Sea­son over, cam­paign con­tin­ues

Our third is­sue of the magazine con­tin­ues our mis­sion to share news and sto­ries from mem­bers around Aus­tralia, and specif­i­cally in this is­sue, a great range of ar­ti­cles from the game hunt­ing sea­son across south­east­ern Aus­tralia.

Field and Game - - FGA GENERAL MANAGER -

I'm de­lighted the NT hunt­ing sea­son has been an­nounced al­ready. The NT Gov­ern­ment has de­liv­ered on a com­mit­ment for a timely an­nounce­ment of sea­son dates and bag lim­its.

In my last col­umn, I de­scribed the sen­sory ex­tremes of open­ing week­end. At one end of the scale, the com­fort­ing smell of wood smoke and the warm em­brace of hun­ters' camps and at the other end, the stench of dead carp and the cir­cus of mis­in­for­ma­tion that en­veloped Lake Bur­rum­beet.

Who could for­get the swan al­legedly shot, then not shot, but in­stead dead from the ‘stress of hunt­ing', ac­tivists' claims all made with­out a foun­da­tion of ev­i­dence.

Hun­ters are re­silient and our pas­sion to be out­doors with friends and fam­ily, har­vest­ing wild food, trumps the ad­ver­si­ties put in our way.

Keen hun­ters have pur­sued what op­por­tu­ni­ties there were for both duck and quail but the chal­lenges we called out in our sub­mis­sion to the Vic­to­rian Game Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity in De­cem­ber 2015 are un­changed.

Habi­tat is crit­i­cal, whether it is wet­lands for ducks or grass­lands for quail, and re­search should un­der­pin de­ci­sion mak­ing. There's no sub­sti­tute for hard facts and data.

Hun­ters, as you will read in this edi­tion, are help­ing with re­search into Avian in­fluenza to ward off a po­ten­tial hu­man pan­demic. As an or­gan­i­sa­tion we are ac­tively sup­port­ing im­por­tant sci­ence, a some­what ironic sit­u­a­tion given hun­ters would value and ben­e­fit from more re­search into game species.

Duck Sea­sons come and go all too soon but the lob­by­ing never ends and we have been on the ground in Vic­to­ria, South Aus­tralia and Can­berra when­ever the op­por­tu­nity arises to brief key peo­ple.

In Vic­to­ria, the Gov­ern­ment has recog­nised is­sues with the process of pub­lish­ing clo­sure, and no­tion­ally also re-open­ing no­tices, when con­cen­tra­tions of rare and pro­tected ducks ap­pear, how­ever, amend­ments in­tro­duced into the Par­lia­ment fall short. Crit­i­cally, they high­light the need for change at ev­ery level to de­liver more ef­fec­tive game man­age­ment de­ci­sions.

The ben­e­fits of our fo­cus on ad­vo­cacy and brand are be­com­ing ev­i­dent.

We've been quoted in the Vic­to­rian Par­lia­ment and me­dia ex­po­sure is be­ing gained, al­low­ing us to pro­vide bal­ance to the mis­in­for­ma­tion fed to the broader com­mu­nity by those op­posed to hunt­ing, and to ex­pose them to the truth that hun­ters, his­tor­i­cally, now and into the fu­ture, are the real con­ser­va­tion­ists. Our won­der­ful brand am­bas­sadors, Deb­bie, Ben and Emma, re­in­force that mes­sage.

Nu­mer­ous re­views and in­quiries con­tinue to soak up time and re­sources due to the com­plex­ity of the is­sues around wa­ter, land, an­i­mal wel­fare and man­age­ment of nat­u­ral re­sources in­clud­ing our val­ued game species.

We ap­pre­ci­ate the sup­port of our Aus­tralian Deer As­so­ci­a­tion col­leagues in mak­ing a num­ber of joint sub­mis­sions re­cently. It is painstak­ing work but it earns us a seat at the ta­ble, cred­i­bil­ity and re­spect.

The po­lit­i­cal land­scape is be­com­ing clearer as I write, with Malcolm Turn­bull and the Lib­eral/nationals able to form Gov­ern­ment. We've al­ready planned a Can­berra visit to con­tinue crit­i­cal ad­vo­cacy work on your be­half.

In NSW, the Baird Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion to ban grey­hound rac­ing has much broader im­pli­ca­tions. A ban was just one of 80 rec­om­men­da­tions in the 11-vol­ume Spe­cial Com­mis­sion of In­quiry re­port and the lack of any at­tempt to im­ple­ment the rest is of real con­cern. So is the emer­gence of the term “so­cial li­cence” in an­nounc­ing the ban. We must not ig­nore this clear sig­nal.

We can't find a pa­per copy of our Gov­ern­ment-is­sued “so­cial li­cence” any­where but make no mis­take, we can lose it at the stroke of a pen should the an­i­mal rights cam­paign­ers win the cul­ture war they are wag­ing.

They are not fight­ing a po­lit­i­cal bat­tle over leg­is­la­tion or reg­u­la­tion but a big­ger bat­tle over val­ues, prin­ci­ples and life­styles.

The cam­paign to build our fight­ing fund is un­der­way, but the re­al­ity is we must raise more to fend off our well-funded op­po­nents. Do­nat­ing the equiv­a­lent of three pack­ets of steel duck loads also keeps us in front of po­lit­i­cal and other de­ci­sion makers across the coun­try.

Thanks to the branches and mem­bers who have con­trib­uted al­ready, ev­ery dol­lar will make a dif­fer­ence.

See you out there with a gun in hand and a keen dog at your side.

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