THIRTY sheep killed by wild dogs and dingoes in 10 days has farmer Peter Waterhouse patrolling his East Maya wheat and sheep property with a shotgun at dawn and dusk each day.
On Thursday evening last week his vigilance paid off and one of the probable killers that had been harrying his 1000 Merino ewes and 500 wethers met its match.
The male dingo, surprised and shot by Mr Waterhouse as it headed across the wheat stubble towards the sheep, was some 1.8 metres from nose to tail tip.
"He was huge, he would have weighed between 40 and 50 kilograms - closer to 50 I'd reckon," Mr Waterhouse said this week.
"They've (dingoes) been back around here for about three weeks.
"I've lost 30 sheep in about 10 days.
"I had to shoot two that had been grabbed around the neck and pulled down and another half a dozen look like they've been bitten on the legs.''
To help control the problem the Dalwallinu, Perenjori and Koorda shires have combined with the Central Wheatbelt Declared Species Group (DSG) for the past three years to hire a dogger to hunt wild dogs.
"The dogger trapped a dingo on my property last week but there's more still out there,'' Mr Waterhouse said.
"I saw another big one, about the same size as the one I shot, last (Sunday) night and this morning (Monday) I heard three howling."
Mr Waterhouse said a neighbour had lost five sheep and there were reports of a lot of paw prints on either side of the State barrier fence to the east.
"All the pastoral properties further out to the east have destocked (sheep) so the dingoes are coming closer in for water and stock," he said.
"The fence is obviously not stopping them.
"They've been a problem for five or six years, they disappear about April and come back about this time each year.
"The State Government should be paying for the dogger, not the shires."
Central Wheatbelt DSG dogger co-ordinator, Wubin farmer and local Primaries agent Russell Macpherson said Royalties for Regions (RfR) funding provided by the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) had helped pay for the dogger, along with the shires' contributions.
"He's a good dogger, he's got about 100 so far," Mr Macpherson said.
DAFWA last year completed significant upgrades of the barrier fence, including closing a 170 kilometre section to the north of Southern Cross known as the Yilgarn Gap and installing lap wire to 820km of the existing fence to bring it up to a wild dog-resistant standard.
The upgrades were funded through the RfR program.
Central region DAFWA biosecurity officer Gary McDonald said the lap wire upgrade, the Central Wheatbelt DSG support and its dogger meant that "for the majority of landholders, significant inroads are being made into the wild dog issue".
"Within the State barrier fence, wild dogs can still cause damage to sheep but the occurrences are more isolated," Mr McDonald said.
He said RfR covered half the cost of the dogger who operated along the barrier fence and adjacent Wheatbelt areas for 200 days a year and the DSG also provided a part-time dogger.