ALMOST 1000 wild pigs have been captured during a three-day hunting competition in the Balonne shire, further evidencing the event’s important role in pest management.
At least 126 adults and 72 children competed in the Balonne Boar Buster from August 10-12 and captured 938 pigs, 54 foxes, two dingoes and almost 100 feral cats.
It was the third year running the contest had almost 1000 pig kills with some hunters travelling from as far as the Canberra area.
Organiser and St George Police Liaison Officer Adam Osborne established the competition five years ago and offered $1000 of his own as prize money.
This year’s competition offered a $20,000 prize pool.
The heaviest catch weighed in at 116kg, which Mr Osborne said was impressive considering the dry conditions.
“I wasn’t expecting that number with the amount of exclusion fencing that’s been put up lately and the dry conditions,” he said.
“But in comparison to getting a helicopter to go and shoot 1000 pigs...to be able to have something to put money back into the community and they are doing it for free, I think that’s a good thing.”
Landholders are some of the biggest advocates for the event, with one participant home to 12 per cent of the competition’s pig catch.
“Some of the farmers I’ve spoken with, one gentlemen, they got 116 pigs off his place alone just in this weekend,” Mr Osborne said.
“Obviously that’s beneficial to himself.”
The significant number of wild pigs caught during the event could make the Balonne event one of Australia’s largest hunting competitions.
Earlier this year, news reports claimed The King and Queen CQ Big Boar competition was the largest when more than 600 feral pigs were caught.
The St George event is also a major fundraiser, with proceeds this year going to Angel Flight and local services.
Mr Osborne said it was also a major economic boost for their small town.
“Everyone comes out from Brisbane and central Queensland and everywhere else and spend all their money here locally, buying their food and fuel, supporting the cafes and that,” he said.
Balonne councillor Robyn Fuhrmeister, who heads the pest control portfolio, said wild pigs were a major problem at this time of year, especially as ewes begin lambing.
“I think with the drought as bad as it is, the pests are one thing we should control for them,” she said.
“We don’t need to work with the problems of wild pigs and wild dogs and everything else, council needs to work in partnership with these people.”
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