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Springvale Range
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Eagle Park Range
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Hunting and Pest Control
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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

Open season on State Game Reserve pests

The Game Management Authority has announced common sense changes to the Wildlife (State Game Reserves) Regulations 2014 which now allow the hunting of certain pest animals on State Game Reserves during the open season for duck hunting. The  changes, brought in earlier this month, mean recreational hunters can hunt foxes, hares and rabbits on State Game Reserves while hunting for game duck. However, these animals may only be dispatched with non-toxic shotgun ammunition, which is the same loads hunters would be carrying while hunting duck. SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager David Laird said the changes provided members with more hunting opportunities. "The Association welcomes every opportunity that allows hunters to more effectively control pest species," he said. "Hunters should read the information carefully to ensure they understand the restrictions that exist. Ignorance is not an excuse. "If members have queries about particular reserves contact GMA for the appropriate advice." The changes deliver an initiative of the Sustainable Hunting Action Plan 2016-2020 under which the Government committed to improving hunting opportunities in Victoria and specifically, expanding pest hunting by exploring further hunting opportunities for game licence holders on State Game Reserves. The regulations prescribe various conditions that hunters need to be aware of before hunting pest animals on State Game Reserves. These conditions are summarised below -
Who can hunt pest animals on State Game Reserves? You are allowed to hunt pest animals on State Game Reserves if you are: ·         A holder of a game licence endorsed for duck hunting ·         A member of a traditional owner group with an authorisation order made under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 who under that order is authorised to hunt duck
When can you hunt pest animals on State Game Reserves? You can hunt pest animals on State Game Reserves during the open season for duck hunting, from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset. This means that you can hunt pest animals for the remainder of the 2018 duck hunting season which ends on 11 June 2018 and for the duration of future seasons.
Where can you hunt pest animals on State Game Reserves? You can hunt pest animals on State Game Reserves wherever duck hunting is permitted. This means that you can not hunt pest animals in an area of a reserve where hunting has been prohibited or in a reserve that has been closed for duck hunting as part of seasonal arrangements.
What pest animals can you hunt? Only certain pest animals may be hunted on State Game Reserves: ·         European hares (Oryctolagus cuniculus), ·         European rabbits (Lepus europaeus) and ·         Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes).
What hunting methods can you use for pest animals on State Game Reserves? The prescribed hunting method is limited to the use of the same shotguns and non-toxic shot permitted for game duck hunting at State Game Reserves. Gundogs may be used to retrieve pest animals that have been shot.
What are the main changes being made to the Wildlife (State Game Reserves) Regulations? Previously, pest animals could not be hunted on State Game Reserves unless specifically authorised by Parks Victoria in undertaking pest animal control programs. The new regulations expand recreational hunting opportunities in Victoria by allowing appropriately licensed game hunters to hunt pest animals in State Game Reserves in addition to game ducks. The regulations have been changed to enable recreational hunters who are authorised to hunt ducks to use a shotgun, with non-toxic shot, to hunt foxes, rabbits and hares in State Game Reserves during daylight hours of the open season for duck hunting. Why are hunters only allowed to hunt pest animals during the duck hunting season? The prescribed duck hunting season occurs largely outside the breeding periods of waterfowl. Restricting pest animal hunting to the duck hunting season will ensure that there is no disturbance to breeding waterfowl during the vulnerable breeding periods. Why are you restricting pest animal hunting to where duck hunting is permitted? The amendment regulations do not make any changes to where people can and cannot hunt. Generally, all State Game Reserves are available for duck hunting during the duck hunting season, however wetlands may be closed for duck hunting on a seasonal basis for various reasons including the concentration of threatened waterbirds, the presence of any rare, vulnerable specifies that may be disturbed by duck hunting or due to public safety concerns To ensure that environmental outcomes are not compromised hunters will be permitted to hunt pest animals in the same areas where duck hunting is permitted.  Hunters are reminded to check seasonal arrangements on the GMA website. Why can hunters only hunt foxes, hares and rabbits? The intention of the regulations is to permit hunters to hunt specified pest animals on State Game Reserves that they come across when legitimately hunting game ducks. Limiting hunting to these smaller pest animals that are commonly found in State Game Reserves will improve hunting opportunities while ensuring that it remains an incidental activity to duck hunting. It also ensures that hunting activity on State Game Reserves is at manageable levels and is undertaken in a responsible manner. Why are hunters required to use shotguns with non-toxic shot to hunt pest animals? The Wildlife (Game) Regulations 2012 restrict the use of firearms for duck hunting to shotguns and the use of non-toxic shot. Applying this restriction equally to pest animal hunting ensures that this remains an incidental activity to duck hunting and ensures that lead-shot contamination will not occur on State Game Reserve habitat.

Firearms safety course goes live

Newcomers to firearms now have the opportunity to learn fundamental skills and safety practices thanks to a new practical course developed by SSAA Victoria. The Basic Firearms Safety Course is a comprehensive one-day program designed to instil best practice and basic knowledge into new or intermediate firearms users. To be held at the SSAA Victoria gun range at Springvale on June 2, the course includes practical firearms use including handling and shooting. “This course is designed for people wanting to get their firearms licence or those who already have one but want to improve their skills,” SSAA Victoria Assistant Manager Training and Education, Fady Khalife said. “Participants do not require a licence because it will be supervised by experienced range officers and instructors who will teach the fundamentals of safety and marksmanship. “For those who have recently obtained a licence, this is an extension of the compulsory police course and includes actual firearms use.” Topics covered in the BFSC include:
  • Risk control and basic firearms safety practices.
  • Safe storage, transportation and handling.
  • Types of firearms, major parts and actions.
  • Ammunition anatomy/cartridge construction.
  • Firing techniques and procedures.
  • Firearms maintenance.
  • Sighting-in procedures.
  • Range shooting practice.
The fee for the course is $120 which will cover ammunition and targets and class has been kept small so more time is given for individual needs. To book, fill out this application form and email it training@ssaavic.com.au or contact the state office on (03) 8892 2777.

Get feral cats back in our sights

SSAA Victoria members are being called on to add their voice to a decision on feral cat control and the Authority to Control Wildlife. DELWP has published two surveys inviting public comment on the issues and we have until May 20 to add some common-sense balance to the feral cat issue and June 29 on ATCW. Hunting Development Manager for SSAA Victoria, David Laird, has responded on both issues on behalf of the State Office, but is calling on members to respond to the surveys as individuals. “The first survey is to gauge public reaction to the declaration of feral cats as an established pest animal on public land,” he said. “The Association fully supports the declaration as it understands only too well the damage that feral cats can do to native wildlife populations. “The indications to the Association during the lead-up to the declaration were that feral cats would be able to be hunted by recreational hunters on public land under the same conditions as other feral species. “There has been a significant back-flip on this position in the announced declaration, with only DELWP and PV staff authorised to control them. “Recreational hunters will not allowed to shoot feral cats on public land under the declaration. “In a totally misguided and illogical decision the Government is failing to utilise the enormous (and free) resource that is available to it in recreational hunters. “In what appears to be the result of a cave in to pressure from inner-city cat lovers, this government is squandering the opportunity to save millions of native animals from the ravages of feral cats.” He said the Association recognises the necessity for the strategic management of cats, but the opportunistic harvesting of feral cats by hunters could directly save countless native animals. “SSAA Victoria is calling on Government to extend the declaration so that recreational hunters can contribute to the positive environmental outcomes that occur through the control of feral cats,” Mr Laird said. You can find the survey here. The second survey is in relation to the Authority To Control Wildlife (ATCW) system. Mr Laird said the “community interest” referred to in the overview of this review seems to be input from animal rights groups seeking to make ATCWs more difficult to get. “Farmers and land managers face enough challenges dealing with pest and problem animals on their land without facing additional red-tape and bureaucracy,” he said. “Many SSAA Victoria members act as agents for landowners and control animals on their behalf.” He said the Association supports the ATCW system but would like to see it more streamlined. “Permits should be able to be issued in advance of damage actually occurring in situations where that damage is known to be likely,” Mr Laird said. “Orchards and grape growers face annual challenges with bird damage to fruit and farmers sowing crops or new pasture regularly suffer infestations of kangaroos. “In these cases, it should not be necessary to wait until damage is occurring, then wait for the four to six weeks it takes to issue a permit, before control can commence.” Find the ATCW survey here. Members are encouraged to respond to both surveys to provide some common-sense balance to the animal rights brigade who tend to dominate the responses on these types of surveys. Consultation will close at midnight on Sunday 20 May 2018 for the feral cat declaration and on 29 June 2018 for the ATCWs.

Shotgunning Education Program workshop coming up

Duck hunters using steel shot have the chance to learn how to become better game bird hunters with the continuation of the Shotgunning Education Program practical workshops. The next workshop will be held on May 19-20 weekend at the Eagle Park’s Sporting Clays range, Little River, with an introductory course on the Saturday and an advanced course on the Sunday. Developed by SSAA Victoria, Field and Game Australia and the Victorian Government (Game Management Authority), the program is conducted by expert shooters. They provide practical and theoretical training to build hunter understanding of equipment, shooting skill level and hunting methods. “It’s all about improving hunting outcomes, so even people with plenty of experience will get something out of it,” said SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager, David Laird. The outcomes are to reduce wounding losses in game bird hunting by explaining the importance of pattern testing, chokes and loads. The GMA said poor shooting skill, the use of inappropriate load and choke combinations for non-toxic shot and poor distance estimation are the three contributing factors that increase the wounding rate of hunted birds. The workshop addresses these aspects of wounding by providing information and instruction to trainees on: the use of appropriate choke and load for different hunting scenarios, best practice for pattern testing choke and load combinations to determine lethal shooting distance and pattern density, testing equipment limitations and personal shooting skills limitations; and providing scenarios for distance estimation. Cost is $150 for adults and $100 for juniors, which pays for up to 150 rounds of ammo, targets, a Tom Roster DVD and the improvement in hunting skills. Bookings are now open for the May 19-20 workshops via Evenbrite. For a spot in the INTRODUCTORY course, held Saturday May 19, click here. For the ADVANCED course, on Sunday May 20, click here. For more course information including booklet, visit www.gma.vic.gov.au/education/shotgunning-education
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