Australian Gun Culture Part 18: Queensland Cattle Station Shooter

By Dean Weingarten

Queensland Cattle Station Shooter
Queensland Cattle Station Shooter
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -( While attending the SSAA Shot Show in Brisbane, Australia, I met a shooter who related his experiences on a cattle station in northern Queensland.

He did not wish to be identified, but his story was convincing. There was some documentation and corroboration. I will call him Jeff.

About a decade ago, Jeff was involved in the development of a cattle station of over a hundred thousand acres, with thousands of cattle. In addition to the cattle, they grew crops. The station was remote.

It was described as having considerable area where no European had ever been known to have set foot. Attempting to make a living on the station was a constant battle with nature and the elements.

Wild pigs were numerous and did extensive damage. Crop losses were estimated at 20 percent, about $300,000 a year. Birds did enormous damage to the sorghum crop.

To control the bird damage, Jeff used a pair of Stirling .22 bolt action rifles, buying ammunition by the case (5,000) regularly. He said that he became quite a good shot with that sort of practice.

He used a surplus .303 Lee-Enfield for pig control. The bolt gun was too slow, with too small of a magazine capacity, especially for shooting from a vehicle. It took Jeff two years to obtain a permit to acquire a semi-automatic centerfire rifle.

Then it took him three months to find one for sale. He bought the first one that was available. It was a Chinese version of the SKS carbine, that uses the AK-47 type magazines, in 7.62X39. It proved to be a good choice. Jeff said that you purchased the ammunition that was in the store, and there was not a wide variety available.

Jeff described riding in a vehicle and seeing a dark line in the distance. It was a herd of over a hundred pigs.  They were more than a kilometer from cover. With the SKS and a 30 round magazine, Jeff was able to cull a large number, shooting as a passenger while racing the pigs to cover.

In heavy cover, one day, he shot a boar which charged him and his companions.  He was able to deliver fast, accurate fire from the SKS to stop the attack.  He estimated the boar's weight at 120 kilos, or 260 pounds.

Wild horses were numerous and a problem, doing considerable damage. The stallions could be aggressive. Jeff did not always carry the SKS or the Lee-Enfield on his surveying expeditions, where he was normally afoot.

One day he was treed by a wild stallion. After that, he was able to obtain a permit to carry a pistol with him on the cattle station. It was a .38 Taurus with an 8 inch barrel.

Eventually the losses from wild animals, birds, and unpredictable drought brought an end to the attempt at running the station. It was sold at close to break even.

Semi-automatic rifles were only allowed a permit for a year at a time. Two days after his semi-automatic permit expired, a pair of police were at Jeff's door. He was able to have the rifle stored at a gun store, but was unable to obtain an extension on the permit.

A few months later, Queensland had one of their gun amnesties/turn in events. On top of the pile of turned in rifles was an SKS variant that looked exactly like the rifle that Jeff had owned. He believes the gun store turned the rifle in to avoid problems with the authorities. Jeff could no longer legally possess the rifle. The government never compensated him for it.

When firearms may no longer be possessed, they can be stored at a gun shop. The gun shops generally charge about $25 to $35 per week. In only a few months, the entire value of the gun is eroded.

Because of the strict registration system, guns in Australia are only allowed to be possessed. If the government decides you no longer qualify, you may no longer possess the firearm, even if you still own it.

The Donald Eykamp case may decide if you can be allowed to sell the guns and obtain the proceeds, even if ordered by a court.

Jeff still owns the Stirling bolt action .22 rifles, the Lee-Enfield, and the Taurus revolver. The revolver is in storage while he applies for a renewed permit. He will have to join a club and shoot in at least four competitions a year to maintain his pistol permit.

Permits are obtainable. They are more easily obtainable if you are operating a hundred thousand plus acre cattle station.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch


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.

  • 13 thoughts on “Australian Gun Culture Part 18: Queensland Cattle Station Shooter

    1. Let’s clear a few things up about gun laws in Australia:
      • You can own guns and keep them in your home
      • You can own and use all types of actions and calibres, including semi-automatics – you just need the relevant licence. the standard icence is Category A and B, which is rimfires and centrefires of all actions except semi autos and pump shotguns
      • Semiautomatic and pump shotguns shotguns and semi-auto rimfires are Category C. You can get a Category C licence if you have a farm or shoot regularly on a farm or you have a disability that makes a semiautomatic action easier for you to use in clay target shooting. You are limited to a 5-shot shotgun and a 15 shot rimfire magazine however.
      • Semiautomatic centrefires are category D. You can get a Category D licence if you have a large vermin problem on your farm, work on that farm or regularly shoot on that farm or are a professional shooter. This includes AR-15 style weapons with high capacity magazines and semi auto and pump action shotguns with larger magazine capacities.
      • You can own and use handguns – you can do ISPC, western action, etc. you can even keep them in your home. To get a licence and a permit to buy a handgun is a drawn-out process. You must be a member of a club for a specified amount of time and shoot regularly.
      • You can own and use a silencer – again you need a relevant permit. It is usually only given to people with vermin control problems in built-up areas, either landholders or professional vermin controllers
      • You can get a concealed carry permit, but you need to be in a particular industry or a particular government official to do so
      • Your firearms are listed on a registry. It is not a national registry but is state to state
      • You need to qualify as a fit and proper person to have a firearms licence, -basically not have a recent criminal record or mental illness.
      • The police check that your firearms are stored securely when you get your first firearm – that is you have a safe.
      • In my state, your first firearm has a two week wait period to get a ‘permit to acquire’ the firearm. All subsequent firearms purchased also need a ‘permit to acquire’ but this is processed online by the gun shop within 24 hours.

      As a side note, Australia has some of the best free-range hunting in the world – at least six species of deer (sambar, fallow, rusa, red, hog, chital), pigs, goats, buffalo, banteng, rabbits, foxes, ducks, geese and quail galore. It’s basically a hunting paradise compared to everywhere else in the world.



          Translation program, close enough

    3. And to think Obama and the Clintons touted Australian style gun control for the U.S.A. Don’t ever let it get to that stage!

      1. Why wouldn’t you want to still come here for an amazing time on holiday? A country the size of the continential USA but with 1/13th the population. If you get away from the cities into the country people are extremely helpful, friendly and generous. A few parts of the story aren’t factally correct anymore. If you qualify you can obtain licences for centrefire semiauto’s (category D) for 5 years. Old Jeff should have renewed his licence for cat d before it expired. Weapons licencing send letters and emails 3 months beforehand. The onus is on the firearms licence holder and all renewal dates are related to your birthday (Specifically the day before which is stupid but anyway I digress). Not sure why the firearm was kept at a gunshop when the police seized it, it would remain at the police station until either Jeff got his renewal/new licence in order or arranged a sale to another cat d holder or signed documents for the firearm to be disposed of… The big cold saw doing what it does best. Anyway I didn’t let a few laws which don’t effect your holiday in any way stop you from traveling… I didn’t not travel to certain states in the USA because some have the death penalty for serious crimes etc and the state may therefore legally kill me….

        1. “If you qualify you can obtain licences for centrefire semiauto’s (category D) for 5 years……”

          I don’t want to have to beg for permission to possess something that I own. I’d just rather walk into a store, but a rifle, take it home right then and keep it until I decide to sell it or give it to someone. You know – Like a free man.

    4. I thank God I don’t live in Australia. I cherish my rights and what’s left of the dwindling freedoms I have here in the USA and work and pray for a return to a more free country here in America.

      1. How ridiculously stupid and sad that a hard working man is subjected to bullshit laws and regulations such as this. Thank God that I live in the USA and that we have president Trump in charge…gads, what morons do they in control of Australia…how could that have happened,,,,,how.

        1. Basically the two major parties are both socialist. The labor party is the more commie and the liberal national coalition is soft socialist. There are no major conserviative parties anymore. Thus gun control legislation was a bi-partisan agreement and so we were disarmed. Strangely though, the criminals and Moslems seem to have unfettered gun ownership because the port and airport security are riddled with these vermin. So guns can be bought into the country in pieces and reassembled at leisure.

    5. This is one of the templates the elites would like to throw over the nation formerly known as The United States of America.

    6. “Because of the strict registration system, guns in Australia are only allowed to be possessed. If the government decides you no longer qualify, you may no longer possess the firearm, even if you still own it.”

      Dean, it’s the same here in the USA. If you even get accused of a crime (felony, misdemeanor domestic violence, illegal drug use, etc..) you loose your gun “rights” and if your get convicted of a federal charge, you will loose them for life aside from an impossible to get presidential pardon. It’s no damn different. When you have “done your time” you are still doing it when you get out of jail because you have no rights. You never are done “paying your debt to society” as your rights are taken away for good. It’s funny how someone convicted of felony perjury does not lose their 1st Amendment rights for life but someone who gets any type of non-violent federal felony loses their 2nd Amendment right for life. If the government can take away a right for life after restitution is made then IT WAS NEVER A RIGHT IN THEIR EYES. In Canada, a felon can get their privilege to own guns again but in the good ole USA it’s impossible.

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