BUSTED: Courtney Barr (front middle) with the Boar Busters committee after a successful weekend event.
BUSTED: Courtney Barr (front middle) with the Boar Busters committee after a successful weekend event. Emma Dohle

Boar busters shoot big for better health

OVER the past year, the Balonne Boar Busters have lost two of their hunting mates to suicide.

"Everyone on the committee has been affected by suicide and mental health, and we thought it was something we really needed to push that you know... it's OK to not be OK and to seek help,” president Courtney Barr said.

With 125 nominations from St George to Rockhampton to Melbourne, the event has appeal that reaches far and wide.

"We always have lots of different people come. It was a really smooth event and we're really happy with the turnout,” she said.

"The nominations were a little less than last year, but we always want to point out that we are eradicating feral pests from our shire.

"We had roughly 15.6 tonnes of animals over the weekend, which is quite a lot. A great effort for our sixth year.

"This year we really wanted to target mental health, and all our proceeds are going to the Black Dog Institute.”

The development of wild dog fencing throughout the shire may mean the event has reached its "peak”, but Ms Barr is adamant the event is getting bigger and better.

"I think there will be a time when we have to stop, because we won't get the entries,” she said.

"My dad was a roo shooter, so I've been into it from day dot, and it's great that we can run events like this because... you don't have to go in and see a counsellor to get the help you need, sometimes you just need to be with mates.”

Lighting Ridge's Robert Turnbull was the guest speaker of the day, reading poems he had written born of his own experience with mental health.

"A couple of years ago he was going to kill himself, and he put that pain into his poem,” Ms Barr said.

"I think that touched everyone out there. The event was targeted at everyone, we had lots of kids events and it was a real family weekend.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 131114.


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