Ad­vo­cat­ing for hunters

In past years it’s been a fairly sim­ple task to sum­mon the high­lights but this past year is not filled with mem­o­ries of be­ing in the field with a young gun dog bring­ing a dif­fi­cult re­trieve back to hand or a day spent on a chal­leng­ing Sim­u­lated Field layo

Field and Game - - DAVID MCNABB -

As we strive to po­si­tion our­selves for the fu­ture, we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the tempo of our op­er­a­tions. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, the vol­ume of ad­vo­cacy work has also in­creased dra­mat­i­cally, demon­strated by the num­ber of sub­mis­sions and rep­re­sen­ta­tions on key is­sues we make to gov­ern­ments around the coun­try on be­half of our mem­bers.

Ad­vo­cacy takes time as we ad­dress the is­sues rel­e­vant to our three key ar­eas; con­ser­va­tion, hunt­ing and recre­ational shoot­ing. Ef­fec­tive ad­vo­cacy re­quires an in­vest­ment of pre­cious re­sources: we can­not for­get that those op­pos­ing us are ex­tremely well funded.

To com­bat this, we must care­fully in­vest our re­sources in plan­ning thor­oughly, de­vel­op­ing clear ob­jec­tives, re­search­ing and writ­ing sub­mis­sions and pa­pers based on facts and data. It’s es­sen­tial to then in­vest even more of our pre­cious re­sources in com­mu­ni­cat­ing, en­sur­ing that while our mes­sage may not be agreed with, the facts and data sup­port­ing our case are read­ily un­der­stood.

We are de­vel­op­ing greater aware­ness of the FGA story with politi­cians, govern­ment agen­cies and bu­reau­crats.

Pleas­ingly, we’re start­ing to see re­sults. The re­moval of the Victorian Emer­gency Clo­sures Ad­vis­ery Com­mit­tee (ECAC) re­quired a change in leg­is­la­tion, and we de­vel­oped par­lia­men­tary sup­port to achieve this change. Yet the re­moval of ECAC isn’t the end of this is­sue, govern­ment went on the record that they would con­tinue to con­sult with other stake­hold­ers, leav­ing it open to de­tract from the ex­pert ad­vice avail­able from the Govern­ment’s own statu­tory author­ity, the Game Man­age­ment Author­ity.

In other stun­ning de­vel­op­ments, RSPCA Vic­to­ria has adopted all rec­om­men­da­tions from the re­lease of the independent re­port into its ac­tiv­i­ties. A joint ef­fort with our col­leagues at the Aus­tralia Deer Association has spanned more than three years to “get our RSPCA back”.

Are we see­ing RSPCA re­turn to an­i­mal wel­fare just as the char­ity did in the UK in

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>> re­sponse to grow­ing crit­i­cism?

The chap­ter in the independent re­port ti­tled “Ad­vo­cacy ver­sus Ac­tivism” high­lights the con­flict cre­ated through RSPCA’S ac­tive cam­paign­ing against a num­ber of le­git­i­mate ac­tiv­i­ties, specif­i­cally men­tion­ing ‘duck shoot­ing’, while still seek­ing to hold the priv­i­leged po­si­tion as the govern­ment’s trusted an­i­mal wel­fare agency.

The re­sponse by RSPCA Vic­to­ria is in stark con­trast to the po­si­tion taken in NSW fol­low­ing the re­cent over­turn of the grey­hound rac­ing ban. Are we the only ones who can see a con­flict of in­ter­est be­tween RSPCA NSW cam­paign­ing to end grey­hound rac­ing while also be­ing as­signed the role of an­i­mal wel­fare watch­dog by govern­ment?

The process sur­round­ing duck sea­son set­ting re­mains a prob­lem. De­spite record rain­fall, re­cov­er­ing wet­land ecosys­tems and sig­nif­i­cant breed­ing by late Oc­to­ber we still have no cer­tainty. In the US, the 2017 sea­son is set a year in ad­vance.

Change is hap­pen­ing else­where, why not in Aus­tralia too?

This year FGA, sup­ported by re­spected sci­en­tists such as Dr Richard Kings­ford, has ad­vo­cated that habi­tat is the key fac­tor in wa­ter­fowl pop­u­la­tions, not hunt­ing yet we con­tinue to see a reliance on the same long-used pro­cesses that only serves to de­liver late de­ci­sions, con­fuses the is­sues, and aren’t sup­ported by data and sci­ence de­signed for game man­age­ment.

The prob­lem will only be re­solved when those charged with mak­ing the de­ci­sions that af­fect us fi­nally start to lis­ten.

Thanks to the sup­port of our mem­bers’ and your do­na­tions; the equiv­a­lent of three pack­ets of steel hunt­ing loads from ev­ery mem­ber will make a real dif­fer­ence as we lobby for the fu­ture of duck hunt­ing.

It’s been an in­cred­i­bly busy three months, and this is­sue of Field & Game mag­a­zine brings you news on the many ini­tia­tives we’ve been work­ing on for you.

We held our 14th an­nual clay tar­get event for State, Ter­ri­tory and Fed­eral politi­cians’ and their teams, a suc­cess­ful day that al­lowed us to show­case the shot­gun shoot­ing sports and the FGA Wil­low­mavin ground near Kilmore.

You can read about our 2016 Na­tional Car­ni­val in this is­sue. Sin­cere thanks goes to all the hard-work­ing Pine­grove com­mit­tee mem­bers and vol­un­teers, and the fab­u­lous sup­port of our many spon­sors and friends.

It is also an im­por­tant way to show lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties that the shoot­ing sports are sig­nif­i­cant and grow­ing.

The Victorian govern­ment recog­nised this with $12 mil­lion through the Shoot­ing Sports Fa­cil­i­ties Pro­gram, gen­er­at­ing an un­prece­dented level of in­fra­struc­ture up­grades at branches.

We sin­cerely thank all those in­volved in mak­ing this pos­si­ble.

See you with a gun in hand on a Sim­u­lated Field shoot­ing ground.

The process sur­round­ing duck sea­son set­ting re­mains a prob­lem. De­spite record rain­fall, re­cov­er­ing wet­land ecosys­tems and sig­nif­i­cant breed­ing by late Oc­to­ber we still have no cer­tainty. In the US, the 2017 sea­son is set a year in ad­vance.

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