Shooting to Control Wallabies and Possums

​​​​Effective shooting can be a very efficient control method for managing wildlife browsing animals in Tasmania. Combined with fencing and trapping, this integrated approach can increase your farm productivity. 

If shooting as a control tool is your primary choice, then it makes sense to set your farm up for shooting. This might involve ensuring vehicle access to all areas, making adjustments to wallaby-proof fencing designs like adding wings or doors in the fence to reduce the incidence of fence breaches as well as facilitating wallabies to be held inside the fence on set nights to increase shooting efficacy. Shooting against a barrier such as a fence will improve results markedly with little additional effort.​

Even if you can’t get hunters onto your property to help with shooting effort, if you are just spotlighting, varying the way you shoot can be the difference between an effective shooting strategy and an ineffective one. Here are some ideas to try to improve your shooting strategy:​

  1. Vary your route each time you go shooting. Don’t become predictable. If you normally just do a single lap around your property, every now and then do a second lap. Shooting trials have shown that it can take as little as 40 minutes before the animals are back out again.​ One simple option, if it is hard to vary your route, is to drive it in different directions.

  2. Alter th​e time you shoot each night. At a recorded monitoring site, weekly counts of wildlife were being conducted one hour after sunset, and consistently counting 15-25 animals on the site. One night a count was conducted at midnight and at 3 am, each count revealed more than 140 animals.​

  3. Use a coloured filter on your spotlight or consider putting coloured filters over your vehicles headlights. Some professional shooters just shoot with a small rimfire rifle, a very quiet bike, and use a red spotlight to just sneak around sites shooting animals off grain feed lines. 

  4. If you can, use different vehicles. Muffle your engine or occasionally go shooting on foot. Animals will learn to associate specific fear cues such as your engine noise with the need to flee, so anything you can do to vary this may help your shooting effectiveness.​​​

  5. ​Consider different strategies. Driving around at dusk and sprinkling out grain will encourage animals to feed. The best approach is to lightly sprinkle out a continuous line of feed (add aniseed or cinnamon if you have some) along the bush or creek edge where they tend to come out from. This strategy is particularly effective during times when there is little feed around, and has the advantage that if it is done over the course of a few weeks the animals start to associate your engine noise with food, not shooting.​​​

  6. Consider weather and seasons conditions. Record moon phases, seasonal variations, crop plantings and weather conditions in your shooting logs, or keep a diary or wall planner, and see if you can see patterns when greater or smaller numbers are seen. Use this to guide future shooting efforts.​

  7. Understand where the animals are coming from. Determine what sort of shooting will deliver a desirable result, for example the use of shotguns and dogs during daylight hours as opposed to spotlighting at night. Remember, the amount of effort that can be afforded to shooting effort is reflected in the results and further to that the right timing of this effort can result in a better return for the effort.

  8. Timing is important. Effort prior to joeys leaving the pouch will be well rewarded as this can result in considerably less work from mid December on. ​

Quad bike set up for shooting


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