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First of all let me say, I love hanging around here on Tradgang. Great bunch of people, knowledgeable, extremely helpful, and thereís some wonderful storytellers and characters amongst you. Iíve really enjoyed the "Bowhunters of Tradgang" DVD too, thanks again Terry.
I must admit though, sometimes I get really envious of you over there in the USA, because you are allowed to legally hunt with your recurves and longbows. Heck, as I understand it, in some States you even have bow hunting only seasons.
I think I might have a bit of the "Need to go Bush Blues". My health not being the best at the moment, and the jobs mounting up on the "Honey-do" list at home are all no doubt contributing factors.
Not being able to work or shoot my bow due to shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotor cuff probably has a whole lot to do with it too. It has now been six weeks since Iíve picked up my bow, and it could be another five or six weeks of physio before my Physiotherapist gives me the OK to start out with a light bow.
Sigh....Too much time and not able to do anything fun, itís driving me nuts.
Now I really enjoy shooting my bow, and I absolutely love to bowhunt, but here in the State where I live, we are not allowed to hunt with any sort of bow and arrow.
We are allowed to take a small amount of "vermin" species with a bow, but that is only rabbits, hares and feral cats. The actual on the ground numbers of these types of "vermin" is unfortunately quite low, but thatís pretty much our only bowhunting opportunities. Even then, bowhunting these ďverminĒ species is not without opposition from the antiís.
The hunting regulations concerning this are a bit blurry, and getting any clarification seems a bit like pulling teeth. Seems either no-one in the halls of power actually knows the laws, or they are simply not interested in them, or you.
Simple fact is, anything in this State that requires a licence or tags to hunt it with a rifle, is totally off limits if you want to hunt it with a bow. To say this is FRUSTRATING would be a major understatement.
A little local information.......
During the deer season in years past, if fortunate enough the licensed rifle hunter could have taken a buck and a doe, or two does only if they so chose. Last two seasons (2016 & 2017), because the deer numbers across the State are so high, take limits were raised. One could have legally harvested a buck and two does, or three does only. We are expecting similar tag numbers next season.
On some larger properties, where the deer populations are very high, cull permits from Parks & Wildlife (like your Game Department) are regularly issued to the property owners, allowing large numbers of deer to be shot at night with the aide of spotlights. Too often many of these spotlighted deer are wasted, simply left where they fall, or maybe tossed into a log heap.
In our year-round Wallaby season, there are absolutely no bag limits. If you wanted to and were in the position to do so, you could, and some people regularly do, shoot 200 or more a day. Either shooting over dogs by day with shotguns, or spotlighting with a rifle at night. The numbers of Wallaby around at the moment is phenomenal.
Here on our small 20 acre farm, I have had to get a Parks & Wildlife issued "Spotlight Permit" to try to reduce our numbers of wallabies. One night I counted over 350 on a 4 acre corner paddock. No, thatís not a typo, over 350 wallabies on 4 acres. We are surrounded by eucalyptus plantation and because of the wallaby numbers, we often struggle to grow enough grass to feed our few head of cattle. I can regularly go out at night and shoot 20 or 30 wallabies in 15 minutes.
We are slowly getting wallaby proof boundary fencing erected, but that only happens as we can afford it.
So I certainly understand the necessity of keeping the numbers under some sort of control, but man I hate the waste. We can use only a fraction of what we shoot. Sometimes I can give some away to family and friends etc, but unfortunately a lot is wasted. Wallaby and Deer meat is good meat, healthy, and when prepared correctly, absolutely delicious, but the paperwork and the hoops one has to jump through to be able to legally pass it on is an absolute nightmare.
To be legally allowed to stalk these brilliant switched on animals, either deer or wallaby, with my longbow would be terrific fun and an extremely worthwhile challenge. It would be an honourable way to hunt them. Iíd much rather try to take one or two with a bow in daylight hours than to go out at night and simply slaughter scary numbers with rifle and a spotlight.
After some research, it appears to me, that except for the State of Tasmania, in every other State of this vast country of ours, other than wildfowl, if itís a legally huntable species it can be legally hunted with a bow. Sometimes there may be some hoops to jump through, like obtaining a special class of licence or permits, minimum bow weight etc, but bowhunting is most certainly legal.
So when I want to bowhunt, I have to travel interstate. I cannot simply slip out, toss my swag and hunting gear in the back of the ute, get a bit of tucker and head off for the weekend. As I live in the Island State, travelling interstate means taking either a passenger ship or an aeroplane to the mainland. Both these forms of travel are expensive. Toting the necessary equipment is also costly, not to mention the added risk (and the stress) of your favourite bow going missing in transit. Yup, that happened to me once. An unpleasant experience I can assure you.
We do have a couple of Game Farms here where it is possible to hunt deer behind a high fence. These places are fairly typical, a largish allotment of bush and pasture. So while taking an animal may be challenging, it is usually expensive and unfortunately my wallet would seldom be able to stretch that far.
At present though, this is the only way to legally bowhunt a deer here. But with the large numbers of wild deer on public and private land, and the fact that they are so often treated as pests and vermin, taking a deer behind a wire just doesnít really sit right with me at the moment.
Might come a time when I have to re-think that though.
For whatever reasons, many of our State legislators and lawmakers somehow seem to hold to the notion that bows wonít kill quickly. They say bows are inaccurate and are not a humane way to take game. "Horribly cruel" are words often used. There are also the not so silent murmurings that legalizing bowhunting would promote poaching and trespass.
I know these conclusions are misinformed and incorrect. Along with so many of you, Iíve regularly seen what a well placed arrow will do. With my limited interstate hunting experience, I have taken enough buffalo, deer, pigs, goats and rabbits with my longbow to know that a well placed arrow with a sharp broadhead works extremely quickly and very efficiently indeed.
An unfortunate fact around this State is that wherever populations of deer can be found, poaching and trespass can all too often be found there also. Why the un-informed automatically assume the genuine bowhunter is part of that scene is beyond me. Let the courts deal with any apprehended offenders as the law dictates.
However I guess all is not yet lost, as the end chapters of this story have not been written. There have been, and are current and ongoing negotiations with the relevant politicians and officials to try to get these game laws and hunting regulations looked at, and hopefully changed for the better.
My goodness though the wheels of bureaucracy do grind along so painfully slowly. We donít know what the eventual outcome will be here, but we will certainly keep lobbying for sensible and logical change.
But man-oh-man, itís like pushing the proverbial excrement uphill. I just really wish I could bowhunt our game animals here.
Then again, to quote Terry Green at the start of the Bowhunters of Tradgang DVD? "If you live in a State where you canít hunt hogs, move".
Maybe I should just move to a different state that does allow bowhunting?
Hey Lex, sorry to read about your situation. We Yanks can bow hunt now because of the level headed efforts of archers in the middle of the last century. Perhaps a consistent, insistent presentation of your views is what is required. Videos and magazines, website links to stories and examples of the efficacy of our weapons. I read you line about mutes, Tucker and swag with a huge grin on my face. Good luck in the pursuit of your dreams!
-------------------- PBS Associate "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. Indeed my heritage is beautiful to me." Posts: 674 | From: Terre Haute, Indiana | Registered: Jul 2013
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Move to any other state in the country and you won't be so depressed. Tassie is beautiful but you're wasting precious time there mate.
Posts: 674 | From: Australia | Registered: Aug 2008
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Lex, I felt the pain reading that. The assault on liberty is worldwide and an unsavory part of the human experience. I can't say I wouldn't be trying to move to the mainland if I was in your situation. Also, faced with that type of absurd overregulation, and having my own private land I'll be honest, I'd probably do what I want and use a bow, I'd just be discrete about it. But that's just me. Sounds like a raw deal there. Keep your chin up.
Has a proficiency test been suggested to qualify an individual to bowhunt? I had to qualify in a bow proficiency and blood trailing proficiency to participate in archery only opportunities in Alaska.
Posts: 578 | From: Oregon | Registered: Jun 2014
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Newhouse, I beleive the subject of a proficiency test has been raised, but perhaps bowhunting is such an insignificant issue here to the powers that be, no-one can see the benefits of giving it any serious consideration.
Puppy, hunting issues aside, these days I think doing the popular thing in politics rates far higher than doing the right thing or the logical thing.
Bit skeptical today ain't I 😆
But it's still good fun chasing rabbits, or it will be when my Dr. gives me the OK to use my bow again.
The common issue of scale. Archers definitely wound more animals each year ON AVERAGE. The number of shots taken vs animals recovered is not as good as with a rifle. But averages are meaningless here. Since the opportunity to get a shot at all is way lower with a bow than with a rifle, I'd speculate that the overall amount of harm to animal populations is way lower with archery gear than with rifles. In other words, if people really cared about animals, they'd restrict the method of take to the most difficult methods, not the most effective. But That's just speculation -- I have no data to prove that. Whatever the case, try explaining nuance and statistics to politicians or large human populations, which are equally simple-minded, in my opinion.
At some level, though, I think we all want what we can't have. I've always wanted to try a persistence hunt (run an animal to exhaustion via tracking, trailing & running 5-10 miles in the heat). But that's illegal here. I found out over the weekend that any gathering of plants, even acorns, is illegal within our vast state park system. Oh well. It is what it is.
On the upside, I read somewhere that many non-US countries encourage hunting with suppressors as both a safety measure (hearing damage) and a courtesy to the public. That kind of thing freaks out our politicians and law enforcement. If that's available to you in Australia, count your blessings.
-------------------- "A good hunter...that's somebody the animals COME to." "Every animal knows way more than you do." -- by a Koyukon hunter, as quoted by R. Nelson. Posts: 770 | From: CA | Registered: Sep 2016
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