Recreational hunters will soon be allowed to shoot in New South Wales state forests.
Shooters will need to hold a restricted licence and can apply for permission to hunt as of today.
The Department of Primary Industries will manage approval of licences after the O'Farrell Government disbanded the Game Council in July last year, placing a ban on state-park hunting for further risk assessment.
Strict new safety requirements have been introduced as areas of state forest in NSW are re-declared for licensed recreational hunting,
Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson says only a few have been selected.
"Of the 358 state forests which have been declared, first of all there will be 200 opened up to licensed hunters."
Ms Hodgkinson says restricted-licence hunters are subject to stringent safety conditions.
"Hunters must carry a DPI-provided GPS that contains hunting and exclusion-map data.
"One full day must pass between a hunt is booked on the online system and the day of hunting, plus shooters have to complete two online education modules."
The minister says restricted-licence hunters will be able to target feral pests.
NSW Sporting Shooters Association executive director Diana Melham says the removal of the ban is a positive step in recognising the sport.
"We believe it recognises a significant acknowledgement by the government of the value of hunting to the environment and the important role played by our volunteer hunters.
"Hunting in state forests has been operating very successfully and safely for seven years.
"Feral pests in state parks are a major problem and we believe using the resources of volunteer hunters is an excellent way to battle those pests."
Professional shooter and recreational hunter Steve Lee says numerous city shooters rely on being able to access many state parks.
'It was a welcome relief they've opened the parks up again.
"(For) a lot of guys in the city who shoot and don't have access to properties where graziers will let them on, state parks were their only place for hunting.
"So in essence, a lot of those guys had nowhere to shoot for the whole time."
He says as well reducing exploding feral pest numbers, the recreational hunter's dollar is good for country towns.
"A lot of these city shooters will come out to our state forests, they'll stay in hotels and they'll fill up their cars and will often stay for a week."
Mr Lee says hunters are only allowed to shoot feral animals.
"People think you go in there and shoot native animals like kangaroos, emus and birds, but none of that happens.
"Recreational hunters are only allowed to shoot the feral pests."
Dr John Moriarty, the acting director of the Game Licensing Unit at the Department of Primary Industry in NSW, says 96,000 pests have been removed from state forests over the last seven years from 86,000 hunting days.
That includes wild dogs, foxes, pigs and a lot of rabbits, which has a lot of benefits for farmers and for the forestry industry, as rabbits eat newly-planted trees.
In Victoria, recreational hunters have killed 50,000 sambar deer.
He says there have been no safety incidents in NSW and it's a very safe practice in many countries overseas.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-20 ... ooter-state-parks/5208638