In this I Am Hunter podcast with Liberal MP, Guy Barnett, we talk about the importance of hunting and fishing in Tasmania, and the opportunities for growth in the industry. We also do the political two-step with Guy on that contentious issue of bowhunting in Tasmania.
Initially, we had planned to discuss the impacts Covid-19 had on hunting and fishing in Tasmania, but with restrictions easing, we only spoke briefly on that topic.
Key points from our talk with Guy Barnett
Tasmania has over 100,000 people who fish – that’s 1/5th of our total population.
Each year, around 10,000 people purchase game licences. The most popular game licence is for wallaby (around 7400 sold in 2019), followed by fallow deer (5000 licences) and duck (1134 licences). There are also licences sold for pheasant, quail and mutton birds. These figures can be found in Game Tracks, published by Game Services Tasmania.
The Tasmanian government have not yet started tracking the economic benefit of hunting and fishing for Tasmania, but they do know that it contributes around $2.4 billion to the Australian economy. Guy Barnett knows that hunting and fishing contributes to the economy through direct purchases of consumables, such as ammunition, fuel and capital items like firearms and vehicles. He also acknowledged the often forgotten economic benefit of hunting by reducing the impacts caused by game species to crops, pastures and young forest plantation trees.
Guy Barnett acknowledged that maturity of hunting tourism in countries like New Zealand, the USA, and South Africa, and believes there is great opportunity for entreprenuerial Tasmanians to build infrastructure and businesses that support hunting and fishing tourism in the state. This could include:
- fine dining
Bowhunting in Tasmania
We tried to get Guy Barnett to clear up some of the confusion around bow hunting in Tasmania. He referred back to the Animal Welfare Act 1993, which states the maximum penalty for Aggravated Cruelty is $33,600 and/or a maximum prison sentence of up to 5 years.
These exact same rules apply to recreational hunting with a rifle, farming livestock, owning a pet or having any interaction with animals in the state of Tasmania. This means you cannot shoot a fallow deer with anything less than a .243 caliber rifle.
There is nothing in the Act that directly refers to bow hunting, and nothing in the hunting legislation that directly forbids bow hunting of introduced pests such as rabbits, hares and feral cats.
So technically speaking, if you are using the correct bow hunting equipment, make an ethical shot and kill the animal swiftly and without aggravated cruelty…
But listen to the podcast yourself and see what you make of his statements.
Wild game processing
We also spoke about the feasibility study the Tasmanian government has just begun on commercial use of wild deer. We were particularly interested in knowing if the Tasmanian government would consider introducing legislation similar to Victoria that allows recreational hunters to have wild game processed by a commercial butcher and/or that allows recreational hunters to donate wild game meat to friends, family and charity organisations like Loaves and Fishes.
Make yourself heard
One of the things that Guy Barnett mentioned frequently throughout the podcast was that the government wants to hear from hunters and fishers, and that our feedback helps shape decision making processes. This applies to all governments everywhere, not just Tasmania, so we would encourage you to regularly write to your local ministers and members of parliament.
Be respectful but make your thoughts known on issues that are important to you. We intend to formalise some of our thoughts around bow hunting in Tasmania (after all, it is an acceptable practice in every other state of Australia, and in many countries around the world for game animals much bigger than our local fallow deer) and send this through to Guy Barnett and the Premier. We have included both of their addresses below.
Guy Barnett MP, Minister for Primary Industries and Water
Level 5, 4 Salamanca Place
Hobart TAS 7000
(03) 6165 7678
Peter Gutwein MP, Premier of Tasmania
Level 9, 15 Murray Street
Hobart TAS 7000
(03) 6165 7650