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Hunting is a major participant activity in Australia. Nowhere is the sport taken more seriously than the Northern Territory where it fills a dual role, fulfilling a need for people who want to soak up an outdoors experience, as well as helping rid the countryside of feral animals.

Katherine Rod & Rifle Tackle World is an iconic outdoors shop on the main street of Katherine. The shop business is managed by Trent de With, and many visitors associate the shop more with fishing and camping than its name suggests, shooting.

Trent’s father, Warren, oversees the hunting and shooting section. It’s called the Den for Men & Women, and it’s been in the same, secure area of the shop since Warren took over the premises in 2003.

“The problem is that we have been so busy we can’t keep up. Most of the extra business has been generated in the NT caused by the Covid pandemic and subsequent restrictions,” Warren explained.

“People couldn’t travel interstate during the pandemic so many chose to go outdoors instead and of course they needed to be equipped.

“We stock all our guns and hunting gear in the Den,” said Warren. “Everything needed for hunting is available right here.”

Warren explained there isn’t as much call for shotguns around Katherine as there is in more northerly areas of the Territory, as magpie geese were not plentiful.

Nevertheless, the area does have good numbers of feral pigs, buffalo and donkeys, hence the popularity of the .308 calibre firearm, which Warren said was an all-round firearm and the most economic.

Many of the surrounding stations used .308 calibre rifles, and the most popular brands are Tikka and Howa.

As well as an extensive range of firearms, stock in the Den also includes ammunition, scopes, trail cameras, clay targets and clay throwers, gun safes and clothing.

“Anything you can think of for hunting or target practice is in stock,” Warren said. And of course, the shop has a wide range of camping gear plus a huge range of fishing tackle to suit all needs.

He explained that many of the surrounding stations sourced their rifles and ammunition from the store. Most of the sales occurred during the Dry when the Jackaroos and Jillaroos arrived in the area for work, and there was a need for feral eradication as part of that work. Not much happens during the Wet.

The pastoralists enforce strict policies regarding shooter access. “You must know the station manager and get his okay before you can venture onto a property. It’s hard. You have cattle and people working cattle, and the insurances associated with shooting on private properties are high.

Warren said the best option for shooters was Crown Land or else get permission.

“Locals who have a history of doing the right thing can get access, but it’s a trust that has been earned over many years,” he said.


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