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Vic Shooter August 2018 Cover
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

Have your say on deer management

The Victorian Draft Deer Management Strategy has been released for public comment and members are invited to have your say. A copy is available through the link at the bottom of the page. The strategy is a commitment from the Sustainable Hunting Action Plan 2016-2020. SSAA Victoria has been heavily involved behind the scenes in the development of the strategy and attended a major workshop in June. The Association has continually stressed that as it came out of a hunting plan the strategy must provide benefits to hunters through the provision of sustainable deer hunting opportunities. The Association has worked hard to ensure that hunters’ interests have been represented and protected in the development of the strategy. There are many competing and often conflicting voices in the current deer debate. There were certainly times when the Association felt that there were attempts by some stakeholders to hijack the strategy. Those attempts, along with simplistic calls by some to declare deer pests and turn the strategy into an anti-deer forum, were strongly rejected. It should be noted that Australian Dear Association, Game Management Authority and Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources were very supportive in this area. In spite of different views on some issues there is no doubt that there is also a lot of common ground. The Association is satisfied that the guiding principles outlined in the strategy are appropriate and should safeguard future deer hunting opportunities in Victoria. However, the reality is that the devil will always be in the detail of a strategy such as this. The implementation of the strategy will ultimately determine how the deer and hunters fare. SSAA Victoria will continue to closely monitor the situation to ensure the strategy is not hijacked by other interest groups and actually delivers for hunters as much as possible. The Association recognises that there is not a single solution that will satisfy all interest groups or be effective in all circumstances. There are aspects to the strategy that are certainly concerning, but at least the draft strategy provides a transparent framework where coordinated management can occur. There is significant potential for different stakeholders, including hunters, to work together in many cases with wins for all concerned. SSAA Victoria will work through the final draft document in detail and make a formal submission. Individual members are also encouraged to have their say as well. The draft strategy and survey are available at the following link:

Jury out on Aerial Culling

SSAA Victoria is reserving judgement on Parks Victoria’s decision to trial aerial culling of Sambar deer in areas of the National Park (maps below) in October. We want to see what the trial produces before we take a stand on aerial culling because we will then have facts and not guesses to work with. However, we always have and always will call on the government to allow recreational hunters into those areas as the first tool to control the deer population. Formalised control programs using volunteer hunters would be the preferred next step on those occasions where recreational hunting alone is not achieving management objectives. Only in areas where recreational hunting and volunteer control programs have proven ineffective should paid ground-based or aerial contractors be considered. There have been valid concerns expressed by some SSAA Victoria members regarding the trial. The Association shares some of these concerns and has expressed them to PV. Transparency around the trial and clarity of the implications of it are fundamental to any acceptance of the results. A request by SSAA Victoria to provide an independent observer during the trial to provide that transparency has been declined. PV has agreed to provide a detailed stakeholder briefing prior to the operation as well as providing the information in the attached PDFs. One important factor to bear in mind is that deer numbers are increasing and while not to the extent of some of the hysterical claims of the National Parks Association, we agree deer numbers need to be controlled. If they are not controlled, deer could be reclassified as a pest animal and lose their status as our premier game species. This is among the worst possible outcomes from a hunter’s perspective. Our position with the government is that deer numbers are increasing because hunters are being denied access to the areas where they are abundant. These sanctuary areas have allowed population levels to increase to unsustainable numbers and then disperse into surrounding areas. Greater access equates to a greater take, all at no cost to government, which will ultimately reduce populations. The government’s position is that there are many interest groups other than hunters and it must find a balance that will satisfy all of us. We respect that position because if we simply oppose everything rather than try to negotiate, we will be shut out of the conversation completely and lose our seat at the table on other issues. Our relationship with Parks Victoria has contributed to the recent decision to open 90,000ha of National Park to recreational hunting. We expect the government to look at deer and hunting with fresh eyes and not be constrained by historical thinking. Hunters must also adapt to a changing world and likewise be prepared to look at alternate ways to manage deer and keep an open mind on issues such as this trial. Trials are just that, trials. Everyone has an opinion on whether something will or won’t work and a theory to back up their position. Sometimes concerns are justified. Sometimes they are shown to be unfounded. Hunters have also called for trials. The recent Snake Island balloted hog deer hunting trial has proved that safety concerns expressed about hunting on the island were not valid. A trial allows a theory to be tested to measure its validity before permanently committing to a course of action. What the Association does recognise is that in specific areas where deer are having significant and unacceptable negative environmental impacts they do need to be managed. However, it does not mean that SSAA Victoria necessarily supports the potential future aerial culling of deer. The Association will be carefully monitoring the trial. It should give a good indication as to whether aerial culling of Sambar is effective, cost efficient and humane in the Victorian situation. We expect game management decisions to be based on fact, not emotion. This trial must also be judged on fact, not emotion. If aerial culling turns out to be unviable it won’t be an issue after the trial. Only once the facts are known will the Association be able to develop a reasoned and informed response to the aerial culling issue.

New game licensing system is good news

The Game Management Authority's new game licensing system, which is currently in development, has been praised as a more efficient solution to getting people out hunting. "It's good news for Victoria’s hunters," said SSAA Victoria's Hunting Development Manager David Laird. "A more streamlined online system should make the whole process of getting a game licence quicker and more efficient. "It should also make the administrative burden of updating personal details significantly easier. There should also be efficiency gains from the new system that should lead to cost savings. "The Association would expect any savings to be reinvested into game management projects." SSAA Victoria was involved in initial consultation in July last year and expects to have continued input into the development of the system during the next 12 months before it goes live to ensure the end product meets hunters’ needs. GMA CEO Graeme Ford said Victoria’s 55,000 existing licensed game hunters and any new applicants will find the new improved digital system to be more efficient, informative and easier to use. “Developed in consultation with Victorian hunting groups and individual game hunters, the new Game Licensing System will be Victoria’s improved one stop shop for all hunters and their game licensing needs,” Mr Ford said. “It will allow people to submit Game Licence applications quickly and easily using online digital forms and will give licence holders the opportunity to view and amend their own licence details, anywhere, anytime and from any device. “The new features of the system will allow hunters to directly book in hunting tests and check availability, transfer hound ownership more easily, change their address details, and report and record their game harvest totals in their own licence profile. “Hunters will also have better access to important licence information and will be able to receive vital email, SMS and push notifications regarding seasonal arrangements about the game species they are licenced to hunt.” The new Game Licensing System is set to be available to hunters in 12-18 months. Anyone hunting game in Victoria must hold a current Game Licence. A range of licence types are available, depending on the requirements of the individual hunter. The new Game Licensing System is part of the Victorian Government’s Sustainable Hunting Action Plan to ensure hunting remains safe, responsible and sustainable for future generations.

Greg Moon returns to the Board

Greg Moon has been returned to the SSAA Victoria Board of Directors after the final count of ballots in the 2018 Board elections. Greg was one of six candidates who had nominated to fill four positions on the Board. These positions were declared vacant after the end of the three-year term of Colin Wood, Andrew Hepner, David Zielinski and Lance Eastwood. Each of the four outgoing directors nominated to continue their service, while Wodonga Branch president Josh Knight also put up his hand to serve on the Board. Postal ballots were sent to all of SSAA Victoria’s 38,000 members of 12 months' current membership, and 3352 were returned. Of those 97 were not correctly completed and were ruled informal. Final results were: Colin Wood 2224 Lance Eastwood 2105 David Zielinski 2050 Greg Moon 1995 Andrew Hepner 1967 Josh Knight 1702 Greg formerly served as a Board Director but was unable to continue his full term. He has since retired from VicPol and is again devoting his energies to the betterment of the Association. The final results were announced at the SSAA Victoria Annual General Meeting held at the Hotel County Bruce on Sunday (September 16).
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