The Hunting Program


On 4 July 2013, the NSW Minister for Environment announced the details and start date of the Supplementary Pest Control Program.

The controls and management of the program, including the zoning within each national park intended for hunting after the October 2013 trial, can be viewed within this document by clicking here.

A summary of the changes the NSW Government has brought to the original recreational hunting program are outlined here:

> A trial hunting program will commence in October 2013 in 12 national parks. These parks have not yet been identified. After this, the Government intends to assess whether or not it may roll this out into the 75 parks the Government was considering prior to 4 July 2013.

> No minors will be allowed to hunt in any national parks despite lobbying from the Shooters and Fishers Party.

> Programs that aim to manage pest animals will be run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, not the Game Council.

> The National Parks and Wildlife Service may bring in volunteers to help execute its professionally planned and managed programs, however these volunteers will have to go through the same training as professionals and demonstrate their ability. Hunters will have to undertake navigation training and species identification training.

> As already occurs with professional programs run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, parks will be closed to the public when hunting programs are taking place.

> There will be no shooting at all in any national park during school holidays.

> Bows and arrows, black powder muskets and pistols will be prohibited in national parks, despite lobbying from the Shooters and Fishers Party.

> The Game Council of NSW has been disbanded. I.E. The Shooters and Fishers Party no longer have a Government Statutory Authority working on their behalf.

> Amateur hunting in NSW forests has been temporarily suspended until the responsibilities of the Game Council are transferred over to the Department of Primary Industries. At 4 July 2013, no recreational hunting can occur on any public land in NSW until further notices from Government.

Read the media release from the Minister for Environment regarding the hunting program here:

Read the details of the hunting program here:

Read the independent review of the Game Council of NSW by Steve Dunn here:

ALL INFORMATION BELOW is pre- 4 July 2013, but will be kept online for historical reference until August 2013

  • Supplementary Pest Control Program
    While the program that allows recreational hunting, was borne from a deal between the NSW Coalition Government and the Shooters and Fishers Party, the program is being hailed by government to be centred around 'conservation'.

    The hunting program in national parks is named the "Supplementary Pest Control Program". While it is portrayed by the NSW Government to be a mechanism for controlling pest animal populations, there is no scientific evidence to support that this will impact pest animal populations in any significant way.

    The NSW Government's risk assessment for this program may be viewed on this website. Please note, it is a work in progress and the most recent may not be available. Go to:

  • When will it start?
    To date, the starting date of the "Supplementary Pest Control Program" has been delayed on four occasions. It is expected to commence sometime after 31st May 2013.

    On a technical note, these events must occur before the program can take place:
    > A comprehensive risk assessment is finalised, and the program is peer reviewed.
    > The Minister for Environment makes a formal notification of an intention to declare lands available for supplementary pest control.
    > The Minister for Environment declares relevant reserves after a statutory period of at least 30 days.
    > The National Parks and Wildlife Service provides written permission to individual licence holders through the Game Council-administered booking system

    On February 28, 2013 the NSW Premier has put a halt to the program that allows recreational hunting in national parks until the Game Council of NSW undergoes a governance review.

    "Government halts hunting in national parks"

  • What will it cost?
    The Minister for Environment, Robyn Parker, announced 20 Feb 2013 that the NSW Government will invest $19.1 million in the program over the next five years. Read the media release here:

    In addition, the Game Council of NSW receives approximately $2.5 million each year in government grants. Over the next five years, it will cost the taxpayers of NSW a minimum of $31.6 million for this program to operate.

  • There are three types of hunting zones
    So far, we have learned that there are three zones which can be mapped out in a national park where hunting is allowed. Zone A, Zone B and Zone C. Note however, it is not a requirement that the hunter use a GPS device while hunting.

    Zone A: National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will supervise ground shooting activities that will include recreational shooters whom have met the same strict regulation and criteria as a NPWS shooters or contractor.

    Zone B: These areas contain endangered ecological communities and culturally significant sites. Ground shooting activities with recreational hunters will be subject to NPWS Shooting Programs. The controls and regulations are still under discussion.

    Zone C: This zone will occur in 50 of the 77 parks and uses an "open hunting" model with minimal supervision controls and regulation for hunters. The regulations and controls are still under discussion. Hunting in Zone C can involve licensed children as young as 12 hunting for the first time if they are under the adult supervision of a licensed hunter. It also allows bow hunters and owners of black powder weapons to hunt.

  • Are we guaranteed hunters will be where they should be?

    The Coalition simply cannot promise this. Illegal hunting journeys have occurred in NSW State Forests and National Park in the past.

    There has been much community outrage that it will not be compulsory for a hunter to use a GPS device or file a copy of the map of their hunting trip based upon GPS data.

    After Doug Cameron raised related issues during Senate budget estimates 29 May 2013, the public's concerns were highlighted in this Sky News report:

    The department's deputy secretary Dr Kimberley Dripps said the hunters would have to carry a GPS tracking device, or be 'very good at reading maps'.

    'These are amateur hunters, what if they're not good at reading maps and they don't have a GPS device?' senator Cameron told a Senate budget estimates committee in Canberra

    'Then they may not know be aware that they've moved from one property into another,' Dr Dripps replied.

    Dr Dripps did admit an 'unintended interchange' could occur between rangers and hunters.

    'An unintended interchange, in that somebody could get killed?' Senator Cameron asked.

    'That is possible,' Dr Dripps replied.

    Read the full article: