Come together to shoot the breeze

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
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The teams come together to tally the kills.
Camera IconThe teams come together to tally the kills.

Feral animals such as foxes, cats, rabbits and even pigs and deer cause significant damage to local agriculture each year.

One way that local farmers combat them is with community shoots, and the Oyster Harbour Catchment’s Red Card Feral Animal Shoot will aim to thin their ranks this month.

Shoots happen across WA every year, and they are about more than just killing feral animals.

They also aim to get people talking in isolated areas and raising money for an important cause, men’s mental health.

Last year 126 foxes, 17 cats, and 66 rabbits were taken out of the area in the Red Card Feral Animal Shoot. This year, they are aiming to add feral pigs, deer and goats to the tally.

Organiser Jenni Loveland said the shoot had previously been focused on foxes due to their impact on newborn lambs.

“The reason it has been expanded is the other feral animals are now also causing an agricultural impact economically,” she said.

“Pigs will also take live prey, increase the spread of pests and diseases, and damage dams and infrastructure with digging.

“Deer numbers are building up. They also damage fences, and eat crops and re-vegetated native sites.”

Ms Loveland said the shoot also brought people together and started conversations.

“It brings neighbours together to discuss how and what they are doing on their property,” Ms Loveland said.

“For men, talking also decreases the burden of stress from farming thus hopefully decreasing depression.

“Often they are just too busy to make contact with anyone when times are busy, and being in a car for up to 12 hours with a team encourages discussion and improves morale.”

For every fox and cat culled, the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia will donate $5 to Men’s Regional Health.

The shoot takes place from 6pm on Saturday, March 28, with the tally to follow the next morning at 7am.

To register, visit www.ohce.org.au or phone 9851 2703.

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