A shoot to re­mem­ber

Hunt­ing is rarely a soli­tary en­deav­our, it is pri­mar­ily a shared ex­pe­ri­ence be­tween fam­ily and friends. Ves Dubo­canin re­flects on the day he and three mates waded out to hunt, but only three made it back.

Field and Game - - FGA BRANCH NEWS -

The Steve Bet­toni Me­mo­rial Shoot is an an­nual event to re­mem­ber a fallen mate. A quar­tet of duck hunt­ing mates from Vic­to­ria — Ves Dubo­canin, Shane Mcrae, Steve Bet­toni and Chris Maskas — were at Lake Ge­noe in New South Wales for the 1993 open­ing morn­ing. Steve stripped down out of his clothes to re­trieve a duck and, watched on by Shane, he got into dif­fi­culty; de­spite the fran­tic ef­forts of Shane, who could not swim, Steve trag­i­cally drowned. Shane per­formed re­sus­ci­ta­tion as best as he could but his dear mate could not be re­vived.

It was a tragic loss, one we still feel to­day, and so 25 years ago we started the an­nual shoot in hon­our of our friend.

The first shoot was held at the Cran­bourne Field & Game branch and they con­tin­ued there for 13 years be­fore the club was closed on its orig­i­nal site. The loyal friends, en­thu­si­as­tic to pre­serve the shoot in mem­ory of their mate, then shifted it to Phillip Is­land, home of the Western­port Field & Game branch, where it re­mains an im­por­tant and pop­u­lar an­nual fix­ture.

Fit­tingly, the Steve Bet­toni Me­mo­rial Shoot is all about ca­ma­raderie be­tween mates. It op­er­ates as a two-man shoot, graded and hand­i­capped to en­able all-com­ers, re­gard­less of grade, the op­por­tu­nity to win.

All the prizes for the day are re­spect­fully do­nated by my­self, Shane, and Steve’s brother Bruno.

It is, in spite of its ori­gins, a fun day where all get to­gether for a laugh and also

to re­mem­ber the pass­ing of Steve, after whom a per­pet­ual tro­phy for the win­ners has been named.

The for­mat of the shoot re­quires a pair of shoot­ers, lo­cated in two sep­a­rate stands, to di­vide up the tar­gets, de­cid­ing (with more than a lit­tle ban­ter) which of the three or four tar­gets they will take on.

There may also be five tar­gets launched on a spe­cial stand where quick reload­ing is de­manded.

A mys­tery ‘flash’ tar­get might also of­fer a bonus $50 cash prize!

It is a real chal­lenge and some­what of a hoot as com­peti­tors shoot their tar­gets, and oc­ca­sion­ally their com­pan­ion’s tar­gets ac­ci­den­tally, or where two shoot­ers fire at the same tar­get thereby lim­it­ing their fire­power for the other tar­gets fly­ing by.

Watch­ing un­bro­ken tar­gets fly away is very frus­trat­ing for the shoot­ing pair who felt cer­tain they had their tar­gets to fire at prop­erly al­lo­cated.

The shoot at­tracts many peo­ple from around Vic­to­ria be­cause of the for­mat of the event and the spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance of the day. The pairs are of­fered 100 tar­gets and for the spec­ta­tors and other teams, it is a novel and very en­ter­tain­ing spec­ta­cle. Above all, it is mates help­ing and sup­port­ing and jok­ing with each other, a fit­ting and last­ing tribute to Steve, who was, first and fore­most, a great mate.

Over­all win­ners Peter Va­ninetti and Aaron O'mara

Semi-auto and un­der-and-over pairs, are al­lowed but it's 2 shots only Ves, Bruno, Shane and Kaleb proudly dis­play the shield ded­i­cated to their mate, Steve Bet­toni

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