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Vic Shooter November 2018_Page_01
Victorian Shooter
Hunting and Pest Control
Firearms training

Leading Sports Shooting Body

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 36,000 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

Newbury: no ban on duck season

Recently elected Liberal Party Member for Brighton, James Newbury, assured SSAA Victoria he does not support a ban on duck season. Mr Newbury was in the news recently after he used his maiden speech to the Victorian Parliament in December to attack duck hunting. “For three months each year, duck hunters — who represent half of 1 per cent of Victorians — kill and bag up to 10 ducks per day,” Mr Newbury told the Parliament. “Though hunters are required to carry out ducks killed, hundreds of birds, including endangered species supposedly protected from being shot, are found dead during the season. “Victoria’s natural environment and wildlife are a unique part of this state’s identity and a modern Liberal Party must speak out on behalf of the promotion and preservation of them.” SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager David Laird and Communications Manager Justin Law met with Mr Newbury on January 21 to discuss his speech. At the meeting Mr Newbury assured SSAA Victoria that he was not in favour of a ban on duck hunting. However, he did have concerns, shared by SSAA Victoria, about illegal and unethical behaviour demonstrated by some shooters and the lack of effective enforcement of the current regulations. “The critically low enforcement resources are often tied up with handling protestors out on the water meaning any illegal activity cannot be effectively monitored,” Mr Laird said. “We hope Mr Newbury can use what influence he has to improve Game Management Authority funding to address this issue. “It is also hoped our visit was able to balance some of his perceptions and emotionally based responses to duck hunting.” He was informed of the Association’s involvement with the RESPECT – Hunt Responsibly initiative, the Shotgun Education Program, the Association’s hunting Code of Conduct and the role hunters have long-played in the protection of wetland habitat. “He has also been invited to attend a duck hunt during the season to enable him to see first-hand what responsible hunting is about,” Mr Laird said. The Association will be monitoring Mr Newbury’s future public comments on duck hunting in the hope that he will be more understanding of the activity and the people who participate in it. “Hunters are tired of the endless bigotry levelled at them by people who do not understand the desire to put fresh shot food on their family table,” Mr Law said. “Humans have always hunted and in other cultures hunting is respected and protected. Why should we be treated differently? “Our members and the tens of thousands of other hunters who enjoy this legal and legitimate activity expect the same respect. “All we want is a fair go for responsible people.”  

New CPM manager appointed

SSAA Victoria State Office welcomes a new team member this week with the appointment of a new Conservation and Pest Management program assistant manager. Savvas Savva takes on the role from January 21 to fill a vacancy left by Rhys Coote who is taking his family on the adventure of a lifetime before settling interstate. The CPM assistant manager role involves coordinating the many volunteers who take part in pest and problem animal control programs through the year on Parks Victoria managed land. Savvas has run his own pest management service for the past three years and understands the needs of landowners and other organisations who have issues with pests. “It’s good to be a part of an organisation committed to achieving positive conservation outcomes,” he said. “I look forward to working closely with our many volunteers and bringing them together with the appropriate Parks Victoria programs to use their particular skills. Savvas will also look at expanding the Farmer Assist program. “My experience in working with farmers means I have a good understanding of their needs and expectations. “So one of my key tasks will be to further develop our relationships with farmers in rural Victoria to provide pest control opportunities for our members.” Savvas will be working through the many volunteers on the SSAA Victoria CPM database to match them with real opportunities to shoot. He is reporting to Hunting Development Manager David Laird who said he was looking forward to continuing to find ways to provide hunting opportunities for SSAA Victoria members. “It’s important that we provide members who have proven themselves to be competent shooters the opportunity to be involved in control programs,” he said. “We expect there to be more opportunities, but to ensure those opportunities we need to maintain the skill levels of our volunteers and ensure all targeted animals are dispatched humanely. “Our CPM Accreditation Course is designed to ensure we set and maintain a high standard of volunteers.” The next CPM Accreditation Course is due in April this year.

Duck season restrictions anger hunters

SSAA Victoria duck hunters are angry at the restricted duck season that has been announced for 2019. The declaration of a nine-week season with a bag limit of four birds on the first day and five per day for the remainder of the season has been criticised by the Association. Hunting Development Manager, David Laird, said that SSAA Victoria and FGA had done a good job making submissions to the GMA during the consideration period for the season. “Both Associations' submissions were reasoned and clearly demonstrated why a normal season should have been put in place,” he said. “Those submissions were clearly ignored. It is difficult to understand how the decision to make the announced changes has been reached.” SSAA Victoria called for a change to the current arrangements in determining the duck season and to make the process much more transparent. “It is difficult for hunters to accept the decisions being made where there is no clear scientific basis to them,” Mr Laird said. “The GMA will not even disclose what its recommendations to the Minister are and on what basis they have been made. “The Association expects decisions on game management to be based on facts and science, not as it appears, on opinion, prejudice or political expediency. We will continue to work towards that goal.” Mr Laird said a significant duck population is present in Victoria and could sustain a regular season with no threat to the sustainability of the population. “Official summer waterbird counts, if conducted appropriately over the entire state, would support the private counts that have shown this,” he said. “The Kingsford aerial count should not be relied upon when determining duck seasons in Victoria. “It covers only two transects and does not take into any account dispersed populations on rivers, streams, dams or even many of the significant wetlands in the state. “The more significant and relevant Kingsford research has shown that hunting does not have a significant effect on duck populations.” Extreme weather events in the last month have seen heavy and widespread rainfall across much of Eastern Australia, resulting in ideal duck habitat. Meanwhile, hunters should receive a significant refund on their game licences given the reduced hunting opportunities they will have in the upcoming season. “It is also unfortunate that the significant economic boost that duck hunters provide to regional economies every year will be reduced,” Mr Laird said. “A shorter season and reduced bag limits does not affect the sustainability of duck populations but it does reduce hunter participation and causes a reduction in spending.”  

The GMA media release

A dry season has been identified as the reason for significant restrictions on the 2019 duck hunting season, which was announced today. The Game Management Authority (GMA)  outlined the arrangements for the season including changes to the season length and the daily bag limit. Prevailing and persistent dry conditions across eastern Australia has reduced duck numbers, breeding and wetland habitat in Victoria. As a result, the GMA advised the Victorian Government that a modified season was necessary to reduce the seasonal harvest, to ensure duck hunting is conducted responsibly and duck numbers remain sustainable. The 2019 duck hunting season will be modified from 12 to nine weeks commencing on Saturday 16 March 2019 and closing on Sunday 19 May 2019. Hunters will be restricted to four game ducks per day on the opening weekend, with a five game duck per day bag limit for the remainder of the nine week season. The hunting of Blue-winged Shoveler will again be prohibited throughout the entire season. As per last year, hunting on the opening weekend of the 2019 season will commence at 9am on Saturday and 8am on Sunday across the whole of Victoria as part of a two-year trial of opening the season during daylight hours. For the rest of the season, hunting times will revert to the standard period of half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset. The settings for the 2019 duck season are based on analysis of habitat and waterbird surveys conducted across eastern Australia and other data relating to game duck abundance, habitat distribution and climate. Hunters are reminded of the laws introduced last year requiring them to immediately retrieve all game ducks that they shoot and to at least salvage the breast meat from a duck to ensure that harvested game is not wasted. These laws formalised what is already standard practice for responsible hunters. The GMA and partner agencies, including Victoria Police, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and Parks Victoria, will be out again in force in 2019 to ensure compliance with both hunting and public safety laws. As in previous years, the GMA will continue to monitor conditions in the lead up to and during the season. Where warranted, wetlands may be closed to hunting to protect significant concentrations of waterbirds. Details of the 2019 duck season, including fact sheets and information about any wetland closures throughout the season, will be available on the GMA website in due course.
2019 Victoria Duck Hunting Season Arrangements
Season Length Season opens - Saturday 16 March 2019   Season closes - Sunday 19 May 2019  
Start times on opening weekend   9.00 am on Saturday and 8.00 am on Sunday. Hunting must cease half an hour after sunset over the opening weekend.
Start times for the rest of the season   Half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
Bag limit on opening weekend   Four game ducks per day on the opening weekend.
Bag limit for the rest of the season   Five game ducks per day.
Game Duck Species permitted to be taken Seven of the eight species of game duck can be hunted during 2019. They are, Pacific Black Duck, Mountain Duck, Chestnut Teal, Grey Teal, Pink-eared Duck, Wood Duck and Hardhead.  
Game duck species prohibited to be taken in 2019   Blue-winged Shoveler.
Hunters MUST Immediately retrieve all game ducks that they shoot and salvage at least the breast meat of the ducks they harvest.  

How to appoint temporary power of attorney

Taking control when you temporarily cannot care for yourself

Advice from SSAA Victoria's legal counsel Peter Cooper I wish you a happy and prosperous 2019, but I temper that with the knowledge that it will not be the case for all of us. Following on from my 2018 article about wills, most of us do not die suddenly, passing from a state of good health into death in a short space of time. In the world of modern medicine, there may be a period before we die when, while our bodies tick on, we cannot care for ourselves and we cannot make decisions. The turning point from competence, where you can make your own decisions, to incompetence, where you can’t, is impossible to define or pick. It is a cruel thing to watch in those we love. It is distressing to see loved ones who are no longer competent making bad or dangerous decisions such as continuing to drive, or shoot, or reload ammunition convinced that they are still competent and capable. The period of incompetency may be temporary. It may be a period of unconsciousness, illness or psychosis where we cannot make decisions and then recover to find a whole lot of unpleasant things have happened in our name. During such times you need to appoint an attorney to act on your behalf and select that person as carefully as you selected the executor of your will. In the State of Victoria the attorney you appoint would generally hold a document called an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA). Especially if you own firearms. They are powerful documents. A person holding your EPOA can take money from your bank accounts, enter into or conclude contracts in your name, buy things in your name or sell things that you own. Many people do not like that idea and neither do I. All I can say is that the alternative of not having one can be very hard on your family if you are hit by a bus tomorrow or have a stroke and nobody is there to step into the gap on your behalf. So, first things first. Pick your attorney. The first principle is to have someone you trust and someone who has a firearms licence. Typically, spouses will hold EPOA on behalf of the other, but of course spouses can be disabled or killed in the same accident. Also, when we are older our spouse may be becoming demented or failing, as are we. Sometimes a child is appropriate, but I’m aware of more than one case where a child was very unhappy about his parents having firearms and took the first opportunity he had under an EPOA to sell the firearms through a dealer. Do think this through. It may be that a nephew or niece may be a better attorney than a child. As with the will, if you do not have an attorney who understands you and firearms, it is quite probable that you will never realise the true value of firearms if they need to be sold. It is possible that a particularly beloved firearm or family heirloom will disappear into the hands of a wrong family member just because he or she has a firearms licence. I’ve lost count of the enquiries I’ve had about trying to get a family heirloom back. If it is a valuable firearm, it may be acquired by a dealer for well below its true value. I’ve lost count of enquiries along those lines as well. It may also be possible when your illness or incapacity is temporary, that you will recover but find yourself no longer able to go out for a shot. So, as for wills, here are some thoughts about appointing an attorney or EPOA:
  1. Use a solicitor. The state government website has downloadable forms, but they are one-size-fits-all and do not suit firearms owners without some tailoring.
  2. If you have a website EPOA remember, if and when you lose competence, they cannot be set aside without a trip to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
  3. If your solicitor has no affinity or expertise with firearms, refer him or her to this article (or contact SSAA Victoria).
  4. Do not pay too much for EPOA preparation. Ask your solicitor about how to keep them simple. Do them at the same time as you do your will.
  5. Do not develop a hole-in-one mentality about your EPOA. Our circumstances change. Our health changes. The health of our attorney also changes. Keep EPOA simple and change them as necessary.
  6. If you already have an EPOA which is unsatisfactory, change it and revoke the previous one.
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