Still a big year ahead
We are over halfway through the year already; a lot has happened and as far as Field & Game Australia (FGA) is concerned, there is a lot more to come. Duck and Quail Season has been and gone and, although I was overseas for the closing (bad timing, but so
Hunters showed themselves to be responsible and respectful, and it is interesting to note that the anti-hunting movement has changed its tactics from trying to swing the public approval for hunting to pursuing video evidence of hunters not complying with the regulations.
FGA put a great deal of effort into getting the “hunting with respect” message out to all hunters, and we believe this effort was rewarded by the strong compliance by hunters to some tough new regulations.
We have revised our rules for Australian Simulated Field clay target competitions (version 2.3 effective July, 1, 2018) and these are available from: your branch as a printed booklet; on our website; and the FGA app. There have been many adjustments, improvements, and clarifications.
A major change has been the removal of the requirement for adult males to shoot from a ready position of “gun down”. From now onwards, you do not need to have a line on your jacket and are able to shoot with the gun already mounted when you call for the target.
The reasoning behind this was simple. It is very difficult to ensure that a competitor is holding the gun below the line on his jacket if you are safely behind him; there were always allegations that someone was “creeping”.
Furthermore, the rule did not apply to ladies or juniors. The logic was that ladies could be at a disadvantage when having to do a quick gun mount, and juniors were felt to have enough to worry about in learning to shoot without mounting the gun.
Will it make a difference? Well, now everyone is on the same footing and the chance for some to take an unfair advantage is removed.
Personally, I will continue to shoot “gun down”, as my main reason for shooting Simulated Field (other than having a fun shoot most weekends) is to keep me practised for game shooting, and a smooth, fast mount is essential for game.
Even on double targets, I find I do better if I dismount and remount between the first and second target. It’s all about timing and flow. Indeed, when I had a lesson with John Bidwell (former world champion) he taught me to do this.
On the few targets where you are better off having the gun mounted, I will take advantage of the new rule and start mounted. In fact, these targets are often not what I would regard as simulating a game shot, so I am happy not to use them to practise my game mount.
Now we are in the second half of the year it is time to book your place in the 2018 FGA National Carnival, which will be held in November at Bairnsdale.
We will be building on the success of the changes last year and, will again have the ability to increase the number of competitors and still manage our time effectively. The facilities at Bairnsdale have recently been greatly improved, thanks to the Shooting Sports Facilities Grants from
the Victorian Government and the branch is also extending the shooting ground to handle additional layouts. It promises to be another great carnival.
We also have a celebration in October, FGA’S 60th Birthday! This will be an evening of fun and memories, and we would like to see as many members attend as possible. Plus, thanks to some detective work by Gary Howard in the Sale library, we now have archival proof of the date of the first FGA meeting from which FGA was founded, it was at Sale on June 26, 1958.
Finally, we are again seeing legislation being introduced into the Victorian Parliament which gives us cause for concern. This is the Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill 2018.
Key attributes of the Bill included:
• public funding of political parties and
political campaigns; • providing administrative payments per elected member and per vote public funding ($6 for each first preference Legislative Assembly vote and $3 for Legislative Council vote); and • donations to political parties from organisations such as FGA would be limited to $1000 (this limit would not apply to unions). The legislation, as originally presented, would have made it virtually impossible for voluntary organisations such as FGA (which derives income from membership fees) to engage in effective political activity.
Thankfully, there will be changes to the legislation to address some of those issues, however we still have significant concerns, not least of which is the public election funding that will flow to the Greens. Increased public campaign funding of incumbents will also make it harder for new entrants to be successful.
The government and not the minor parties, which did not demonstrate any interest in the problems that this legislation would have created for organisations like ours, initiated welcome amendments.
While the legislation will not pass until after this magazine is published, that is a formality with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFF), Greens, and Northern Melbourne Upper House member Fiona Patten set to help Labor get the legislation over the line.
SFF is an important voice for firearm owners and hunting in Victoria, but on this particular issue we have to agree to disagree.
There have been a lot of amendments to the legislation and we will update members when the legislative process concludes.