Look to the fu­ture

Duck Sea­son 2017 was one of the best on record and 2018 prom­ises to be as good if not bet­ter, we have a lot to look forward to.

Field and Game - - FGA CHAIRMAN ROB TREBLE -

While the start of the sea­son in Vic­to­ria pro­vided a few chal­lenges we are meet­ing them head on.

We have led from the front, en­gag­ing with gov­ern­ment di­rectly to en­sure any re­sponse to il­le­gal and un­eth­i­cal prac­tices on wet­lands is ap­pro­pri­ate, ev­i­dence based and pro­por­tional.

A key fact that can’t be ig­nored in the process is that the re­main­der of the sea­son was un­re­mark­able, in­clud­ing hunters co­op­er­at­ing to keep some wet­lands open while ac­knowl­edg­ing and re­spond­ing ap­pro­pri­ately to the pres­ence of pro­tected species.

Nei­ther our or­gan­i­sa­tion nor any other is able to con­trol or mon­i­tor ev­ery hunter in the field but we can set clear ex­pec­ta­tions and pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and ed­u­ca­tion to pro­mote eth­i­cal hunt­ing.

En­force­ment is nec­es­sary and in the case of a small mi­nor­ity, the only way to de­liver the mes­sage that il­le­gal and un­eth­i­cal prac­tices have no place. It is im­por­tant, as we have been say­ing for a long time now, that the Game Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity is given the pow­ers and re­sources to act.

We are start­ing to see out­comes from the Vic­to­rian gov­ern­ment’s Sus­tain­able Hunt­ing Ac­tion Plan, a $5.3 mil­lion in­vest­ment to sup­port and guide the long term growth of hunt­ing.

As we went to press, the first quar­terly re­port on progress with SHAP was re­leased. The quar­terly re­port­ing process has started later than we’d hoped given the whole of gov­ern­ment plan was re­leased and adopted in early December 2016, how­ever, from this point forward it will be an im­por­tant marker of progress, or the lack of it.

FGA and our col­leagues at the Aus­tralian Deer As­so­ci­a­tion de­vel­oped joint key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors for SHAP, which we shared with Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Jaala Pul­ford. You can read more about them in this is­sue on page 20.

Ms Pul­ford made the com­mit­ment to quar­terly re­port­ing be­cause, as she told a re­cent Es­ti­mates Com­mit­tee hear­ing, “This is a multi-agency ef­fort, but it is cer­tainly some­thing of great in­ter­est to hunters in Vic­to­ria.”

We should all keep an eye on the quar­terly re­ports from the SHAP im­ple­men­ta­tion team be­cause the out­comes are crit­i­cal to the fu­ture of hunt­ing.

The first quar­terly up­date in­cluded only one funded ini­tia­tive; $40 000 to the Wet­lands En­vi­ron­men­tal Task­force to en­sure the Aus­tralian Na­tional Hunt­ing Archive, Aus­tralia’s most com­pre­hen­sive and valu­able collection of works on the so­cial history of hunt­ing, is dig­i­tally in­dexed and ac­ces­si­ble.

You can read more about that project on page 18.

One of the key ob­jec­tives of SHAP is to grow hunt­ing and par­tic­u­larly, the eco­nomic ben­e­fits that flow to re­gional Aus­tralia.

You will have read in the last is­sue about An­drew Bo­gan’s trip to Aus­tralia as a hunt­ing tourist and his view that our won­der­ful wet­lands and duck species would ap­peal to many North Amer­i­can hunters.

A framed map of the Love­day wet­land now hangs proudly on the wall of the Teal Club in California as a re­minder of the hunt with FGA board mem­ber Jim God­den from Barmera Moorook, but also as in­cen­tive for oth­ers to fol­low.

Ramsey Rus­sell from get­ducks.com, one of the big­gest and cer­tainly most re­spected hunt­ing out­fit­ters in the world, is also singing our praises (page 45).

Ramsey hunted Aus­tralia for the first time as a guest of Gee­long FGA mem­ber Glenn Falla and loved it, in­clud­ing at some of my favourite live red gum tim­ber wet­lands in the North east.

Hunt­ing tourism is a re­al­ity and with the sup­port of peo­ple like Ramsey, it can grow rapidly, achiev­ing the eco­nomic aims of Gov­ern­ment and ce­ment­ing the value of pro­vid­ing ac­cess and op­por­tu­nity to hunt.

Build­ing in­ter­na­tional re­la­tion­ships also pro­vides us with ac­cess to ex­perts in their fields, research, and ideas, which is why we were pleased Daryl Snowdon was able to speak at the Fish & Game New Zealand Con­fer­ence in July.

We have also added more ex­pe­ri­ence to the FGA lead­er­ship team with Scott Mitchell join­ing our board. Scott has a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and par­tic­u­lar ex­per­tise in nav­i­gat­ing the po­lit­i­cal land­scape — he is not a bad shot ei­ther.

The Na­tional Car­ni­val nom­i­na­tions open this month so I hope to see the many of our com­pet­i­tive clay tar­get shoot­ers at the Wodonga Al­bury ground in Novem­ber.

As I sug­gested at the start we have a lot to look forward to, on­wards and up­wards is the only way. While the ducks get breed­ing I’ll be out in a pad­dock try­ing to do my bit to re­duce the num­ber of dam­ag­ing foxes in the wild.

So get out and en­joy your shoot­ing whether it be clays or hunt­ing, a day’s shoot­ing with fam­ily and friends is qual­ity time!

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