POMBORNEIT farmer Neville Boyd has warned hunters if they come on to farms in the district chasing feral pigs without permission they will be reported to police.
“The biggest problem is the shooters, not the pigs. Anyone caught on my property or the places I look after without permission will be reported to police,” he said.
“I’ve had a couple of other absentee property owners on the phone today. They are very concerned about what’s going to happen. I’m frightened by what’s going to happen. If you catch people they are just as likely to threaten to burn you out come summer.”
Mr Boyd, 63, who has lived all his life in the area, said hunters had overstepped the mark without getting permission to be on private land.
It is believed that hunters have deliberately introduced feral pigs into the Stony Rises for sport shooting.
Warrnambool police district firearms officer Senior Constable Mick Lourey said hunters had to get permission from a landowner before going on to or shooting over any property.
He said maximum penalties were fines of up to $9000 and 12 months’ imprisonment.
Mr Boyd, a former Country Fire Authority brigade captain, said he had seen signs of feral pigs in the past 10 years.
He said it was also concerning that the feral pigs shot appeared to be a breed that did not have ears and these were obviously introduced ferals.
“My son is an accredited pig hunter and he’s got really good dogs which he takes to New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory,” he said.
“If dogs get onto a 100 kilogram pig, the ears are about the only thing a dog can get hold of.
“Without ears, a pig will just kill dogs. You will never shoot the pigs out of that country so whoever is letting them go wants them in there forever. I also think it’s illegal to hunt pigs with dogs in Victoria.”
Mr Boyd said claims that Oliver Spring and Howarth Spring in the Stony Rises were being damaged by pigs was also interesting.
“Those springs and that area is landlocked. I know for a fact, because I’ve been talking to the owners, that anyone in there has not had permission,” he said.
Mr Boyd said he had only seen half-a-dozen feral pigs.
Pomborneit landowner Nigel McNay said he had two farms in the area and about 10 feral pigs had been shot on his property during the past couple of months.
“They were mongrel-bred and full of worms,” he said.
“They had their ears cut off. I reckon we’ve got them all. They were wild bastards. They were not fit for eating,” he said.