

To be honest, at this point I'd just like to see a really detail plan of what the Shooters & Fishers Party actually wants, down to a timetable of when access would be granted, safety measures (for hunters and other users), signs, advertising of hunting in a specific park, etc, etc. I can't imagine it will be workable but again as I have admitted, am no expert on hunting. So the challenge is there to hunters: prove this will be done in a safe and productive manner and perhaps you'll change some opinions.

Nick R's picture

Ives, 25, was brushing her teeth when she was shot through the head by Mears, who was illegally spotlighting with friends from a utility vehicle, on Labour Weekend this year. Police estimated the shot was fired less than 26 metres from where Ives was standing. Mears told police he mistook Ives' headlamp for the eye of a deer.

hawkeye's picture

Seems to be a lot emotion without much information here.

I don't have too much of a problem with allowing licensed shooters to access NPs to shoot ferals. I think it is a good idea that uses self-interest to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes... which, strangely enough, is the basis of the capitalist economy we live in and which puts food on all our tables and and roofs over our heads. Smiling

The Victorian experience would seem to indicate that a model exists that works. To my thinking that means we would need to see the detail of any proposed NSW NP access plan for shooters before getting excited about potential risks to safety.

Our strength to date in dealing with objections to our own access to NPs has been our rationality and evidence-based approach. Yet, here we are, behaving like the Colon Foundation and NPA and getting our hackles up and being all emotive.

When I went to high school (a public, boys-only high school within 8km of the CBD) we had an army cadet unit, replete with .22s and .303s in an armoury. Its existence wasn't at all controversial.

That said, that the shooters and fishers party are a bunch of rednecks is clearly evidenced by the rest of their agenda, which I would be opposed to.

philberesford's picture

Can we bring back the 'Like' button? I like this thread it's very entertaining.

trancexone's picture

I think we are being a bit hysterical here. I am pretty sure that they are not going to allow hunters access to areas where the majority of us ride, Manly Dam, Glenrock, Awaba, Ourimbah, Yellowmundee and on and on ad infinitum. We have fought hard as a community for access to these facilities and have had to weather the arguments of the ill informed to get that access. In this instance, we are being the very voice of the hysterical ill informed. There are rare occasions when we venture into remote areas, but there aren't really any trails in those areas, and it is the exception rather than the rule. And just because city dwelling mtbers occasionally decide to venture out into the bush, it does not mean we have the right to claim it as our own and deny other users group access to their sport.

And Rob, to deny that your opening comments were designed to be anything other than inflammatory is astounding. You could not have fitted in any more anti gun, lock up your children, cliche clap trap if you tried.

I personally am very anti gun and don't really understand what pleasure could be gained from killing a defenceless animal, but I am a big fan of balanced and reasonable argument based on fact. You cannot open with a comment like that on a public forum and then deny that it was designed to be anything other than completely inflammatory. Obviously there is quite a large community of hunters out there and they are entitled to enjoy their sport. Just because they enjoy their sport in the same environs as we, does not mean we have the right to tell them what they can and cannot do. They are more than entitled, just as we have done, to fight for access to suitable areas in which to hunt.

......'s picture

so Pancakes. Are we talking about shooting as a sport here or shooting as a feral animal control stratergy. I agree with profesional hunters going through the parks kulling feral animals, but i still fail to see how we can have sport hunters shooting in national parks and be able to control for safety of other park users.

......'s picture

trance, i agree, we wont see hunter at the local loops, however i am a fan of heading into the bush to explore the fire trails. and i think we can agree that most of us like to do that also. these are the riders that are at risk not the glenrock manly dam etc riders.

trancexone's picture

I'm the same Refresh. I love taking the wife and kids out into the bush with the tent and the bikes, but that does not give me the right to say "People, I am here to ride, clear the immediate area of all other user groups". I also like to surf, does that give me the right to lobby to kill all sharks because there is a chance i might get bitten? I know that is stretching things a bit, but just because we like to ride whereever we want, we have to understand that we might be entering someone elses domain and that might pose a risk to us. I like riding up along the ridge west from Mt Sugarloaf and have almost been run over by 4WD enthusiast on fire trails, but that is just a risk of the sport AND I am in their domain. Does that give me the right to lobby to have 4WD access denied?

pancakes's picture

Rob, as requested here's some light lunch time reading:

Effective means of control (see Para 3.6):

The numbers in Table 3.4 make it pretty hard to argue the lack of effectiveness of amateur hunters. The sheer size of the task means professional pest eradicators have a limited impact. Hence the current problem with feral animals.

Also of note regarding effectiveness is the quote from the link below (p.1.4.4);

"A further example from the RIRDC report underpins the important role of responsible hunters and is evidenced by estimations that feral pigs cost Australia’s agricultural industries $100 million a year in lost production, mostly in NSW and Queensland. It has been estimated that hunters kill 15-20% of the feral pig population in accessible country."

Ethics and Conservation:

A Northern perspective:

Why would anyone hunt?

And FYI the vast majority of farmers I've met have better things to do (i.e. providing for the rest of us) than go chasing pests on public lands. They'd much rather leave that to the amateurs. Eye-wink

......'s picture

Hey Hawk. I think you hit the nail on the head with the licensing issue. Licensed gun users need to have a very profesional approach. At the end of the day their chosen sport could place others life at risk. Gun users need to be managed, controlled, and monitored. it's as simple as that.
Your experience with school and gun use articulates the same point. I can't see that going to cadets is the same thing as having shooting as a sport that kids choose, ie, hmm, what am i going to do this term, volley ball or shooting?? Hmmm.

I actually don't agrtee that the emotional content in some of these emails is a bad thing. Guess what, arguments are actually a very good thing. The best outcomes come out of conflict.

I think that people that try to say that others are getting to emotional are simply trying to make their own point seem more rational. It's an old trick that is very effective, but it is a trick none the less.

Guns in the hands of punters in national parks..... Hell no. Guns in the hands of profesional shooters for feral animal control. F*&K yes. Guns for sport, no way, kids learning about weapons at cadets or other similar groups, for sure.

Rob's picture

You know why a cliche is a cliche? Because a lot of the time they are so true.

It's clear that this thread has touched a nerve on both sides. From those that agree that public land is there to share to those that are scared of guns.

Healthy debate is a good thing Smiling

FWIW, I have written to both members of the Shooters Party that were listed in the parliamentary directory to ask how they would alley our fears regarding safety as their policy statement is way too vague.

Although I wanted to mention my personal views of their 'sport' (read the bio on the party's website[1] - Borsak is proud of having "...chased trophy game all over the world...") decided better of it.

Let's see what they have to say.


Borsak said, "I hunt because I like to hunt; it is part of my genetic make-up,". Interesting. It is certainly part of our animal instinct to hunt for food, but where does trophy hunting fit into that? It's also part of our genetic make-up to want to spread our genes widely by procreating with as many females of the species as possible. I note Borsak is proud of being in a 34 year marriage with his wife. Good on him for controlling that part of his animal instinct at least.

......'s picture

Again, i still think it's foolish. it's not only us mtbers that are at risk of a stray bullet, its the 4wders, the walkers, campers moto riders etc etc. and actually, the fire trail is not their domain, they don't own it and neithe do we. It's about sharing, simple as that. I see your point however the thing that bugs me is that yes, there will be accidents in which a 4wd hits a cyclist etc, and their could be serious injury or worse, however i see that there is an element of humand control here. If your on your bike or walking and you can't hear the moto or 4wd coming then there is actually another issue here, we can manage these thingsd, however there isn't much hope if a stray bullet is coming your way.

At the end of the day, for me, I want my kids to go for a ride in the bush, i realise that they may come back injured or worse, i accept this, however i will exercise my right to lobby against any group that i disagree with, and thats my right. Guns should not be in national parks unless in the hands of profesionals.

So to answer your question, Do you have the right to lobby against 4wd's in national parks?? Hell yes you do, and tell anyone that says otherwise to get F&^ked. We are still a democracy.

trancexone's picture

But are they are two different arguments. Access to suitable land for hunters is in no way related to children be offered shooting as an option at school. Teaching kids to shoot? F@*k me, does it get any dumber than that?

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