From the Editor
This issue we introduce a new regular page, The Parting Shot, which will be given over to a different Field & Game branch president each issue.
We hope it will help branches to inform the rest of our membership about the issues they face and the solutions they have come up with. It is also a place to note significant events and the first, by Kilmore Field & Game president Rod Pratt, touches on perhaps the most important issue of all: life, and the need to live it to the full.
Shaun Burns, a stalwart of the branch and a past champion, was tragically killed in September while working on a construction site.
Rod reflects on his contribution, his mateship and the impact of his loss.
We also feature the annual Steve Bettoni Memorial shoot at Westernport Field & Game.
Steve lost his life on a duck hunt in New South Wales in 1993 and 25 years later his loss is still keenly felt, especially by his mates, Ves Dubocanin, Shane Mcrae and Chris Maskas, who were in the duck hunting party that day.
The shoot is a pairs competition; two mates compete together sharing the targets, the blame for misses, and plenty of laughs.
It promotes camaraderie, which is defined as the mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together. It is a fitting and lasting tribute to a mate who they all wish was still around to share the fun.
In life, we can easily get caught up in the minutiae, the little problems and annoyances that in the moment seem bigger than they really are.
The message from both of these stories is to look at the bigger picture and appreciate life.
Reflecting on this, I kept thinking about a morning on the closing weekend of the duck season, setting off in the dark to wade to a duck blind on Macleod Morass on the outskirts of Bairnsdale in Victoria.
We started out as a group, chatting and sharing our excitement, but by the time we reached the farthest flung blinds, it was just Simon Webster and I.
We also separated, settling into blinds 60 m apart.
The minutes prior to opening time were precious.
The township, visible only as a series of silhouettes and street lights in the distance was yet to wake but out here, there was activity everywhere with the movements and sounds of waterbirds.
The pre-dawn light softly lit the surrounding hills and the still air was fresh and warmer than we had any right to hope for at that time of year.
I had this overwhelming feeling that all was right with the world; it was just so inspiring to be there.
I broke the silent enjoyment of this natural wonder: pointing to the still sleeping town I yelled to Simon, “They don’t realise what they’re missing out on, do they?”
Simon nodded in agreement. We appreciated the moment.