The destruction of a wild dog recently ended a four-month cycle of depredation on sheep owned by graziers, Peter and Margaret Forsyth, "Chilcotts Creek", south of Wallabadah.
Mr Chilcott said the dog was destroyed by Guyra-based Local Land Services trapper, Brian Campion, and on top of 33 millimetres of rain, it was a perfect ending to their week.
He said the dog had been troubling his Lorelmo SRS-blood Merino sheep flock for the past four or so months.
"We'd be finding two or three maimed sheep and one that had been killed, at intervals of two or three days apart," he said.
Mr Forsyth said eight motion-sensitive cameras were sited on the property and were checked every weekend.
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"We would get at least one image from one of the eight cameras of wild dogs chasing our sheep. We'd seen this dog on camera and with our ewes lambing, we knew it had been causing some damage."
Mr Forsyth said dogs and feral pigs had caused massive damage to sheep flocks throughout the district and he cited the case of near neighbours who had lost about 500 lambs between the marking tally and when the lambs were weaned.
Mr Forsyth said exclusion fences had been considered as a means to control wild-dog depredations in the district, but it was more a tool rather than a complete answer to the issue of wild dogs.
"We find our terrain as a limiting factor with exclusion fences," he said.
"We've put a little bit of the fencing up and our neighbours are working on installing more exclusion fences.
"But with rolling hills and creeks and gullies it really adds a cost to the project.
"One neighbour has had to spend about $2000 to access a deep gully and install the fencing," Mr Forsyth said.
"We see exclusion fencing as another important tool in wild dog control, but it's not the complete answer."
Mr Forsyth has been part of an ongoing battle with wild dog predations over a number of years and said trapping, baiting and shooting were also key tools in the ongoing fight.
Mr Campion said he'd been working with the Chilcott's Creek Wild Dog Association for the past three years and had destroyed more than 40 wild dogs in that area with funding through the Local Lands Service.
"Before I arrived the local graziers were considering getting out of sheep due to the impact of the wild dogs," Mr Campion said.
"Now they are able to keep their lambs and their flock numbers at a level where they provide a practical return."
He said the process of taking down the dog was remarkably simple.
"I howled him in and spotted him with my thermal scope and shot him at about 15 metres from where I was sitting," he said. "He came in close and very quick."
Mr Campion has been a dog trapper for almost 40 years, starting at 14, and is also a fourth-generation property owner.
In that career, he has claimed between 800 and 1000 wild dogs trapping and shooting in the Glen Innes area national parks, districts like Warialda, Coolatai, Narrabri, Glen Innes, Ebor and Tenterfield.
He says he has noticed the size of wild dogs is "probably getting bigger" due to more food being available in feral pigs and deer.
Apart from his vocal ability to "howl dogs in" Mr Campion also traps wild dogs and has three pet dogs as his travelling companions.
His three 'offsiders' provide him with some of his baits in "wee and poo" to draw a wild dog into the traps.
Mr Campion said he is about to take a breather in the Chilcott's Creek area as aerial baiting has begun in the district. Although he may return to clean up "the odd leftover wild dogs".
All wild dog sightings and incidents should be reported to the nearest Local Land Services biosecurity officer.
Sheep and cattle producers in the Upper Hunter who wish to take part in the Professional Wild Dog Controller Program need to be a member of their local wild dog association.
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