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

Field and Game - - FGA CEO -

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.

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