Roo shooters struggle
Wednesday, 12th December, 2018
By Myles Burt
Professional kangaroo shooters are finding the pickings slim with the drought, the onset of summer and the sky-high cost of electricity.
Shooter Robert Kemp said sightings were “few and far between” and depended on where rain had fallen in the region.
“Due to the drought and the government opening up the non-commercial cull, overall numbers have dropped fairly dramatically,” Mr Kemp said.
“There appears to be a lot of kangaroos because they’ve all come to the edge of the roads for the little bit of green that’s formed from the bit of rain we had,” Mr Kemp said.
“Some guys that have had major rain have got numbers, there’s no doubt about that because they’re all following the rain.
“If you’ve had rain you’ve certainly got kangaroos in large numbers.
But many of the kangaroos were too poor to harvest and their being scattered about the Far West made it “extremely hard to get a load,” Mr Kemp said.
With graziers fencing off their dams for livestock, carting for water or using bores, he said the lack of surface water for kangaroos would have the biggest impact on numbers in the months to come.
“If we don’t get major widespread rain there’s going to be a major drop in the population,” Mr Kemp said.
“This coming summer will no doubt kill a bloody lot again, once the temperature starts getting into the 40s because there’s not that much water.”
President of the Pastoralists Association of the Far West, Lachlan Gall, suggested that cutting costs of royalty tags and government fees would help the kangaroo industry.
However, Mr Kemp said subsided transport for commercial shooters would be better, as would cutting electricity costs that are eating into profits.
He said racking up a $4,500 power bill for two or three chillers was not uncommon.
“Everybody else seems to be getting subsidised for stock feed cartage and all that. Well, the kangaroos industry at the present time is no different to that.
“Subsidising that would be a help for the major players and even the minor blokes that are pulling ‘roos from field sites, that’d still be helping them.
“Certainly the cost of power is significant.”