GOA003: Mustering of feral goats

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 mustering to locate groups of feral goats. Refer to Use of judas goats.

Mustering of feral goats is usually carried out on motor bike or horse with the aid of dogs, although helicopters or light aircraft may be used. Mustering is only effective and economic when goat densities are high. Shooting from a helicopter is a more effective method of quickly reducing feral goat populations. Refer to Aerial shooting of feral goats.

Once mustered, the goats are usually sold for live export, to abattoirs for slaughter or less commonly, for domestication, which offsets the cost of capture and handling. Where there is no market for them or where removal may be costly or impractical e.g. in conservation areas or remote areas without access to transportation, the goats are sometimes destroyed by shooting in a holding yard or while being held in a mob by dogs.

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.

Author Sharp, T.
Date 19/12/2012
Year 2012
Pages 6
Notes GOA003
Control method Harvest
Region Australia - national
Documents GOA003: Mustering of feral goats [590 kb PDF]