Although cluster fences have become a common sight across Queensland’s central west, coordinated 1080 baiting campaigns are definitely not a thing of the past.
AgForce wild dog coordinator, Brett Carlsson was keen to dispel the train of thought that all wild dog funding and efforts were being concentrated into exclusion fencing projects.
He said the Western Queensland Dogwatch group, formed five years ago to coordinate baiting efforts for 13 western shires was still working actively on the back of that, holding monthly phone hook-ups.
Talk in recent weeks has been around the second of two regional baiting campaigns, which will get underway in the Richmond shire on October 17 and conclude in the Maranoa shire a month later on November 18.
The aims of the north-south coordinated campaign are numerous – to minimise gaps that wild dogs take advantage of, to minimise travel costs, and to provide an organisational structure that land managers can rely on.
“It ensures the program is carried out in the most effective and economic way,” Mr Carlsson said.
“If the north gets early storms, we’ve got them done by that time.
“And because dogs move freely from baiting to unbaited country, having a sequence means we can pick them up if they move away from a baited area.”
While the news is good on that front, it’s not so good from a participation point of view.
Brett said this fluctuated between 25 and 60 per cent, not counting those who baited privately outside of the coordinated campaigns.
“We do need to get more landholders on board – that’s not enough,” he said.
He believes the cluster fences could assist the baiting cause, in that participants have invested so much in them, they would now have a stronger interest in both reducing wild dog pressure from the outside and getting rid of the ones caught on the inside.
“They’ve made an investment and become part of a group, so for some, they’ve got an obligation they didn’t have before,” he said. “The fences now are giving everyone a barrier to work with.”
While the timing has been coordinated, individual councils have differing policies regarding how much assistance is available for participating landholders.
“Some councils provide meat and a plane twice a year, some provide one of those,” Brett said. “For that and all participation details – how many kilograms of meat you want, days, airstrips being used, people should contact the chair of their local wild dog committee, or the council Rural Lands Officer.”
He also said that when ordering meat, people should remember the motto, quality not quantity.
“Doing it right is important – put it out where dogs are going to be.”