Next challenge, Duck Season
I have had a couple of days to reflect on the Field & Game National Carnival and my experience at Bairnsdale I can say I am very pleased with the resulting Carnival, and especially pleased with the way the shoot ran smoothly.
Congratulations to all the winners and those who shot a personal best or achieved a goal. The highlight for me of the weekend was talking to Nick after he’d shot his first ever simulated field 25.
His emotion and genuine excitement at his achievement was in full display for everybody to see. He was shaking hands, high-fiving, giving hugs and you could not wipe that smile off his face.
It is the type of pure joy and emotion that is infectious, and for anyone who’s ever shot a 25, you know that feeling.
We were honoured to attend a reception by the East Gippsland Shire Council on Friday night and Anthony Panetta gave a particular moving story about his motivation for shooting and the close bond he had had with his late father Nick, and how proud his father was of his successes shooting clay targets. His story is one I could easily relate to.
Local member Tim Bull spoke about the importance of holding an event such as ours in the local, rural community. He pointed out that local farmers and businesses are doing it particularly tough in the Gippsland region and how little things like delaying getting a haircut, using last season’s cricket bat or pads and delaying any major purchases is getting them through an extended drought.
Tim said the positive impact that injecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from FGA members attending the National Carnival into the local rural economy should not be underestimated.
This is an actual positive economic impact that our sport brings to rural communities, not some pie in the sky, far off, fictional economic impact of a non-existent ecotourism boom, dreamed up by some anti-hunting environmentalist in the city.
The success of the shoot was due in no small part to Daryl Snowdon, Mick Crane, the committee of Bairnsdale Field & Game and all the volunteers who worked hard
during the weekend and for many weeks before to set up for the carnival. Thank you all.
The weather on Saturday was challenging for everybody, with the high winds and target setting particularly challenging. It’s interesting to note that John Younger won the 2017 National Carnival with a score of 140 and the shoot off for the overall this year between Nick Guerra and Blake Nankervis had them both at 142 targets.
I got to shoot the weekend with my sister Kate and her partner Rob, Rocky, and Adam and Mark Du Rose. I can’t say we helped Mark win the Junior Championship, but it was certainly a pleasure to watch him shoot as he has such a smooth and easy style. I’m sure his shooting will be a feature of National Carnivals for many years to come.
The amount of work that goes in to setting up a ground for a National Carnival cannot be underestimated and I hope you noticed the large amount of plant and equipment in use over the weekend: a lot of it was donated by Bairnsdale president Mick Crane, who also spent a lot of his own personal time in the making of the new grounds four, five and six in the bush block.
The targets were not easy, but as a national championship I don’t think they all should be easy. I think people should be shooting their grades and each course had what I would consider a championship target on it that was difficult to hit.
Again, I wish to give my congratulations to the winners and all involved for a successful National Carnival and I would particularly like to thank our platinum sponsor Winchester and other major sponsors who generously gave their time, support and prizes. Without the sponsors we would not be able to award the same level and number of prizes we currently do.
We have been discussing with the board and staff what our approach will be with the GMA to the upcoming duck season, and this year we will assemble a team to work to put together a submission. It will be dependent on count numbers and the rainfall between now and March, but not that dependent on Richard Kingsford’s survey as we feel that survey is more of a macro tool that is used to define longterm trends and should not be used to set individual seasons. It was also disturbing to read Richard Kingsford’s blog where he was quite openly anti-hunting, which makes us question the validity of his report and any results it produces. It is impossible for him to be scientifically independent when he is openly espousing unverified, unsubstantiated anti-hunting rhetoric on his blog while undertaking his survey. This suggests the survey is more an instrument of the anti-hunting lobby and should not be used by any government to make any policy or season-setting decisions.
We have had an associate professor who is an ecologist and a FGA member volunteer to work with us on the scientific side of our submission this year. We will also be calling on prominent members and experts from within our membership to help with our submission.