Feral goat control techniques
There are many techniques available to control feral goats and the damage they cause:
- Ground shooting of feral goats
- Aerial shooting of feral goats
- Mustering of feral goats
- Trapping of feral goats
- Use of Judas goats
- Various exclusion fencing styles.
Standard Operating Procedures for controlling goats
Once established, feral goats can be very difficult to fully eradicate, so preventing feral goats from colonising your area is the best strategy you can implement. However this can be more difficult than it sounds, especially if feral goats are in abundant nearby. Exclusion fences and regular control on the edge of their range is important to prevent further spread or new incursions. If established, the focus should be trying to keep numbers as low as possible, and on reducing the damage they cause.
Feral goats are also commercially harvested in many areas – providing a valuable economic return to land managers. Mustering and trapping are commonly used techniques for harvesting of feral goats.
Other techniques provide a less immediate financial return. Aerial shooting is also commonly used to reduce goat populations. Ground shooting may also be used to reduce low numbers of goats, or where a few animals remain following a larger program. Judas goats is a technique where one or more animals are trapped, radio collared and released to help locate a larger group. It requires specialised equipment and careful planning.
Standard Operating Procedures for humanely controlling feral goats (download):
Best-practice pest animal management - Advice from the experts:
- Regardless of species, pest management needs to be carefully planned and coordinated
- The focus should be on the damage a species causes, and not just on the animals themselves for the most successful results for productivity, agriculture and environmental protection.
- A focus only on the numbers of animals culled will not necessarily give productivity improvements or reduce damage levels.
- Pest animal control should not be addressed in isolation but should be integrated within a landscape management plan for all agricultural and natural resources.
- Landholders who use a best-practice pest animal management approach are more likely to achieve cost-effective results, reduced damage levels and improved productivity outcomes, as they focus on the best available techniques, sound scientific advice and local knowledge to develop and implement appropriate pest management plans.
- Landholders who participate in group control activities can significantly increase the success of control efforts, and improve the cost-effectiveness of actions.
How to get involved?
To form or join a feral goat control group, talk with your neighbours, local pest control authorities, farming networks or regional groups. FeralGoatScan can be used to map where feral goats are being seen, where damage has occurred, and where control techniques are being used. This can help with feral goat management across large areas.