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The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria) was incorporated as a public company on October 1, 1973. We exist to promote the shooting sports and protect firearm owners' interests.

With more than 40,000 members, SSAA Victoria is a leading body representing licensed firearm owners in Victoria. SSAA Victoria has more than a dozen branches and more than 30 sub-clubs and disciplines within the organisation.

SSAA Victoria News

New Animal Protection Law for Victoria – Joint approach for Australia’s peak hunting organisations

Agriculture Victoria recently released a directions paper for a new Animal Welfare Act for Victoria to replace the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which was written in 1986. This is the first formal consultation step in what will be a long process of development. The replacement of the existing legislation provides a platform for a radical change to the way in which we live with animals. The current law is based around animal welfare. The proposed law will be based on the idea of animal rights. Animal rights activists say that animal welfare and animal rights are the same thing. They are not. There is a gulf a mile wide between the two. The progress of the animal rights’ movement has not occurred overnight. It is a good example of the observation made by a famous economist, John Maynard Keynes, in the 1930s “I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas” The foundation of animal rights is the proposition that human beings are not unique, that we are just another animal. To believe that humans are unique is 'speciesism' or 'discrimination' against species which do not belong to our species. It’s a contention that animals are able to perceive or feel things and, therefore, that they have rights. Ultimately the same rights as humans. The publicly acceptable version of these ‘rights’ have been summarised as the five freedoms:
  • Freedom from hunger and thirst.
  • Freedom from discomfort.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
  • Freedom to express normal behaviours.
  • Freedom from fear and distress.
According to the RSPCA, the Five Freedoms was the first widely accepted evidence-based framework to capture the key aspects of animal welfare in one model. These have expanded over the years and the next step is self-determination. Hunting organisations have been seeking to draw attention to the implications of this radical ideology for more than ten years. It is a David and Goliath battle. To give you an idea - the income of just one animal activist organization Animals Australia in 2019-2020 was $20 million. Protecting the interests of hunting requires a united, disciplined, strategic and hard-headed approach to this challenge. Australia’s major hunting organisations are taking a combined, cohesive approach to address challenges as Victoria moves towards new animal protection legislation and to shape the framework to ensure that hunting continues to grow and to play its important role in the community - socially, environmentally and economically. The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria), Australian Deer Association, Field and Game Australia and Victorian Hound Hunters have agreed on core principles and on a shared facilitator to prepare a detailed submission to the directions paper and an engagement effort beyond that. Animal Welfare is core business for hunters – we share deep and unique responsibility for the welfare of both the animals we hunt and of our companion animals. We are actively engaging with other groups with shared or overlapping interests on this issue. There are a number of areas of potential concern in the directions paper – some are longer term strategic concerns and some are immediate tactical concerns, because those driving this legislation have as their objective a platform on which to prosecute an animal rights’ agenda in the years to come. Whilst this work is going on, all hunters are encouraged to also engage in this process either by completing the survey or making your own written submission on the Engage Victoria website https://engage.vic.gov.au/new-animal-welfare-act-victoria If you take the survey, we have identified the following positions on particular questions as best for hunters: PROPOSAL 1.1 None of the options Why? Because there is no practical value in including sentience in legislation at all. The meaning is clearly defined and it its inclusion would be for ideological purposes. PROPOSAL 1.2 Don’t support Why? In order for this to be workable the requirements would need to be extremely detailed and lengthy in order to cover all scenarios - otherwise they would be too open to interpretation and abuse. PROPOSAL 2.1 Option 1 Why? This is the safest option to ensure that the complexity of how hunting sits in animal welfare is well considered and catered for. PROPOSAL 2.3 Option 2 Why? Because National Standards can be made without due consideration for unique circumstances in Victoria. The State should always leave itself the option to be more flexible. As this matter progresses and develops, we will provide you with more information and more opportunities and advice for engagement.  

Sambar Deer Research

The Association considers that long-term decisions around the management of deer in Victoria need to be based on accurate data and sound scientific knowledge. To practically support that position, SSAA Victoria has invested in two scientific studies of sambar deer in the past few years. Sambar Collaring Project - A Challenging Study A collaborative sambar deer collaring and tracking pilot project was originally initiated in 2017 by Parks Victoria, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, ACT Parks and Conservation Service, the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (National) and SSAA Victoria. The project was designed to ascertain the feasibility of collaring sambar deer and to then gather data on the movement patterns and habitat utilisation of those deer. The project concluded in 2019 and after some delays, the final report has now been released. The pilot project aimed to learn more about sambar movement patterns in the alpine and subalpine areas. The results gained would be used to create a scientifically based understanding of sambar deer habitat utilisation in those areas. That knowledge would potentially lead to better management decisions, increased recreational hunter success and improve the effectiveness of future control programs where they were deemed necessary. At the time, the SSAA Victoria President, Denis Moroney said “We are well aware that some of the project’s objectives do not necessarily align exactly with SSAA’s views on deer. However, hunters have long called for accurate data on Sambar deer. Funding the research provides us input into its planning and operation, as well as access to the data.” The research aimed to answer the following:
  1. How does deer behaviour/movement vary daily and seasonally against weather variables?
  2. What is the extent of the home range of a Sambar deer?
  3. What habitats do deer prefer and how do they use these habitats?
  4. Where do Sambar from high elevation go in winter? Do they move down the elevation gradient and, if so, how far? Is control of alpine sambar better achieved away from peatlands during the winter months?
To achieve that goal the objective was to catch and fit satellite tracking collars to sambar deer. This was a challenging initiative given that sambar have not been captured and collared in the wild in Australia. The strategy implemented used various methods suited to prevailing environments and conditions including the use of overhead nets and darting. Despite many attempts, those involved were unable to successfully capture and collar any sambar and the project has now finished. Field science is unpredictable and as any experienced hunter will tell you, sambar are very wary, elusive and highly tuned to the environment. Despite the setback, valuable insights have been gained from the project that will help future research efforts. SSAA Victoria is pleased to have been involved with this project and welcomes the cooperation shown by the government agencies it partnered. Sambar Deer Reproductive rates SSAA Victoria also invested in research carried out by academics through the University of Queensland. While anecdotal information regarding sambar breeding and calving patterns is common among deer hunters, scientifically established biological information about wild sambar in Victoria has been lacking.  The study aimed to determine two aspects of deer biology which are well known for temperate deer species (red and fallow), but less well known (and unpublished) for Sambar. These were the verification of a system for aging animals by eruption and wear of molar teeth and a study of the peak period of conception (which in some deer species does not coincide exactly with the rut), and the peak period of calf births. The report, titled Reproductive seasonality and rate of increase of wild sambar deer (Rusa unicolor) in a new environment, Victoria, Australia, has now been released. A further paper detailing the ageing of Sambar through tooth eruption and wear will be released soon. Along with a financial contribution, SSAA Victoria members, including members of the Deerstalkers Club, were invited to participate in the research project by collecting jawbones from any animals they took and filling in a detailed data form. CPM volunteers also provided data and jawbones for the research. The Association believes that decisions regarding hunting and the management of game species should be based on the latest scientific knowledge and data. It will continue to look for future opportunities to contribute to suitable deer-related scientific research. To access a copy of the collaring report, click here. To access a precis of the biology paper, click on this link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378432020305029?dgcid=author

Springvale, Eagle Park, Regional Ranges Announcement

Update 9 November The Victorian Government has released the updated restrictions for both Melbourne and regional Victoria. It is pleasing to see that the border between the two regions has been removed and members can now freely move around the state without limitation. As such, both metro and regional ranges will now be operating under the same COVID-19 restrictions. That said, there have not been any major changes from the previous directions. Groups of 10 separated by a “reasonable distance” remains. However, clubhouses can be used applying the following: Maximum number of people in a clubhouse must be the lesser of:
  • 10 people or;
  • One person per 4 square metres within the total accessible space (ie. clubhouse must be at least 40 square metres in area to hold the maximum 10 people. 20 square metres allows for 5 people inside).
In summary, the following restrictions apply to all ranges:
  • Maximum group size of 10 people on a range or within a clubhouse. RO on the range is not included.
  • Each group must be separated by a “reasonable distance” or on separate ranges. (Reasonable distance has not been defined in the Directions. It is therefore recommended that each group is separated by at least 3m – twice social distance, just to be safe).
  • Groups must not mix.
  • Record keeping of all attendance including name, contact number and time arrived at the range is required.
  • Social distancing within groups of 1.5m to be maintained at all times.
  • Face mask must be worn at all times. They can be remove while actually shooting if wearing a mask poses a safety risk (ie. fogging of glasses).
  • Direct supervision of unlicensed shooters is permitted for family members only.
  • Spectators attending a range will need to be included in the group numbers.
Eagle Park: Eagle Park will return to opening on Mondays and Fridays as of 13 November following the above restrictions. Springvale: There will be no change to the operations of Springvale. It will continue to be open to members only due to the limited numbers that the range can host. Main range bookings are essential. Call: 03 9547 0007 to book a spot. Details on the session times can be found on the website _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 27 October The Victorian Government has released details of the new restrictions for both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. We are pleased to see that there have been some positive changes that will help ranges to start to return to a form of normal operations. Springvale Range Springvale range will reopen its public and sub-club ranges on Friday, 30 October to SSAA Victoria members only. The normal operating hours will apply. Due to current restrictions, there will be limitations on the number of people that can attend the range at any one time. To manage this, sub-clubs will be arranging session times for their members to book. Please contact your club directly for information about their arrangements. For the public range, this will also require members to book into predetermined sessions. At this stage, the public range will only be open to SSAA Victoria members only. You must call the range during opening hours to pre-book a place. Payment is required when you book. Members can only book 1 position a day and up to a week in advance. Importantly, only members that live within 25 kilometres of the range can attend. Call: 03 9547 0007 to book a spot. Details on the session times can be found on the website Eagle Park: Eagle Park is still restricted to patrons from regional Victoria until the Victorian Government removes the border between metro and regional areas. Patrons are no longer required to book for the main range. However, due to low attendance numbers the range will still only be open on Saturday and Sunday until travel restrictions are lifted. Regional Ranges: All regional ranges are still restricted to a maximum group size of 10 people but the 100m separation ruling has been removed. The new directions allow for multiple groups of 10 that are “reasonably distanced” apart. Please contact your regional range to confirm operating hours.  

Victorian Shooter Edition 2 Out Now

SSAA Victoria has released the second edition of Victorian Shooter. You can read the magazine by clicking on this link.  
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