Great Ex­pec­ta­tions

It is Fe­bru­ary and an­other Duck Sea­son is upon us, and from all re­ports it prom­ises to re­ward those hun­ters who put in the ef­fort.

Field and Game - - FROM THE EDITOR -

Re­ward is an in­ter­est­ing no­tion. Is it the full bag of ducks? Is it pulling the trig­ger on a bird that has de­coyed per­fectly into your spread, or is that just a con­se­quence of hunt­ing.

Plenty of hun­ters tell me that for them, the heft of the strap on the walk out of the swamp is not how they judge a good hunt. Some of their most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences ended with one or two birds or no birds at all.

One of the mis­con­cep­tions of hun­ters is that the killing is what counts; the re­al­ity is that it is a mil­lisec­ond in a much longer timeline.

As you will read in this is­sue, most hunts are pre­ceded by re­search, scout­ing, prepa­ra­tion and strat­egy. There is the travel, the camp set up, the food and the mate­ship.

Spend­ing time in the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, dis­con­nect­ing from a highly con­nected world and mar­vel­ling at what you see around you is a re­ward in it­self for most hun­ters.

In De­cem­ber, I saw that sim­ple plea­sure light up the face of my 13-year-old son Daniel.

As a four year old, he would con­stantly ask to go fish­ing, and for­tu­nately the Goul­burn River runs past a few blocks from home. Mum ex­pected he’d get bored in less than an hour but most days we would spend a whole af­ter­noon.

He would cast out and wind in un­til he got bored, then he would study ants or hunt for grubs. A lizard would keep him oc­cu­pied for as long as he could track it through the leaf lit­ter and bark.

So, back to De­cem­ber and the Field & Game Aus­tralia Christ­mas party at Wil­low­mavin. Un­der the in­struc­tion of Glenn Falla (thanks Glenn), Daniel picked up a shot­gun for the first time. Be­fore lunch, he man­aged to hit a few lazy in­com­ers but af­ter lunch, he hit five straight crossers with some sim­ple coach­ing.

He was beam­ing all the way home, and you can guess how the con­ver­sa­tion went: “When can I get a ju­nior per­mit?”

He was even dis­ap­pointed the next day when he didn’t have a bruise to mark the oc­ca­sion.

It just goes to show how easy it is to get kids en­gaged with a sport that is safe, fun, com­pet­i­tive (even against your­self) and chal­leng­ing.

Fi­nally, a note on the NT goose ar­ti­cle from the Novem­ber is­sue. The pub­lished pho­tographs were at­trib­uted to NT Field &

Game; they should have been at­trib­uted to Feath­ers & Fur Mag­a­zine.

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