Australia Gun Culture (Part 10): How to Shoot Kangaroos in Australia

By Dean Weingarten

Kangaroo Hunting
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -( In Australia, there are few limitations on the hunting of non-native species.

Rabbits, cats, feral dogs, feral horses, feral donkeys, feral pigs, feral goats, foxes, camels, wild cattle, and water buffalo can be taken with few regulatory limitations.

Deer have some limitations on the calibers that may be used. Game can be shot with spotlights and from vehicles.

The shooting of Kangaroos, on the other hand, is highly regulated, and requires numerous different types of permits and licenses.

Kangaroos maintain high populations and are agricultural pests in large areas of Australia. In New South Wales, near Quirindi, road killed Eastern Grey Kangaroos are about as common as road killed deer in Wisconsin.

The shooting of kangaroos is regulated as to what position the animal must be in when shot (standing), where the animal may be shot (brain shots only), what calibers may be used (centerfire only, .204 Ruger and up), the range they may be shot at (less than 200 meters), and of course, who may shoot them (licensed commercial shooters and primary producers).

Farmers are the most common primary producers. Commercial shooters need to apply for permits and numbered tags. Primary producers need to apply for a permit to shoot kangaroos that are damaging crops. Farmers are granted permission to shoot limited numbers of kangaroos. When the number is reached, they can apply for another permit.

Telescopic sights are required for rifles. Semi-automatic rifles may not be used. Some use of shotguns in special circumstances is allowed in South Australia. Rifles are required to be sighted on a non-animated target before each day's or night's hunting. Subsonic ammunition may not be used.

The regulations for shooting kangaroos commercially for meat and skins differ a little from shooting non-commercially for damage control and mitigation. There does not appear to be any allowance for shooting kangaroos by sport hunters.

In Australia, there are no designated game wardens, as there are in the United States. Game and shooting regulations are just another law the police enforce. One state, Alaska, has a similar system. In Alaska, the State Police enforce the game laws.

In the United States, regulations for hunting most game vary considerably by state. In Australia, the regulations for kangaroo shooting varies a little bit by state, but is mostly controlled by  national codes of practice. The codes of practice were formulated by the Natural Resource Management Council.  All states follow the codes of practice, which are legally binding.

The United States has analogous regulation in the Federal requirements for hunting migratory birds.  Australians may think the U.S. steel shot limitations and multitudinous rules for hunting waterfowl to be as peculiar as the fine detail in the kangaroos shooting regulation seems to Americans.

Australians likely think United States protection of feral horses and burros to be bizarre. Feral horses and burros are introduced species that do significant damage to the native ecology. They are protected in the United States for symbolic and emotional reasons.

Kangaroos in Australia have numerous and detailed regulations for symbolic and emotional reasons.

For most hunting other than for kangaroos, Australia is far less regulated than the United States.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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