Getting A Handle On Hunting Down-Under


Published: December - 2005

nternational hunters who want to take the 15 game species available in the South Pacific inevitably spend a lot of time in Australia, where diverse populations of wild and feral animals have developed from intentional introductions over the span of 200 years of European settlement. There are wild boar in all states; water buffalo and wild ox in the Northern Territory; banteng cattle in the monsoon forests of the Cobourg Peninsula; wild horses mainly in Queensland and the Northern Territory; wild donkeys mainly in the Northern Territory; wild goats in all states except the Northern Territory; and wild camels in the Northern Territory and Western Queensland. Additionally, fox are widespread and blackbuck can be found on game estates. And, of course, there are deer - numerous deer species spread throughout several states.

The substantial populations of wild deer in Australia include hog, red, sambar and fallow deer in Victoria; chital, red and fallow deer in Queensland; fallow deer in Tasmania; rusa, fallow and sambar in New South Wales; and red and fallow deer in South Australia. Of the nine deer species in the South Pacific 15, seven are found in Australia. It has been estimated that there are 60,000 deer in this country.

The trophy quality of Australian big game species is excellent. Current SCI all-time records are held by Australian examples of blackbuck, banteng, water buffalo, chital deer, Javan rusa deer, Moluccan rusa deer and sambar.

The most important destination for international big game hunters in Australia is the Northern Territory, where you find Australia's most important game animals - the Big Three bovine species. These are banteng, water buffalo and South Pacific wild ox. Banteng cattle are found in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, which is located on the Cobourg Peninsula some nine hours drive from Darwin. The animals have remained near their point of introduction over the last 140 years, and have a density of about 70 per square kilometer. The total area is about 920 square kilometers (about 570 miles), so the population is about 64,000 animals. Park authorities........(continued)

 
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