THERE has been much debate on the merits or folly of allowing recreational shooters into national parks - under strict conditions of course - to help with feral animal control.
Will someone end up shot from a less than careful shooter is the argument against? Without getting into the politics and venturing an opinion either way, after a lifetime on the land where firearms were a “tool of the trade”, just like the stock whip and branding iron, my mind goes back to a couple of instances among many relating to firearms and fools.
A vehicle pulled up in a cloud of dust on the station in the Nyngan area back in 1981 and I was confronted by a car load of bleary-eyed youths. They had driven through the night from Sydney with their vehicle loaded with enough firepower to start a war and were seeking directions to the nearest feral pig area.
Talking to them it soon became obvious they had never seen a feral pig before and should have gone swimming in Bondi instead. Their zeal to shoot something, however, would not be denied so I lectured them for some time and sent them off to a property in the marshes with the strictest instructions to find the manager first and adhere to his rules. “Just don’t tel him I sent you.”
At another time a couple (friends of friends) came from Melbourne to do some “spotlighting” under my guidance. While I was out on the run the young man made the mistake of trying to bring his much-prized new rifle from the caravan to the homestead to show my wife who was alone at the time. One of my sheepdogs saw him coming and denied him entry into the yard. The young man had the presence of mind to put the rifle on the ground and step back, whereupon the dog then lay on it until my wife responded to the fellow’s frantic calls.
My dog showed better sense than the gun owner.
The state government can introduce all the conditions that it likes in an effort to justify allowing recreational shooters into national parks, but will that prevent the types that I have experienced from being there? Unfortunately you just can’t legislate against stupidity.
Bruce C Martin,