More than 31,000 baits dropped from Lostock to Scone

HUNTER Local Land Services (LLS) annual autumn baiting program for wild dog control is underway across the region. 

It combines aerial and ground baiting to help landowners remove wild dogs that impact livestock and native species. 

The program is part of Hunter Local Land Services $1.4 million biosecurity program this year.

More than 180 landholders took part in the aerial baiting initiative, an increase of five per cent on 2017, targeting an area from Lostock to Scone. 

The program covered 755 kilometres, with more than 31,000 baits dropped, often in remote and hard to reach country.

Biosecurity team leader Luke Booth said it was a credit to the community so many landowners supported the program, despite the ongoing drought conditions.

“We know how tough it is for so many producers at the moment and we are conscious of the added pressure many are under caring for their livestock and properties,” he said.

“Controlling pest species is an important part of managing through drought and Hunter Local Land Services is working with landholders to help them remove problem wild dogs and other feral animals impacting their properties.

“When we all work together across the region, that’s when we can have the most success at removing wild dogs, and given the current conditions are impacting animal health and making some animals vulnerable to more predators it is more important than ever.”

While drought conditions affected the number of producers able to participate in the ground baiting program to back up the aerial baiting, further programs are planned for later in 2018 when conditions, hopefully, will have eased. 

Aerial and ground baiting is the base level of control activity and underpins other programs such as trapping and shooting.

“This is a crucial time of year for wild dog control as the animals are most active before winter,” Mr Booth said.

“We have found by changing the type of baits we use for the ground and aerial programs we are able to complete the program more efficiently, with fewer impacts from poor weather.

“When we get a break in the season we will run more ground baiting programs in the Upper Hunter, to help landholders further suppress wild dog numbers.”

One dog recently controlled in the Wybong district had killed more than 160 sheep in the past 12 months.