Feral goats (Capra hircus) can have a significant impact on the environment and agricultural production and are a potential reservoir and vector of endemic and exotic diseases. Although often considered a pest, feral goats are also an important resource; harvested commercially primarily for meat. Control methods include trapping, mustering, exclusion fencing, ground shooting and shooting from helicopters. Radio-collared ‘Judas’ goats are sometimes used during aerial shooting campaigns to locate sparsely distributed or difficult to find groups of goats. Refer to Use of judas goats.
Aerial shooting of feral goats from a helicopter is used in inaccessible areas and to manage low density populations or remove survivors from other control programs. It is also used for broad scale population reductions when prices for goats are low and mustering uneconomic. Teams involved in shooting from a helicopter include a shooter, a pilot and a spotter/counter who locates the goats as well as records the location and number of animals shot.
Aerial shooting can be a humane method of destroying feral goats when it is carried out by experienced and skilled shooters and pilots; the animal can be clearly seen and is within range; the correct firearm, ammunition and shot placement is used; and wounded animals are promptly located and killed.
This standard operating procedure (SOP) is a guide only; it does not replace or override the legislation that applies in the relevant State or Territory jurisdiction. The SOP should only be used subject to the applicable legal requirements (including OH&S) operating in the relevant jurisdiction.
|Region||Australia - national|
|Documents||GOA002: Aerial shooting of feral goats [530 kb PDF]|