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

Field and Game - - FGA CHAIRMAN -

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.

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