From the Ed­i­tor

Field and Game - - 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.

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