Feral pig numbers ‘out of control’

Beef Central, 27/06/2023
NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin says millions of feral pigs are breeding and rampaging across the countryside, thriving after years of high rainfall, attacking native animals and livestock, and causing massive damage to crops and infrastructure.The past three years had been a boom time for pigs, Mr Martin said, and while government control efforts had made a slight dent in the overall number of pigs in certain areas, there were too many reports of a booming breeding population to ignore.

“From the Western Riverina through the Central West and up into the Northern Tablelands, we’re hearing members tell us they’ve never seen pigs this bad before,” Mr Martin said.

“Aerial shooting over the past year saw 80 per cent more pigs culled than the year before, and authorities have distributed 74 tonnes of baits to landholders, but the numbers continue to grow particularly on public land.

“It’s clear the pig numbers are growing out of control now, and we need a drastic and sustained increase in resources for everyone involved to get on top of the problem once and for all.”

According to Local Land Services, more than 63,000 feral pigs had been culled as part of co-ordinated aerial and on-ground shooting and baiting in the past 12 months, although Mr Martin said anecdotal reports from farmers meant the actual numbers were likely far higher. He said there were serious concerns about what would happen after June 30, when the state government’s additional pig control funding ended.

“Trying to keep the pig numbers down farm-by-farm is a bit like trying to put out half a fire – if you’re not tackling the whole problem methodically, it’ll just keep coming back,” Mr Martin said.

“A lack of effective control on public lands is undermining our collective efforts, and we know that’s where the pigs are breeding because we see them coming onto our farms from public lands.

“We need more resources and a solid commitment from all parties involved to tackle feral pigs so we can get on top of them and stay on top of them.”

Source: NSW Farmers


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  1. Kaely, 05/07/2023

    Unfortunately it’s a catch 22 for landholders and managers.
    There is an obvious problem that needs to be dealt with but the solutions are often a bigger headache than the problem.
    Too many landholders have been burnt by licensed and insured rogue hunters that cause more damage than the pest and are simply too risky to have in the workplace. Yes, farms are workplaces and homes, a fact many hunters forget. As a result landholders either permit nobody to hunt or have weeded out a very select few they allow to hunt.
    Responsible landholders also have additional problems like absentee owners as neighbours who don’t care what’s happening or breeding up on their land, as long as there’s something to hunt on a long weekend when they attend their property. These properties are worse than public land as absolutely nothing is spent to maintain or control pest numbers.
    There needs to be a bounty on all feral species and landholders need some form of funding assistance for multiple methods of control including baiting, trapping and hunting.

  2. Sonny Paul, 04/07/2023

    Hello from NZ I’m sure some of the hunters over the ditch would love to come over to some private land with permission to eradicate some of your feral pig population.Its like one of the hunters price quarry over here plus we eat them can’t beat a nice fat poker. It sounds like a hunters paradise.You know how we help with fire fighting I’m sure we could help with pig eradicating

  3. Jason, 04/07/2023

    Hey FF
    I can bring a fantastic team of dogs & set up a team for a non stop de population to keep these pig numbers right down, area by area,, trap, dogs, shoot.

    Send some contact details
    Happy to assist.
    Regards Jace

  4. Phil thomson., 04/07/2023

    I live in qld. Worst state to live in for a bowhunter. All state forestry and nation parks are prohibited for hunting. Private land is the only way. All that bushland is just a breeding haven for a wild pig. Qld authorities that have all the say gotr be stupid. Then they ask the question where r these animals coming from umm deerrrrr. Cheers

  5. Todd, 03/07/2023

    I agree with Will and Jed,
    There’s Absolutley no wonder that the numbers are out of control. Locked up crown land, catchment areas and National Parks, are only half the problem. There’s no enforcement for farmers who willingly leave the ferals roam free. There was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 26/6/23 where there was a story about just this. Farmers were quoted, discussing damage by feral pigs. I contacted these farmers with a solution and denied. Farmers are the first to whinge, however lock their places up and let no one on. It’s their problem now. Only 1 thing will reduce the numbers and that’s drought.
    Regards Todd.

  6. Dianne Pinney, 03/07/2023

    Feral pigs,feral donkeys,feral deer,feral buffalo,feral brumbies,feral camels, feral goats,feral cats,feral dogs,rabbits, foxes, Starlings, Indian minors, European carp, European wasps, cane toads, fire ants,Veroa mite……it’s a wonder we have any native plants and animals left.

  7. Susan White, 02/07/2023

    Give the kangaroos some peace for a change. Pigs are far more destructive, carry diseases, destroy the environment, foul dams, bad around livestock. Get the shooters to earn their money by drastically reducing their numbers, and to keep on shooting them. Sounds like the pig problem is at epidemic proportions. Just too many.

  8. Boe shaw, 02/07/2023

    Poison doesn’t do it 1080 just kills everything turning a carcase in to alive bait for 3 years , big animals are amune to wot eaver you feed them , this needs a full time pest board with the employment of many strategies , and 20 ,100 million govt funding each year creating employment , and export with the meat instead of just wasting it like the cammles in the north , this problem has plenty of potential to feed humans , crock farms , and pet food indrustry , the potential to employ 100 of people has the potential to recover govt taxis and farmers income but like any thing with out govt bank backing it up the results will continue in NZ they have the same problems but the positions don’t listen and they hit the bush with ten 1080 kills the pest sure does but it also kills every other creature in the bush , in the rivers and in the sea , they could have got better results but employing trappers how target the one pest keep the rivers clean and all the wild life remains untouched ,

  9. Willing hunter, 02/07/2023

    I know plenty of law abiding hunters who struggle to get access to any kind of private property hunting.
    Plenty of people willing to pay for their own time, ammo and food to help out, yet get denied.

  10. Jed, 02/07/2023

    Let hunters into public lands without the goverment overreach . Goverment has made it so hard to hunt that most hunters have quit .

    • Glen millar, 04/07/2023

      That’s true it’s getting hard to find any property to shoot on

  11. Bear, 01/07/2023

    Simple fix, rename “Feral Pig” to “WILD BOAR” like they do in Europe and watch all the foodies scramble to pay high prices for a garden pest.l

  12. Ian Caldwell, 30/06/2023

    When “Biosecurity”, negative attitude toward sport shooters to come on to the land, conglomerate s that have a no kill management policy, then you are really up against the tide. I am retired and all the northern NSW properties that I accessed have changed hands and declined access.
    Plus with the non existence of reloading components makes for difficult capacity to help those needing it.

  13. Jim Bratis, 29/06/2023

    Best thing to do is to cull them take them to an abattoir prosses them and sell them for human consumption here in Australia also export them overseas they are yummy to eat

  14. Peter Harris, 29/06/2023

    We need silencers on rifles so more shot can be effective before they run A bounty on a pair of ears so sqealers are worth getting the kids to shoot

    • Gary, 01/07/2023

      Allow more culling by licensed and insured shooters

  15. Lyall Jeanneret, 29/06/2023

    I myself have 2 properties in western Queensland that I hunt feral pigs. I don’t use dogs but instead look for areas they frequent and I use technology to locate pigs in the area. My success depends a lot on environmental conditions, if there’s been very little rain then the chances of adequate food and water for them is low and the animals will migrate many miles to better areas, areas I don’t have access. I’m always looking for those stations that have more of the problems with pigs as my success is better, its not a problem I wish on landholders at all though. I’m fairly certain that in NSW you can get a permit to hunt public land but in QLD you cannot, this is a government failing as it allows the pigs to breed and feed from relative safety without fear of hunters. I’ve been hunting pigs since I was 12 and now I’m nearly 50. Thanks

  16. Geoff Snellgrove, 29/06/2023

    As a contract feral management business owner, I find it hard to get work and navigate the system, even though I have all my tickets, decades of experience and fully insured – yet I know the need for my services?

  17. Joel milton, 28/06/2023

    Government and land holder funding to pay professional pig trapping and shooting for people like myself that have done their part for a profession and hobby unfortunately the market for feral pigs has been unreliable and too many untreated hunters access is often denied by land holders for good reason let’s make this a business you want the job done write get the write people for the job

  18. Cal, 28/06/2023

    Why not cull them to eat we used to do that all the time years ago. They are good eating too!

    • Ryan Clapham, 29/06/2023

      100% agree just get back to eating them all and paying good money for their meat.

  19. Kyle, 27/06/2023

    Let pig hunters into the public land with dogs

  20. Trevor shiell, 27/06/2023

    Use their natural mating hormones to lay trails to aggregate t h em for disposal. Works well with foxes and other feral species. Needs $$ for more research but it works.

  21. Dave wornes, 27/06/2023

    As of 27/6/2023 I am doing our part to help control ferel pig numbers in Cunnamulla public lands are a big problem as a pig hunter we need more government funding and put a bounty on them I have been hunting pigs for 50 years and in my time I haven’t seen the numbers so high If foot and mouth disease gets hold we will be in a world of trouble maybe governments need to look after the people who feed the country and not worry about tripping all over the world

    • Ian Caldwell, 30/06/2023

      In previous years, I have put 3 submissions to QLD government to allow sport shooters on to public lands. The submission outlined all the numerous benefits and the answer “we don’t want any animal killed on QLD public land”.
      You CANNOT move forward when such ideology exists in the spotlight of reality.
      Those who have NO comprehension of distress should not be allowed to make judgements that effect our environment.
      NT & Victoria allow access to public lands and Parks.
      Are we in Australia or in the countries of States. There should be uniform policy for access across the country.

  22. Julian, 27/06/2023

    To all farmers having dramas with pigs just start up a fb page so guys like me who have hunted all ours lives with gun licence can talk to you guys and come help you out .

    • John, 28/06/2023

      I was shooting on a property in Carinda for thirty years every year for ten days would stay and shoot pigs after ten days the count was in many hundreds of dead pigs the farmer was so grateful he would have all the ammunition that we used he would say hurry back verry nice people some properties are now closed to shooting now we have this problem would look forward to doing the same again story of a pig shooter john

  23. Peter F Dunn, 27/06/2023

    It is difficult to comment these days without falling foul of the Comments Policy, when practically every issue flows from, or has some connection with, a political decision or policy. There comes a point when neutrality becomes left behind by the need for courageous choice. If sanctioned extermination of many more than 63000 animals is inadequate, with “pig numbers growing out of control”, is it not time to stand up and put the industry first? This is not a recent development. I can remember feral pig damage to corn crops on the Atherton Tablelands in the 1960’s, and to sorghum crops in Central Queensland decades later. The simple fact is that governments of all persuasions have failed the rural industries on feral pest eradication, to the point where drastic (as in not traditional, not comfortable, and not appeasing) responses are now necessary. The time is now.

    Just to clarify, Peter – enforcing our comments policy has nothing to do with avoiding “political decisions or policies”. Please take the time to read our guidelines, to better understand why some submitted comments are not published. In doing so, readers increase the likelihood of their comments being approved. We stand behind every one of the conditions we impose on reader comments, in order to maintain a reasonable standard of debate. Editor

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