From the Editor

Life is so much eas­ier when it is black and white and good ver­sus evil, but that clear def­i­ni­tion is rarely ap­pli­ca­ble, and when it comes to firearms own­er­ship and hunt­ing, we can end up in both camps at the same time. This is­sue con­tains a num­ber of exam

Field and Game - - FROM THE EDITOR -

Field & Game Aus­tralia de­nounced the il­le­gal and un­eth­i­cal hunt­ing that de­fined the open­ing week­end of Vic­to­rian Duck Sea­son and pro­vided am­mu­ni­tion to the anti hunt­ing zealots.

As the sea­son rolled on with­out fur­ther in­ci­dent, wet­land ac­cess for hunt­ing came un­der pres­sure due to the ex­is­tence of non-game and en­dan­gered species.

The good to con­trast the por­trayal of hunt­ing as ‘evil’ is the re­ported abun­dance of all wa­ter­fowl and the sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion made by hunters to healthy pop­u­la­tions through their long history of wet­land con­ser­va­tion, water man­age­ment and ef­forts to sup­port breed­ing with nest boxes and preda­tor sup­pres­sion.

The im­por­tance of recre­ational shoot­ers (and the firearms they own le­git­i­mately) is also em­pha­sised in the Vic­to­rian Par­lia­ment In­quiry into the Con­trol of In­va­sive An­i­mals on Crown Land. The in­quiry re­port makes it clear that recre­ational shoot­ers, par­tic­u­larly those af­fil­i­ated with responsible or­gan­i­sa­tions like FGA and our col­leagues at the Aus­tralian Deer As­so­ci­a­tion, have an im­por­tant role to play.

Equally, year-to-date data on fox scalps handed in un­der Vic­to­ria’s bounty scheme shows a sig­nif­i­cant drop in re­turns. The the­ory is that farm­ers have di­verted their at­ten­tion to crops and fod­der be­cause of good sea­sonal con­di­tions and profit has taken pri­or­ity over pests.

A pros­per­ous duck sea­son no doubt dis­tracted the at­ten­tion of many hunters but over the com­ing months, there is an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion recre­ational shoot­ers can make to sup­press­ing fox num­bers.

None of the ‘good’ could oc­cur with­out the le­git­i­mate own­er­ship of firearms, yet the firearms de­bate in this coun­try is so of­ten cap­tive to the ‘risk’ rather than the re­ward.

The na­tional gun amnesty is a case in point.

Take the NSW Po­lice an­nounce­ment of the amnesty to re­duce un­reg­is­tered and un­wanted firearms.

“Un­reg­is­tered and il­le­gal firearms are a sig­nif­i­cant risk to our com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially when they end up in the hands of crim­i­nals,” Deputy Com­mis­sioner Jeff Loy said.

We all know how un­likely it is that armed crim­i­nals will take ad­van­tage of the amnesty to sur­ren­der their weapons and so do po­lice.

The ma­jor­ity of the NSW Po­lice state­ment in­stead fo­cused on the “ma­jor con­cern” of thefts, par­tic­u­larly in re­gional ar­eas, lead­ing to crim­i­nals get­ting firearms.

This por­trays le­git­i­mate and responsible firearm own­ers as both the vic­tim and vil­lain when the re­al­ity is not as black and white.

The real evil is those who trade in and pos­sess il­le­gal firearms, the rest are the good peo­ple try­ing to obey the law and en­joy a tar­get sport, a hunt or an af­ter­noon help­ing the en­vi­ron­ment through erad­i­cat­ing pests.

AD­VER­TIS­ING Jamie Gil­bert (03) 5820 3184 Mo­bile: 0419 522 844 jamie.gil­bert@fiel­

ED­I­TO­RIAL Dar­ren Lin­ton (03) 5820 3160 Mo­bile: 0437 770 144 editor@fiel­

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