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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

Big crowd expected at SSAA SHOT Expo this weekend

Healthy pre-event ticket sales are indicating there will be a big crowd at the SSAA SHOT Expo at the Melbourne Showgrounds this weekend. Compared with the previous Melbourne SHOT Expo, ticket sales are well up as the shooting public embraces the new Spring date and promise of another successful show. “It’s been a fantastic response and has turned the earlier disruption to the event into a huge positive,” said SSAA Victoria CEO Jack Wegman, referring to the new date and organisation of the event changing hands. “At the end of the day people want a good, professional event and we’re confident that’s what will be delivered at the Melbourne Showgrounds. “The new date puts us in a time of the year when people are getting out and about and many exhibitors will have, in the metal, products first seen in the US earlier this year which have just arrived. “Our new organiser, Level Up Events, has taken promotion and professionalism of the event to the next level so we couldn’t be happier. “Now all we need is great weather to make it the best SHOT Expo hosted in Victoria.” With the backing of major sponsors Winchester, Swarovski Optic, Polaris and Outdoor Sporting Agencies, SSAA SHOT Expo will again see more than 140 exhibitors fill the main hall. SSAA SHOT Expo 2019 exhibitor list & map The Main Stage, situated in the centre of the hall, will host a range of presentations covering gun fitting, customising, cooking, backpack hunting, and getting involved in the shooting sports including handguns. A panel of deer experts and government representatives will focus on the role recreational hunting plays in deer management with questions invited from the floor. Come and see us at the SSAA stand where we will be providing information on training and getting into the shooting sports. “SSAA Victoria has been active in creating training programs designed to encourage more people into the shooting sports,” Mr Wegman said. “Our Practical Firearms Training Program shows people the correct way to respect and handle firearms and now satisfies the safety course component of a firearms licence application.” The family Expo also has kids’ entertainment including a jumping castle, face painting and a petting zoo. The popular Working Gundog Association of Australia demonstrations will also be held twice daily on the main arena. The doors open at 9am on both days. Tickets are $20 for SSAA members, $25 for non-members and $40 for families of four. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Visit the SSAA SHOT Expo website for details.

Concern over new guidelines for the humane dispatch of ducks

The Game Management Authority will shortly release a field guide for duck hunters, but SSAA Victoria has some concerns about its real-world application. The Guidelines for the humane dispatch of downed ducks has been designed to provide information to hunters on how to humanely dispatch a duck that is not killed outright. The objective of every ethical hunter is to immediately kill any duck they target with a single shot. There are numerous variables in play in the hunting environment and a single-shot kill does not happen in every instance. There are times when the bird will need to be dispatched following a shot that is not immediately fatal. The education of hunters to improve their knowledge and skills to ensure they can competently and humanely dispatch a wounded bird is fully supported. The concept of a field guide to assist hunters in gaining that requisite knowledge was also supported by SSAA Victoria. The humane treatment of animals when hunting is a priority for the Association and its hunting Code of Ethics reflects this position. The Association was pleased to have the opportunity to provide advice and feedback to GMA during the development of the guide. The key points identified by the Association were that the directions in the guide needed to be accurate, simple and practically applicable in a field hunting setting. The guide, as published, does not meet those criteria. At 24 pages it is overly long, complicated and prescriptive. A two-page flow chart reinforces the academic, rather than practical, nature of the publication. SSAA Victoria had significant concerns with parts of the draft guide and made constructive suggestions to GMA on how to make improvements to it. There is some good information contained within the guide and hunters will be able to take something from it. However, the Association considers the prescriptive nature of the document to be a significant risk to hunters. Some of the techniques advocated are not practical in many hunting situations and some that are deemed “unacceptable” are both effective and humane. The guide purports to demonstrate “best practice” but uses abattoir standards as a benchmark. The listing of “unacceptable methods of dispatch” potentially leaves hunters liable to prosecution under animal cruelty legislation if they utilise any of those methods, even though they may be both humane and effective. The Association is concerned that hunters may not have a defence to charges of cruelty if they do not follow the so-called “best-practice” outlined in the guide, even though they are not always appropriate. A check of the references used to develop the guide shows only one that is applicable to duck hunting. The Association considers that The Code of Practice for duck hunting in Tasmania (sic) is relevant to the topic. The entire code is only 16 pages and there is a single paragraph relating to dispatching a wounded duck. Simple, clear, concise and practical information. The Victorian Guide would have benefitted from following the Tasmanian example. The rest of the references relate to domestic animal production, transport and slaughter or the scientific use of animals. They are appropriate for their intended purpose but the Association questions their relevance and applicability in a field hunting setting. It is not practical to expect hunters in a field environment, usually a swamp, to be able to deal with an isolated wild duck in the same way that an abattoir kills large numbers of domesticated poultry in a controlled environment. GMA has sourced references from Canada and the UK for killing poultry in a controlled environment but has not sourced any references from the USA or elsewhere on dispatching hunted waterfowl. Given that the issue is a hunting one, “best practice” should reflect hunting best practice, not best practice for the commercial slaughter of poultry. SSAA Victoria expects hunters to act legally, ethically and humanely when hunting ducks. Hunters have a legal responsibility to recover and kill ducks immediately if they are not killed outright by the shot. The Association expects that appropriate education and training be available to hunters to ensure they have the required knowledge and skills to be able to do that. Such training and education need to be able to be practically applied in the field. The Association recognises the positive intent of GMA in developing the guide. However, it considers the published product to be a significant missed opportunity to produce something of genuine worth for hunters. Rather than having a simple, accurate and practical guide to help them humanely dispatch a wounded duck, Victorian hunters have been burdened with an academic and politically correct document that is only likely to have negative consequences for them. SSAA Victoria works co-operatively with GMA and other government agencies on many hunting issues and will continue to do so. There is a lot of common ground. However, it will always advocate on behalf of its members’ best interests and will not shy away from criticism of actions or policy positions that threaten those interests. The Association was not shown the final guide until after it was printed. It will continue to push for amendments to future editions of the guide to ensure that it provides practical advice that will improve humane outcomes without threatening hunters with the possibility of unwarranted cruelty charges.

Expert panel to discuss deer hunting

Deer hunting experts and government representatives will give their insights into deer hunting in Victoria at the SSAA SHOT Expo this weekend. The panel discussion, to be held on the Main Stage on both days of the Expo, will discuss the role recreational hunting plays in deer management and the challenges faced in controlling deer numbers. “We’ve seen a lot of commentary in the media and on social media about a growing deer population, the impacts it is having and how it is being managed,” said SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager David Laird who will be on the panel as an expert hunter. “Recreational hunting is somewhere in the middle of it so we wanted to bring clarity to the issue and help hunters understand their role.” Mr Laird will be joined by Australian Deer Association Executive Officer Barry Howlett, Game Management Authority Stakeholder and Hunting Programs Zach Powell and Senior Analyst Environment and Conservation Ben Fahey from Parks Victoria. They will discuss topics such as:
  • The roles each organisation plays in deer management and control;
  • Deer population growth and the impacts it is having;
  • How declaring deer a pest would impact hunting;
  • Control methods such as contract shooting and the Conservation and Pest Management program; and
  • The importance of recreational hunting in an effective deer management strategy.
“We also want to hear what hunters think so there will be an opportunity to ask the panel questions about deer hunting and management,” Mr Laird said. “It’s a great opportunity to come together and have a conversation which can help shape future policy on deer management issues.” The panel is on 1:15pm Saturday and 1:10pm Sunday on the Main Stage. Check the program for details.

WIT and Hound Hunting Test at SHOT Expo

The Game Management Authority will be holding the Waterfowl Identification Test (WIT) and Hound Hunting Test at the SSAA SHOT Expo at the Melbourne Showgrounds this weekend (October 19-20). The tests are in addition to the R-Licence Test, which will be held adjacent to the indoor shooting range in the main hall throughout the weekend. “The WIT is a compulsory test for anyone wanting to take part in duck hunting next season and we’re very pleased the GMA is offering it at the Expo,” said SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager David Laird. “It makes it convenient for hunters who are at the show and gets them ready for the coming season.” The Hound Hunting Test is a requirement of obtaining a game licence for anyone wishing to hunt Sambar deer with the aid of hounds. The test includes questions on licensing requirements, when you can hunt, legal hunting methods, safe firearm handling practices, ethical responsibilities and other information relevant to the hunting of Sambar deer with the aid of hounds. The WIT involves a series of multiple-choice questions based on video footage of waterfowl in flight. A video screen will be set up and the footage will be shown prior to each test which will be held at 11am and 2pm each day. The HHT will be run at all other times between 9am and 4pm on Saturday and 9am to 3pm on Sunday. The cost of each test is $32.60 and those wishing to complete it at the Expo can register at the Game Management Authority stand. SSAA Victoria will conduct the R-Licence test, which is required by Victorian hunters wishing to hunt in NSW. Hunters will be able to complete the test between 9am and 4pm on Saturday and 9am to 3pm on Sunday. Allow at least an hour to complete the test and register at the testing area adjacent to the indoor range. Cost for the R-Licence test is $20 for SSAA members and $30 for non-members.
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