Lead­ing the way

Field & Game Aus­tralia started an an­nual politi­cians’ shoot 15 years ago and it has grown into a cel­e­bra­tion of our cul­ture and val­ues.

Field and Game - - FGA POLLIE SHOOT -

The nat­u­ral am­phithe­atre of FGA’S Wil­low­mavin prop­erty near Kil­more is the per­fect back­drop for a day of keen but friendly clay tar­get com­pe­ti­tion, de­li­cious wild food pre­pared by chef Ric­cardo Momesso and fine wine from Matt Fowles at Fowles Win­ery.

More than 100 politi­cians, ad­vis­ers and guests are min­gling. It could be awk­ward with mem­bers of most par­ties and a mix­ture of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from fed­eral and state as well as FGA, the Aus­tralian Deer As­so­ci­a­tion, in­dus­try fig­ures and plenty of vol­un­teers.

How­ever, un­like ques­tion time, this is not a day for pol­i­tics and point scor­ing.

The politi­cians and their ad­vis­ers are here to ex­pe­ri­ence the thrill of fir­ing a shot­gun and a small clay disc and, hope­fully, the sat­is­fac­tion of suc­cess­fully smash­ing a tar­get.

They also get to ex­pe­ri­ence the safe na­ture of the sport (we’ve never had an in­ci­dent on our shoot­ing grounds) and to un­der­stand the pro­fes­sion­al­ism and pas­sion of our peo­ple.

“It is a great day that Field & Game Aus­tralia puts on for par­lia­men­tar­i­ans ev­ery year; we get out­side and find out what sport­ing shoot­ing is really about. It is great to see so many peo­ple here,” Vic­to­rian Lib­eral MLC Gor­don Rich-phillips said.

Mr Rich-phillips cap­tained the win­ning squad on the day, and brag­ging rights over coali­tion part­ners the Na­tion­als who were again well drilled and rep­re­sented at the shoot.

FGA pro­vides Fed­eral La­bor MP Rob Mitchell with his once-a-year ex­pe­ri­ence of clay tar­get com­pe­ti­tion and this year he achieved a mile­stone, nail­ing his first tar­gets thanks to the vol­un­teer coaches.

“The great thing about to­day is bi­par­ti­san sup­port that is there for hunters and sport­ing shoot­ers, it shows the ben­e­fit of shoot­ing and there are pro­fes­sional, ex­pe­ri­enced peo­ple here to show you how to go about it,” he said. “It is great fun, ev­ery­body has a ball.” Vic­to­rian Shoot­ers Fish­ers and Farm­ers Party MLC Daniel Young is no stranger to firearms and shoot­ing sports and he sees great value in be­ing able pro­vide prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence through the an­nual clay tar­get shoot.

“Ex­po­sure is ab­so­lutely in­valu­able in this game; there are so many peo­ple we deal with who have never done this or of even know some­one who’s done it,” he said.

‘They talk about our is­sues in par­lia­ment but have no ex­pe­ri­ence of what it is like, so here they get to see that we are real peo­ple, good peo­ple.”

At lunch, Ric­cardo Momesso’s goat casserole and camel burg­ers turned the con­ver­sa­tion to sus­tain­able use of wildlife. Both are in­tro­duced species and viewed as pests while oth­ers see value in har­vest­ing from tran­sient range­land pop­u­la­tions rather than shoot­ing to waste sim­ply to re­duce num­bers.

Goat is the most con­sumed meat prod­uct on earth and in Queens­land and New South Wales has seen a shift in re­cent years from feral (op­por­tunis­tic har­vest­ing) to farmed, driven by strong de­mand and prices.

The Ngaany­at­jarra Camel Com­pany formed in 2012 as an al­ter­na­tive to a culling or ‘shoot to waste’ pro­gram.

The Ngaany­at­jarra Coun­cil signed a joint ven­ture with Cen­tral Live­stock Man­age­ment and took on the role of mus­ter­ing feral camels.

Dam­age to in­fra­struc­ture from thirsty camels was an on­go­ing prob­lem in the re­gion and mus­ter­ing for sale made sense.

Aerial culling is costly and pro­duces rot­ting car­casses in the desert but mus­ter­ing and pro­cess­ing pro­vides vi­tal indige­nous em­ploy­ment and the sale of camels for meat, milk, ge­net­ics or for rac­ing cov­ers wages and re­moval costs. Camel num­bers are still re­duced while de­liv­er­ing so­cial and eco­nomic ben­e­fits.

Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Ja­clyn Symes gets her eye in be­fore com­pe­ti­tion Vic­to­rian Lib­eral Gor­don Rich-phillips (left) cap­tained the win­ning squad

Ric­cardo Momesso serves up wild food

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