Many people enjoy hunting and safari trips, but it is important to know what the laws of the land are when traveling to a new place. Australia doesn’t have legal “game” per se, but they do have classifications of species that are considered feral or pests, and therefore huntable.
The best way to get around Australia on a hunting excursion, is obviously by truck or SUV (a Ute in aussie). Rent a truck from a reputable company, like Budget Trucks. You know the name, and it is a global company, so no worries there. Make sure the vehicle is 4WD, and plenty of room for your gear and guns, packs, supplies, etc. You don’t want to be caught out in the middle of nowhere with not enough supplies, or not enough ammunition. The temperature ranges can be very surprising if you aren’t used to them.
Here are some tips on hunting particular species:
Rabbit and Hares:
Most hunters would recommend shooting with a rifle, with a min .22 rimfire, usually effective up to 100m. If you are using a shotgun, lower your range to 50m and plan on using a shot size between No.4 and No.6. This is best when shooting for meat, as it provides a clean head shot. The most common method of hunting hares nad rabbits is night hunting with spotlights. If you opt for day hunting then you will need to flush the rabbits by noise or with dogs, or shooting from a distance.
Foxes and Feral Cats:
The hunting is very similar to rabbits, using .22 rimfire at 100m range. They are more cunning than rabbits, so sometimes a longer range is needed. You can use a 12-gauge shotgun with 1.15oz loads of between BB and No.2 size shot. This will work to about 40m. They are usually hunted at night with spotlight dispatch. If you hunt in the day, you can use a whistle that imitates a distressed rabbit to attract them, or use the flushing technique above.
Dingoes and Wild Dogs:
Dingoes and wild dogs are much larger bodies than foxes and cats, so nothing smaller than a .222 Remington is recommended, unless at very close range. Hunting on foot during early to late day is the preferred method of hunting.
Feral goats are similar to dingoes and dogs. Most goat hunting is on foot with rifles during the day. They go to water holes at certain times, which provides ideal times to hunt.
These can be very dangerous to hunt and hunters should make sure to have quick ways to dispatch them. Most hunting involves locating them on foot, quad or bike. Once they are located its important to find a location to shoot from safely and accurately. Using dogs to assist is also common.
Feral Donkeys, Buffalo, Horses and Camels:
Some of these animals can weigh up to a ton. You will need significantly larger cartridges than the animals above. Cartridges such as the .270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum and .30-06 Springfield are commonly used for these large animals. A .300 Winchester Magnum and .375 Holland & Holland Magnum are common for big-game use. You will locate these animals by vehicle or foot then make sure you can take an accurate and safe shot from your position.
Different states have different minimum legal calibres which must be used for deer hunting in Australia. In order to follow the laws of all the different state regulations, all deer should be taken with a calibre no less than .270 anywhere in Australia. Certain smaller species can be taken with a minimum calibre of .240 in Tasmania and a .243 in New South Wales. Deer are usually stracked on foot after siting tracks or other forms of evidence indicating the presence of a nearby animal. Hunters also use stationary tree platforms where they sit and wait for a deer.
As with any hunt or safari, you should always practice ethical hunting by looking into, and following local laws and regulations. This websites offers good information for prosepective hunters: https://ssaa.org.au/. I am sure we have all heard stories of foreigners accidentally killing illegally and getting into hot water.