Fox shooters’ score cards to help research

Left to right - NSW Department of Primary Industries' Glen Saunders and Lynette McLeod discuss the important role shooters play in the European fox survey project with Sporting Shooters Association of Australia representitive Boyd Mackinlay.

Left to right - NSW Department of Primary Industries'
Glen Saunders and Lynette McLeod discuss the important
role shooters play in the European fox survey project with
Sporting Shooters Association of Australia representitive
Boyd Mackinlay.

The impact of targeted fox shooting on controlling foxes in NSW is the focus of a new research project that is calling for fox shooters across the State to record and report their success.

It is the first time researchers have aimed to quantify the effectiveness of shooting as a management technique, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Lynette McLeod.

'What we do know about foxes is that they cost us about $227 million a year in damage to the environment and control measures,' Ms McLeod said today.

'The NSW DPI is teaming up with the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) and the Game Council NSW to gather data on when and where shooters do their shooting, how they go about it and also the number of foxes controlled.

'Despite intensive efforts to control the European red fox in Australia, it remains numerous and widespread.

'It is well documented that the fox is a major threat to a range of native fauna, causing $190 million damage to environment annually. However, the evaluation of fox control on agricultural lands still remains unclear.'

Although the use of 1080 baits is the most common control action used against foxes, 74 per cent of all control in 2004, targeted responsible shooting also plays an important part representing about 13 per cent of control actions.

With the fox season fast approaching, SSAA Orange Branch Secretary, Boyd Mackinlay, encouraged hunters to take part in the study.

'This survey makes people aware of the need for fox control and the valuable role hunters play in our community,' he said.

Survey report cards are available at: http://www.agric.nsw.gov.au/reader/pe-vp/fox-shooting-survey or www.ssaansw.org.au.

Survey report cards can also be obtained from the Project Officer, Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, Orange Agricultural Institute, Forest Road, Orange, NSW 2800 ph 02 6391 3834, fax 02 63913972 or email: lynette.mcleod@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

In addition, accredited and licensed hunters will soon be be assisting public land managers with control of feral animals such as foxes on certain declared lands, through the Game Council NSW. Hunters will be required to return forms to the Gamer Council after each hunt. The info will be shared with the NSW DPI for inclusion in the European fox survey project.

The project is funded by the National Feral Animal Control Program which is a National Heritage Trust initiative.

Media contact: Brett Fifield on 02 6391 3311 or 0427 029 511.