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 & 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 email@example.com
EDITORIAL Darren Linton (03) 5820 3160 Mobile: 0437 770 144 firstname.lastname@example.org