Female Northern Territory pig hunters leading by example
The ABC’s Dijana Damjanovic has run a very positive article about female pig hunters in the Northern Territory.
Catherine Baker a Territory local feels right at home running her dogs Rose and Spider on the local feral pig populations.
Catherine is emerging as a leader in the Territory's hunting community. Ms Baker is keen to better educate people about ethical hunting.
"That can be very frustrating and [it's] something we want to address."
Catherine has hunting access on private property 100kms out of Darwin. She has built a strong relationship with the property owner that greets her warmly like an old friend on arrival.
Catherine’s dogs have been trained for six years, and can run up to 40 kilometres in single a hunting trip.
"There's probably a few people out there who think that pig dogs are aggressive natured, that's definitely far from the truth," she said.
A popular period for women's hunting in NT
With the explosion of social media hunters are easily connected. Ms Baker created a Facebook group for women only, which is a meeting point for information-sharing about hunting done right.
She said she got the idea after she was sick of feeling like she was in a male-orientated sport.
"I was having a bit of a chat to one of my other pig hunting mates and I said to him, 'It would be nice to have some women to go out with and not have to tag along with the men all the time' and he said, 'Why don't you start a page? There might be a few women out there, you know'.
"So that's what I did, I put the interest out there and it's grown to over 1,000 members in a month which is really positive."
Ms Baker says she wanted to offer other women a place to come together.
"It would be good to do something for the ladies, there's plenty of ladies fishing comps already but to do something more hunting-related, it would be great."
She says she wants to work closely with sponsors, and people in other industries to promote ethical hunting.
The pig hunter’s code of conduct is forever under the microscope due to a few rogues in their hunting community.
Pig hunting groups and associations are tirelessly working their hardest to maintain the reputation of all pig hunters.
Horror stories have emerged on the internet, of inhumane practices and of pigs and dogs being seriously injured.
The Northern Territory Branch of the Australian Pig Dogger's and Hunter's Association admits there are a few who give pig hunting a bad reputation.
"A lot of the misconceptions around pig dogging are based on the one or two people who do do the wrong thing, which is no different to any sort of hobby," says spokesperson Jamie Lewis.
"We encourage pig hunters to sign up to our organisation, which means they will be bound by our code of conduct.
"We are a tight-knit community and we do like to see other hunters doing the right thing, and we will pull them up and try and educate them into doing things the right way."
Mr Lewis says the association encourages women who are interested in hunting.
"That's been a big thing in Darwin lately, we're all for that, we totally support it," he said.
"One of our goals is to see hunting recognised as a valid family activity that everyone regardless of age, gender and race can take part in."
Ms Baker is the first to admit that pig hunting is not for everyone, but says with the proper introduction, anyone could do it.
"I think in the right setting if they were introduced in the right way … that might be the trouble with some people, is that they may not go out with someone that is experienced," she said.
"So anyone who may have a bit of experience that can show someone the right way, anyone can do it."