TERRITORIAL: Wild dogs, like these trapped at Whian Whian recently, are moving into semi-suburban areas.
TERRITORIAL: Wild dogs, like these trapped at Whian Whian recently, are moving into semi-suburban areas.

Southern Downs farmer loses bid for right to use handgun

A SOUTHERN Downs farmer has lost his fight to possess a handgun to kill the feral dogs he traps on his 604-hectare cattle property.

John James Shaxson, whose property west of Warwick borders Durikai Forest on the west, has been trapping feral dogs on his property since 2012 and trapping feral pigs since about 2000.

He grazes and breeds between 50 and 115 cattle depending on conditions on his property which he says is hilly and rough with an actual surface area more like 2000 hectares.

Mr Shaxson told the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal that he needed a handgun because he used a quad bike to get to inaccessible areas where he set traps and already had lots of equipment to carry.

He told the tribunal his rifle would catch on foliage walking through to the traps and it was dangerous shooting dogs with it because a bullet might ricochet off a steel trap.

QCAT member Michelle Howard said Mr Shaxson also wanted the 22 magnum handgun to have better aim shooting feral pigs he caught in mesh cages.

She said he admitted he had shot only six dogs in total after they were caught in the steel traps but was less forthcoming on pigs - saying he sometimes caught six to eight at a time and another time just two.

"He considered it was a requirement for the dogs, but for the pigs, it would be a bonus," she said.

"Although a handgun may be desirable from his perspective to euthanise feral dogs in particular, I am satisfied that the other weapons licences and weapons he already holds and uses are appropriate to meet his occupational requirements."

Ms Howard said the potential for ricocheting ammunition was present whether a rifle or handgun was used.

The matter came before QCAT after the Queensland Police Service's weapons licensing branch refused Mr Shaxson's application for a handgun.


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