A trapping program now underway in the Barrington Tops district, east of Scone, has local woolgrowers rejoicing as nearly a dozen 'wiley' matriarchs capable of producing substantial numbers of pups have been eliminated.
“Taking those streetwise females out of the pack will make a big difference, not only in reducing the number of pups, but also making it harder for the younger dogs to survive on their own,” said Nathan Mamone.
“These older females would never eat a bait so having a professional trapper in the district has made all the difference. This program will make our lives as woolgrowers so much easier.”
Mr Mamone runs wethers on his Tomalla property and given the recent success in controlling the wild dogs he is considering purchasing an additional 600-800 wethers.
Like his neighbours the Haynes and MacCallum families having the trapper, for the first time actually work in the Barrington Tops National Park, is the big breakthrough in controlling wild dogs.
The dog control program co-ordinatied by Hunter Local Lands Service is worth nearly $1 million, it started in 2017 will run until 2021, and is possible due to a significant grant from Australian Wool Innovation. Other key investors include Glencore, Rio Tinto, Bengalla Mining Co. and National Parks and Wildlife Services.
“Look it’s not only sheep these dogs were killing I drive daily along roads in the park and you never see any wallabies for example why? Because the dogs were wiping out native animals in the park and then for a change enjoying a lamb dinner,” he said.
Fourth generation woolgrower Ross Haynes, Moonan Flat said the last 15 years the dogs had become so bad they were unable to run sheep on their property at Stewarts Brook.“We used to run 1200 sheep on that land it was a prime woolgrowing property with the wool produced being high yielding and low in VM but the dogs were too bad,” he said.
“With this program I see a light at the end of the tunnel, it has really lifted our hopes that at long last we can control these dogs and get back to growing wool in this district.”
Both men said the use of Feral Scan and the landholders talking to each other about dog sightings and relaying that message to the trapper and he also relaying details on dogs had been vital in the program’s success. Landholders have been maintaining their baiting and trapping programs on their own properties but with the core dog pack finding a perfect place to breed in the National Park gaining access to trap inside that vast landscape is the program’s success.