Re­mem­ber­ing Doug Rogers

Doug Rogers, who died just be­fore Duck Open­ing was a con­ser­va­tion­ists, keen hunter and coach to young clay tar­get shoot­ers. He was a life mem­ber of Shep­par­ton Field & Game and spent a life­time gath­er­ing friends and sto­ries for the camp­fire.

Field and Game - - FGA BRANCH NEWS -

Doug was born on July 15, 1932, the first child of Lorna and David Rogers. He was fol­lowed a few years later by his brother David. The fam­ily lived in Bal­larat, where his fa­ther was a banker with the State Sav­ings Bank of Vic­to­ria and his mum was a home­maker and part-time opera singer. Doug went to school in Bal­larat, and many of the friend­ships that be­gan there con­tin­ued through­out his life­time. From an early age, fish­ing and hunt­ing were a huge part of life. As a teenager he would head off on his bike af­ter school or at the week­end with his fa­ther’s .22 slung over his shoul­der, to meet with mates and go af­ter a rab­bit or per­haps a duck, which of­ten helped sup­ple­ment the din­ner­time fare in the Rogers house­hold. He said in those times, no­body would give the kid with a ri­fle a sec­ond glance, other than to per­haps en­quire where he hoped to bag that day’s game. As a young man Doug moved the fam­ily to Hor­sham and worked for the Wim­mera Mail Times in Na­timuk as an ap­pren­tice printer. It was fit­ting, re­ally, be­cause the printed word was an­other big part of his life. He even had a book­shelf in his en­suite, which he aptly called ‘the li­brary’ — he was never one to waste a mo­ment. His favourite books were set in the high coun­try or out­back Aus­tralia, or some­times Africa or some other ex­otic lo­ca­tion, and would in­vari­ably in­volve hunt­ing of some de­scrip­tion. He also loved Aus­tralian bush po­etry, par­tic­u­larly Banjo Pater­son and CJ Den­nis. It was while liv­ing in Hor­sham that he met Lael Rabl, who was a nurse at the Wim­mera Base Hos­pi­tal in Hor­sham; luck­ily, she didn’t mind the fish­ing, hunt­ing and camp­ing life­style and hap­pily joined in on many a hunt­ing trip. They mar­ried in 1956 and moved to Shep­par­ton where Doug worked at the Shep­par­ton News as a lino­type op­er­a­tor. They trav­elled around Aus­tralia in 1965 in a Ford Fal­con on mostly un­made roads to places where few would dare. Doug also had a par­tic­u­lar love for the rugged Vic­to­rian High Coun­try and spent many a time in pur­suit of deer there (which he was still do­ing into his early 80s), or just en­joy­ing the beauty of the moun­tains. He was an avid con­ser­va­tion­ist and wanted to see the High Coun­try pre­served for years to come. He deeply re­spected na­ture and felt at home there, and was never hap­pier than sit­ting around a camp­fire in some quiet spot with a glass of red in hand. For Doug, the high­light of the year was Duck Open­ing, which was al­ways metic­u­lously planned and a fam­ily af­fair. Doug even­tu­ally moved into ad­ver­tis­ing, and wore, a suit — so when hunt­ing, fish­ing and camp­ing, his garb was about as far re­moved from that as could be. He was also likely to be un­shaven and was never with­out a pocket knife or two and a bat­tered hat.

Ross Mcpher­son con­sid­ered Doug a men­tor and re­calls re­ceiv­ing his first se­ri­ous hunt­ing knife with a note. “It said a chap needs a good gun and a good knife; and a good dog and a good wife,” he said. “Doug never liked to stray from the truth and was al­ways be­mused when blokes ex­ag­ger­ated the num­ber of fish they caught, or the ducks they shot, or how many ducks per box of car­tridges. He was your orig­i­nal eth­i­cal hunter, although he would never use the term: he hated see­ing a deer carcass on the ground, its head taken by spot­lighters, with the rest left to rot. He al­ways ate what he shot, or caught; he never shot more than he ate, and he dis­ap­proved of those who did.”

Doug’s skill with shot­gun and ri­fle in pur­suit of game led even­tu­ally to the com­pet­i­tive shoot­ing cir­cuit, where he made many friends. It was a good way to keep his eye in for duck sea­son, and he was a reg­u­lar fix­ture at down-the-line events with his mate Alan Kriss.

Around1965 Doug of­fered to take a lo­cal cham­pion down to Mel­bourne for the state shot­gun ti­tles; since he was there, he thought he might as well have a go too — he won.

Dad was an in­au­gu­ral mem­ber of the Shep­par­ton Field & Game and the Sport­ing Shoot­ers’ branch.

He was ac­tively in­volved in coach­ing young shoot­ers through the school shoots, and was also a firearms li­cence in­struc­tor, recog­nised for his long ser­vice.

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