The Conservation and Pest Management program operated by SSAA Victoria has a new assistant manager and a new mentor initiative.
Savvas Savva took on the role in January to fill the vacancy left by Rhys Coote and says giving members a fair go is a policy he is boosting with the program.
“The door to the CPM program is open to all SSAA Victoria members with some level of hunting and shooting experience,” he says.
“We want to provide opportunities for our members to hunt pests or take part in conservation programs to assist Parks Victoria.
“We also want to ensure we are delivering a professional service to Parks Victoria, so we are developing ways to bring those two goals together.”
The CPM program commenced in 2007 when the State Government entrusted SSAA Victoria to provide skilled volunteers to control pest animals and achieve conservation outcomes on Parks Victoria-controlled land.
An updated accreditation course was implemented in early 2017 and that was revised last year with the practical shooting component upgraded to better replicate field shooting.
The new mentor program will mean SSAA Victoria members will be able to participate in a CPM program soon after they have passed the accreditation course.
The mentor program works by pairing experienced CPM shooters with newly accredited volunteers to ensure they are getting proper guidance.
“A CPM operation is typically handled by a team of eight shooters and the tendency has been to only select that team from the ranks of those with previous CPM experience,” Savvas says.
“Our new mentor program will see newly accredited volunteers included in that team of shooters so the experienced participants can show them the ropes.
“It means we can maintain a level of professionalism while ensuring those new to the CPM program will get equal opportunity to participate.”
Meanwhile, existing active CPM volunteers have been going through a reaccreditation process to ensure best practice is being observed.
Savvas says he has been notifying active CPM volunteers of the requirement to obtain the current CPM card by completing a reaccreditation course.
“We have new CPM programs starting in May which will provide opportunities for properly accredited volunteers,” he says.
“So if you’re a new member with some hunting experience, then sign up for the next accreditation course.
“If you’re an existing active CPM volunteer who hasn’t done a reaccreditation course within the last 18 months, then get in touch and we’ll ensure you’re right to go.”
The next course will be on April 14 and another is scheduled for September.
New CPM assistant manager Savvas Savva says the process of obtaining a Section 37 permit required to use a firearm in National Parks has been streamlined.
A Section 37 is required along with CPM accreditation before a SSAA Victoria volunteer can participate in a CPM program.
“It was an area that had been a little slow in the past, but we have worked with Parks Victoria to ensure they come through much quicker which is good news for our CPM volunteers,” Savvas says.
The steps for an experienced shooter to become an active SSAA Victoria CPM volunteer are:
- Become a SSAA member.
- Contact the CPM assistant manager (email@example.com or 8892 2777)
- Attend an accreditation course to prove competency.
- Obtain a Section 37 from Parks Victoria.
Am I CPM material?
The Conservation and Pest Management program is professionally run and must adhere to the rules set out by Park Victoria.
It means that the volunteers selected to take part must demonstrate previous hunting experience and marksmanship competency.
Volunteers who successfully complete the accreditation course can hunt a full variety of species from rabbits to goats to deer.
However, they will need to show that they are capable of effectively dispatching those animals before being considered for the CPM program.
“CPM is not a training exercise or education program,” says CPM assistant manager Savvas Savva.
“SSAA Victoria does have training for those who want to improve their skills.
“However, CPM demands a high level of skill and the practical component of our accreditation course is designed to ensure we’re putting competent shooters on the ground.”