Game Council chief under fire

ACTING chief executive of the Game Council based in Orange, Greg McFarland was unavailable for comment yesterday after being stood down from his role on Tuesday night.

The office in Hill Street remains open however a staff member told the Central Western Daily no comments would be issued from the office.

The council is the body that will issue shooting licences under the scheme.

Mr McFarland was suspended on Tuesday night - along with a colleague - by the Primary Industries Minister, Katrina Hodgkinson, after Fairfax Media learnt of a police investigation into an incident near Mount Hope in central west NSW.

Rural crime investigators confirmed they are looking into claims of illegal hunting and trespass and the inhumane killing of a feral goat.

They plan to interview Mr McFarland and the Game Council's head of law enforcement, Andy Mallen, who was also suspended by the minister.

Mr Mallen, who is responsible for educational programs - including one on encouraging hunters to respect private property - insisted he was never there and is confident he will be exonerated after the investigation.

At the centre of the investigation is a Game Council vehicle that was seen being driven through a national park without permission before allegedly breaking a fence and entering the privately-owned Karwarn cattle station in pursuit of a male goat with “trophy horns”.

According to photographs taken by the owner of the 25,000-acre property, Diane Noble, the goat was shot in the gut - an act that contravenes the council's own guidelines on humane, “single shot” kills. Hunters sometimes avoid shooting a goat in the head to ensure the skull and horns can be hung as a trophy.

The incident happened on December 28 at the Noble's Karwarn station, 110 kilometres south of Cobar.

 Ms Noble said the pair was confronted by a group of hunters who had paid to shoot at Karwarn. They claim the men in the vehicle identified themselves as Mr McFarland and Mr Mallen.

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