Feral horses (Equus caballus) can cause significant environmental damage and losses to rural industries. Although considered a pest, feral horses are also a resource, providing products such as pet meat for the domestic market and meat for human consumption for the export market. Control methods include capture (trapping, mustering or roping), exclusion fencing, ground shooting and shooting from helicopters.
Aerial shooting of feral horses from a helicopter is used for large scale population reductions in remote and/or inaccessible areas. Teams involved in shooting from a helicopter include a shooter, a pilot and a spotter/counter who locates the horses as well as records the number of animals shot.
Aerial shooting can be a humane method of destroying feral horses 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||HOR002: Aerial shooting of feral horses [420 kb PDF]|
|Secondary title||Standard Operating Procedure|