Getting around the traps
I seem to be repeating myself, but praise cannot be given often enough. We had really good duck and quail seasons this year, with increased scrutiny from all angles and hunters were well behaved, responsible and able to articulate the reasons they enjoy h
The protesters have failed in their highly emotive campaign and we have seen that they are changing tactics.
They lobbied the government on the grounds that the regulator was unable to properly regulate hunting — using a report prepared by an AA linked organisation that was leaked to them.
The government did not respond to their false claims and we proved that the hunt could be conducted successfully. It was also, contrary to their claims, well regulated.
They then tried to use the emerging issue of PFAS contamination to have the consumption of ducks stopped. Again their claims were ill informed, inaccurate and unfounded.
They attempted to round up shot species and place them at the Premier’s office, not on the steps of the Victorian Parliament, because on those expansive steps it would have lacked any visual impact.
They scoured wetland for three weeks after opening and produced only three protected species and there was no evidence that they had been shot.
We, as hunters are removing the oxygen from their highly emotive, biased and prejudicial arguments.
Maintain your vigilance, keep your focus and do not engage them at their level. Our hunting is protected in legislation, demonstrating that we are responsible and ethical is the best argument we can provide to continue hunting.
There was a disturbing video distributed by Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS) the day after duck season ended in Victoria.
CADS association filing with Consumer Affairs Victoria reveals it has just seven members, how they came to be considered a stakeholder by Government is baffling to us.
It was disturbing because of the manipulation of days of footage, cobbled together to portray an alleged activity in a manner that supported their claims.
More disturbing is the fact that this was swallowed hook line and sinker by the media, and once again, journalists failed to apply their craft and question the veracity of the video or the motivations of those who spoon-fed it to them. It was first reported with CADS emotive but unsubstantiated language that the ducks were “terrorised” intact.
The reporting led to seizure of the boat in question and GMA prominently posting an image on social media without any charges being laid.
I urge the government to give the people involved — who at the time of publishing have not been charged with any offence — a fair go, not undertake trial by social media and to also consider the larger
ramifications of seizing hunters boats based on the sketchy evidence provided by anti-hunting groups who have an obvious agenda and bias.
Many hunters I am speaking to are increasingly incensed at the lack of prosecution of any protesters who are clearly breaking the law — especially the Wildlife Act 1975 Section 58C and 58E by continually hindering hunters.
Many jurisdictions around the world, particularly the US and NZ actively and effectively enforce hindering regulations to stop unwarranted harassment of hunters enjoying their legal and highly regulated past time.
I personally reported incidents to the GMA this year and have had no feedback from them as to whether any action, investigation or prosecution was ever undertaken.
The vilification of hunters and unbalanced enforcement of hunting regulations has to end before this escalates and hunters feel compelled to take the law into their own hands when the government refuses to enforce its own laws.
We have a good story to tell and we want to keep portraying positive hunting and firearms stories.
Several good articles have been published recently including an ABC SA report on hunting and wild food, an article in the Mildura Weekly about Aussie
Hunters Show a Heart, a group of hunters who raised over $16 000 for the Royal Children’s hospital.
The Weekly Times ran a story raising concerns about an upcoming VEAC review of coastal wetlands and reserves seeking assurances from the Environment Minister that hunters would maintain access as we currently do.
Two podcasts featuring US and Australian hunters experiencing our great public land hunting aired in America recently and the international visitors were fascinated by the difference in our duck species and the fact that they don’t migrate, as North American birds do.
Having hunted extensively in the US, it is only a good thing to have the cross pollination of hunting ideas and cultures and expanding the knowledge of our world class hunting in Australia is very positive.
I have been getting out to branches since the last magazine and have enjoyed visits to the Northern Territory, Canberra and Goulburn.
Each branch is to be commended on their efforts and as usual, their success comes down to a core group of volunteers willing to dedicate their time to something greater than themselves.
Each branch faces unique challenges, being weather, regulatory, developing a critical mass to thrive, etc. and we will endeavour to provide help and give guidance where we can. I enjoyed being able to get out and shoot with people I share a common interest with and I didn’t embarrass myself around the courses!
I was pleased to see that our efforts in the NT helped contribute to a regular length goose season with a 66 per cent increase in birds from 3 to 5 per day. While it was not what we recommended, it is a step in the right direction and we will continue to engage with the NT government to help shore up the science and ensure that their approach to setting the season is based on a sustainable harvest model.
We are looking forward to meeting with the GMA and the government in the next couple of months to review the 2018 hunting seasons and to contribute our expertise towards the 2019 season.
We have been working hard in the office preparing for upcoming major events, including the Nationals in Bairnsdale, AGM and 60th Anniversary Dinner. I look forward to meeting you at these events and others soon.