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 (by trapping, mustering or roping), exclusion fencing, groung shooting and shooting from helicopters.
Ground shooting is best suited to accessible and relatively flat areas where there are low numbers of problem horses. It is also used for euthanasia of sick or injured horses. It involves the shooter approaching a group of horses on foot with the intention of culling all the animals in the group. Shooting from a helicopter is considered a more humane control method as mobile wounded animals can be promptly located and killed. It is also a more effective method of quickly reducing feral horse populations. Refer to Aerial shooting of feral horses .
Shooting can be a humane method of destroying feral horses when it is carried out by experienced, skilled shooters; the animal can be clearly seen and is within range; and the correct firearm, ammunition and and shot placement is used.
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||HOR001: Ground shooting of feral horses [400 kb PDF]|
|Secondary title||Standard Operating Procedure|