Written by – Kylie Savidge, Owner, Southampton Station.
In recent years we have also had to do battle with our enemy, the wild dog. In years gone by when Southampton used to run around 10,000 head of sheep we had no wild dog problems due I believe to the vigilance of our neighbours to the north. Not a dog stepped foot on there without very shortly meeting his end, if one did show up at home all it took was a phone call to say that you had seen tracks or that sheep were being bitten and your problem was sorted. After our neighbours sold and with the return of excellent seasons wild dogs started to show that they were around. With plentiful water and food available they spread throughout our area rapidly.
Calves with torn ears and no tails were coming through the yards, sheep dead with their stomachs torn open, and tracks up our well-travelled roads appeared.
We have become very adept in tracking and another neighbour to our south has honed his skills in the trapping of wild dogs and become very good at catching them. I have yet to set eyes on one in the bush but have seen the evidence left behind, I have heard them howl and that is eerie to behold.
Wild dogs are pests like feral goats, foxes, and pigs however by far are they the worst, followed by kangaroos that flock in plague like proportions and compete with your livestock for feed and water. I am quite happy to have a few ‘roos and live in equal balance with them but not when they eat everything out from underneath your stock.