What To Expect On Your First Australian Hunting Trip
At a certain point in your passion for hunting, domestic hunting grounds, and North American animals lose their sense of exotic excitement. While many people look to Africa as the next frontier to bag that trophy that none of their buddies has, Australia is also a great option with beautiful landscapes and dangerous, wild, and wonderfully exotic animals such as deer, feral pig, banteng, wild cattle, wild goat, water buffalo, kangaroo, and even crocodile.
Hunting is legal in Australia across a variety of different species. However, unless you already have friends that are experienced Australian hunters, your best bet would be to hire a guide who knows the rules and regulations as well as being able to furnish you with proper hunting equipment. This is true for most any unfamiliar territory but here in Australia, the terrain and wild animals are particularly unforgiving.
Understanding Australian Hunting Laws
While some game is easier to hunt than others, two of the most iconic Australian animals have very specific hunting regulations that are required by government wardens. For instance, while there are hunting safari companies that offer "Crocodile Harvesting", guests are actually not allowed to shoot the animals themselves. Instead, only the guide can capture, shoot, and process the saltwater crocodiles. Guests however can then purchase the skin or skull from the safari company.
Similarly, kangaroo can be hunted under very limited circumstances but on a non-commercial basis and for the most part only on private ranch land so you might want to make some friends before setting your sight on an Australian kangaroo hunting trip.
Hunting Rifle and Firearms Regulations In Australia
Gun regulations in Australia are radically more challenging than what most American hunters might experience back home. However, international visitors may secure a permit to bring their equipment to the country for the purposes of competitive sports shooting events and safari hunts. To comply with the very strict Australian hunting laws though you must obtain two permits from Australian police before you arrive. The first is an "International Visitors Firearms Permit" (this allows you to possess your weapon during the visit) and the second is an Import Permit that allows you to come to the country with your firearms. There may be various nuances and other restrictions based on which state or territory you are visiting, so make sure to contact the local authorities at least 6-8 weeks in advance. This is where hiring a safari hunting guide can come in handy. They will be able to help you secure the proper permits for your own weapons and in many cases provide you with proper equipment to use during your hunting trip.
Other hunting gear such as some hunting bows and most optics are permitted to be transported to Australia for hunting. Well-established brands like Steiner offer a range of affordable, light-weight hunting products and accessories that will help lighten your load while still offering excellent performance. Be sure to spend some time carefully considering what gear you will bring on your first hunt and remember that you can change and adapt your gear list as time goes on and your skills develop.
Things To Remember On Your Australian Hunting Trip
Hunting License and Permits
Aside from your permit to import and carry your gun, proper credentials and hunting permit is also required. The specifics will depend on what type of animal you are hunting as well as the state where you will be operating. Just as in Europe or the United States, when you’re on a hunt, you must carry your hunting license with you at all times, along with any other paperwork that might be required for where you are hunting. Wrap your paperwork in a sealed plastic bag to keep it protected from the weather.
Pack Plenty Of Water
No matter what environment you chose for your first hunt, it can be a strenuous activity and the Australian bush can be incredibly hot and humid in some parts and extremely arid in others. Not only will you get thirsty, but proper hydration helps reduce muscle fatigue and mental acuity. Additionally, when the time comes to take that shot, you want to make sure that you are able to maintain a calm and steady aim. Proper hydration helps with that too.
Take Your Camera Too
While the point of taking a hunting trip to Australia is to get a trophy and the experience of tracking unique game, the landscape here is a near equal draw. So while you are capturing memories with your eyes, ears, and other senses ... make sure to bring a good camera with you as well to share those sites with friends back home too.
Hunting Regions Of Australia
Virtually every state and territory in Australia has hunting of some sort. However, territories such as the Australia Capital Territory allow rabbit, fox, goat, and feral dog hunting on private property but do not permit recreational hunting. Instead, hunting may only take place on private property with the landowners' permission. Other areas such as New South Wales have a wealth of hunting opportunities including wild deer, game birds. In Western Australia, while there is no specific hunting permit or fee required, holders of a current firearms license can hunt feral species that include rabbits, foxes, pigs, goats, wild horses, wild cattle, and even camels.
Before you plan your trip, make sure to do your research and figure out exactly permits and other regulations are required as well as what region is right for you. Similarly, since you've made this epic trip to Australia for game hunting, consider what other Australian attractions that you want to visit too.
- Written by James Hills
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