BY THE end of November, Parks Victoria expects to have finalised arrangements for the trial of balloted hog deer hunting on Snake Island due to commence in February.
“We are confident that the cattle grazing and balloted hog deer hunting can co-exist without compromising either activity on the island or the safety of visitors,” said Parks Victoria’s Area Chief Ranger for South Gippsland and Bass, Gerard Delaney, to the Snake Island Cattlemen’s Association, hunting groups and other key stakeholders at a meeting on October 18.
Parks Victoria undertook consultation with the various groups regarding the logistics of the two-year trial on Snake Island announced by the Victorian Government on August 22.
The announcement of the trial came as a shock to members of the Snake Island Cattlemen’s Association (SICA) who claimed that absolutely no consultation had taken place with them prior to August 22.
Having been involved in the management of Snake Island for over 100 years and committed to maintaining SICA’s traditional stewardship of the island, the major concerns of the Association’s members included the effect of the trial on the many tourism-based and educational operations conducted on the island, the impact on wildlife and the risk to public safety.
Parks Victoria and Game Management Authority (GMA) staff have met with representatives of the Association since the announcement and have incorporated key comments into a draft plan which was presented to SICA at the meeting.
Meetings have also occurred with the Australian Deer Association and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia.
Mr Delaney said that the recent meeting with the Snake Island Cattlemen’s Association and hunting groups was productive.
The next step, he said, is to meet with other key user groups of the island including education, bushwalking and sea kayaking groups and local tourism operators, before finalising the operations plan by the end of November.
“Once the plan is finalised, a fact sheet will be made widely available informing island users and the local community of the operational detail of the ballot, including the exact hunting and non-hunting periods as well as non-hunting areas”
Attendees at the meeting were told that balloted hunting will be conducted in a way that minimises the impact on other users and places safety as its highest priority.
Measures to achieve this will include:
- Weekday hunting only;
- No hunting on weekends or public holidays;
- Hunting will be allowed one week on and one week off;
- All hunters must attend a mandatory safety briefing delivered by GMA and Parks Victoria;
- All firearms and game hunting laws will apply to the balloted hunt;
- The island will be divided into hunting blocks and ‘no go’ zones will be established to ensure hunting only occurs where it is appropriate;
- A maximum of eight hunters will be allowed to hunt at any one time;
- Enforcement patrols will be conducted by Victoria Police, GMA and Parks Victoria.
· Hunting will not be permitted at night.