Next chal­lenge, Duck Sea­son

Field and Game - - NEWS - Richard Light FGA CEO

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.

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