Monday, August 28, 2017

Australian Gun Culture Part 18: Queensland Cattle Station Shooter

While attending the SSAA Shot Show in Brisbane, Australia, I met a shooter who related his experiences on a cattle station in northern Queensland. He did not wish to be identified, but his story was convincing. There was some documentation and corroboration. I will call him Jeff.

About a decade ago, Jeff was involved in the development of a cattle station of over a hundred thousand acres, with thousands of cattle. In addition to the cattle, they grew crops. The station was remote. It was described as having considerable area where no European had ever been known to have set foot. Attempting to make a living on the station was a constant battle with nature and the elements.

Wild pigs were numerous and did extensive damage. Crop losses were estimated at 20%, about $300,000 a year. Birds did enormous damage to the sorghum crop. To control the bird damage, Jeff used a pair of Stirling .22 bolt action rifles, buying ammunition by the case (5,000) regularly. He said that he became quite a good shot with that sort of practice.

He used a surplus .303 Lee-Enfield for pig control. The bolt gun was too slow, with too small of a magazine capacity, especially for shooting from a vehicle. It took Jeff two years to obtain a permit to acquire a semi-automatic centerfire rifle. Then it took him three months to find one for sale. He bought the first one that was available. It was a Chinese version of the SKS carbine, that uses the AK-47 type magazines, in 7.62X39. It proved to be a good choice. Jeff said that you purchased the ammunition that was in the store, and there was not a wide variety available.

Jeff described riding in a vehicle and seeing a dark line in the distance. It was a herd of over a hundred pigs.  They were more than a kilometer from cover. With the SKS and a 30 round magazine, Jeff was able to cull a large number, shooting as a passenger while racing the pigs to cover.

In heavy cover, one day, he shot a boar which charged him and his companions.  He was able to deliver fast, accurate fire from the SKS to stop the attack.  He estimated the boar's weight at 120 kilos, or 260 pounds.

Wild horses were numerous and a problem, doing considerable damage. The stallions could be aggressive. Jeff did not always carry the SKS or the Lee-Enfield on his surveying expeditions, where he was normally afoot.

One day he was treed by a wild stallion. After that, he was able to obtain a permit to carry a pistol with him on the cattle station. It was a .38 Taurus with an 8 inch barrel.

Eventually the losses from wild animals, birds, and unpredictable drought brought an end to the attempt at running the station. It was sold at close to break even.

Semi-automatic rifles were only allowed a permit for a year at a time. Two days after his semi-automatic permit expired, a pair of police were at Jeff's door. He was able to have the rifle stored at a gun store, but was unable to obtain an extension on the permit.  A few months later, Queensland had one of their gun amnesties/turn in events. On top of the pile of turned in rifles was an SKS variant that looked exactly like the rifle that Jeff had owned. He believes the gun store turned the rifle in to avoid problems with the authorities. Jeff could no longer legally possess the rifle. The government never compensated him for it.  When firearms may no longer be possessed, they can be stored at a gun shop. The gun shops generally charge about $25 to $35 per week. In only a few months, the entire value of the gun is eroded.

Because of the strict registration system, guns in Australia are only allowed to be possessed. If the government decides you no longer qualify, you may no longer possess the firearm, even if you still own it.  The Donald Eykamp case may decide if you can be allowed to sell the guns and obtain the proceeds, even if ordered by a court.

Jeff still owns the Stirling bolt action .22 rifles, the Lee-Enfield, and the Taurus revolver. The revolver is in storage while he applies for a renewed permit. He will have to join a club and shoot in at least four competitions a year to maintain his pistol permit.

Permits are obtainable. They are more easily obtainable if you are operating a hundred thousand plus acre cattle station.

 ©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch 



Anonymous said...

I was in the state of Georgia several times and I got permission to camp out on this farm in the middle of no where. I was talking to the owner and he told me a story about an area on the farm that was considered haunted. He said back during prohibition three federal revenuers disappeared while hunting stills. I was walking through the woods and came across three piles of rocks side by side about eight feet long and over four feet wide. gun grabbers in ausieland might make areas haunted too if the gun owners can learn to pile rocks.

Mr. Fosi said...

Hi Dean.

This isn't a comment on this article but rather a story tip:

Feel free not to approve this comment so it doesn't clutter the comment section.