Pres­sure point

In the pur­suit of head­lines anti-hunt­ing ac­tivists are turn­ing to de­pict­ing the dis­patch­ing of wounded birds as cru­elty, which places pres­sure on way hun­ters deal with wounded game.

Field and Game - - DISPATCHING BIRDS -

The Shot­gun­ning Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram is de­signed to make hun­ters more ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive in the field, min­imis­ing wound­ing.

A Code of Prac­tice for the Wel­fare of An­i­mals in Hunt­ing, is­sued in March 2005 un­der Sec­tion 7 of the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals Act 1986 states:

An an­i­mal must only be shot at when: • it can be clearly seen and

recog­nised; • it is within the ef­fec­tive range of the firearm, am­mu­ni­tion, or bow and ar­row and the skills of the hunter; and • a hu­mane kill is likely. The obli­ga­tion is clear: a hunter must shoot to cause a quick and pain­less death but there is also recog­ni­tion that wound­ing may oc­cur.

Ev­ery an­i­mal that isn’t dead on re­trieval must be hu­manely de­stroyed im­me­di­ately.

If an an­i­mal is wounded and es­capes, all rea­son­able at­tempts must be made to lo­cate it so it can be killed quickly and hu­manely be­fore hunt­ing an­other an­i­mal. The pre­ferred method of dis­patch­ing wounded game birds is not specif­i­cally cod­i­fied other than the rec­om­men­da­tion to carry “swat­ter” loads suit­able for dis­patch­ing downed birds on the wa­ter where safe.

Swat­ter loads are shot­shell com­bi­na­tions specif­i­cally used for dis­patch­ing downed birds. These loads pro­duce a rich, dense shot pat­tern. Typ­i­cal shoot­ing range for swat­ter loads is 20–32 me­tres, with the most ef­fec­tive steel shot size #7 to #6 at 1oz/28g.

Swat­ter loads should be used through the tight­est choke avail­able, i.e. top bar­rel if that is the tighter bar­rel.

In Tas­ma­nia, rapid dis­lo­ca­tion of the ver­te­brae of the neck is a rec­om­mended method, achieved by tak­ing the legs of the duck in one hand and the head held be­tween the first two fin­gers of the other hand with the thumb un­der the beak. A sharp jerk with each hand pulling the head back­wards over the neck will break the spinal cord.

Some hun­ters con­tinue to use the method of quickly twirling the wounded bird by the neck.

Apart from the twirl not be­ing ef­fec­tive, to the ca­sual ob­server it can ap­pear ex­ces­sive, es­pe­cially when post death, the bird con­tin­ues to twitch af­ter be­ing hung from the strap.

Slow the footage down, add some dark mu­sic and com­men­tary about in­hu­mane treat­ment of birds and you have a ready-made an­ti­hunt­ing mes­sage.

There are bet­ter ways, ones that sat­isfy the re­quire­ment to hu­manely dis­patch game birds, but can’t be mis­in­ter­preted or mis­rep­re­sented by those who op­pose wa­ter­fowl hunt­ing.

The Fin­isher was the first prod­uct de­vel­oped by US com­pany Adrenal-line as a hu­mane way to dis­patch wounded birds in the field.

The Fin­isher method will kill any bird in­stantly us­ing a small amount of pres­sure where the back of neck and base of the skull meet.

The de­vices are small enough to clip to a belt or hang off a lan­yard and gen­er­ally cost less than $20.

A sim­ple tool like an old ham­mer han­dle will also dis­patch a bird with a swift blow.

Of course, as eth­i­cal hun­ters, the real aim is to achieve a clean kill first time and for that, you need to un­der­stand your ef­fec­tive kill zone and work the birds into the right range.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Shot­gun­ning Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram is a good way to im­prove your hunt­ing skills and your ef­fec­tive­ness in the field.

The Fin­isher

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.