News & Articles
Blue Billed Ducks on Northern Wetlands.
We are advising all duck hunters that are intending to hunt on the wetlands around Kerang in the North of the State to be aware of protected species on the following wetlands :-
Lake Murphy is a shallow wetland with two arms that has had environmental water flows into it and yesterday a waterfowl count revealed the following protected birds on the lake 81 Blue Bill, 2 Freckle Duck and Swans in the area.
Lake Elizabeth is a deep saline lake which has also had significant environmental flows of water into it, Lake Elizabeth has 1000 Swans.
Round Lake has 240 Blue Bill duck on it.
Hunters are asked to positively identify their ducks before shooting and pay particular attention to the protected species within these wetlands, for anyone who needs to re-familiarise themselves with the characteristics of Blue Bill duck Click here
Wetland Closures for 2015 Duck Season
The Honourable Jaala Pulford Minister for Agriculture and the Honourable Lisa Neville the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water announced on the 11 March 2015 additional closures to wetlands prohibiting game hunting on them. For more details of the wetlands involved Click here
Lion Trophy import ban
Mathew Godson Special Projects Officer for SSAA National issued a response to Minster Hunt's ban on the importation of African Lion hunting trophies. Click here for his response
Hunting in Africa
The Honourable Greg Hunt has started a debate regarding the hunting of animals in Africa, this has caused some reaction to the viability and sustainability of conservation hunting within Africa and its benefits to the communities in Africa, it has also raised the issue of "Canned hunting of Lions" which is a very different type of hunting altogether, Click here for a statement from Hon Robert Borsak followed by a response from Hon Greg Hunt
Mr Greg Hunt,
Minister for the Environment
I understand that, in association with the Global March for Lions which is being held on the 13th of March 2015, that the Federal Government will be making an announcement in regards to the importation of lion hunting trophies. This matter was put onto the Australian political agenda by Jason Wood who did this at the instigation of a member of his constituency who, it would seem, misrepresented the situation to inspire a knee-jerk reaction by Jason Wood, a goal in which he, or she, was completely successful.
Fearing that this announcement will be detrimental to true and effective lion conservation, I am writing to you to ask that you ensure that the announcement, whatever it is, is truly in the interest of lion conservation and not just an attempt to pander to the animal liberationists for political gains.
If it is your intention to declare a ban on all lion hunting trophies, then you will be interfering, unnecessarily and detrimentally, in the effective conservation of African lions.
Please allow me to quote from your own website, and by that I mean the website of the Department of the Environment, which states:
“The Australian Government is committed to protecting and conserving Australian native wildlife by regulating international trade. This helps to protect targeted species against over exploitation, and Australian ecosystems against the introduction of invasive species.
The Australian Government also supports the efforts of other nations to protect their wildlife, by implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).”
Several vital points can be gleaned from this wording on the website.
The first point is that the Australian Government is committed to conservation by regulating trade and by protecting against over exploitation. However the imposition of a blanket ban, with no scientific basis to support that move, does not show a commitment to conservation. Indeed, such a decision will be detrimental to already established and working lion conservation programs.
The wording on your website also states that the Australian Government supports the efforts of other nations to protect their wildlife. A blanket ban on lion hunting trophies does NOT support the conservation efforts of African nations. On the contrary, such a decision is tantamount to dictating to African nations, in a totally arrogant and destructive manner, a policy which has been shown, repeatedly, to be contrary to the basic principles of conservation and which has never, and WILL NEVER, work in Africa.
Further, the wording on your website states that the assistance to other nations will be given by implementing the decisions of CITES. However, CITES has not suggested a blanket ban on lion hunting trophies. In fact, CITES has approved the trade of legally hunted lion trophies from many African nations and for Australia to go against that decision is counter-productive and hardly qualifies as “implementing the decisions of CITES”.
I might also mention that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decided, on the 27th of October 2014, to reject the claim that the African lion merited listing as an endangered species under the US Endangered Species Act. Further, the FWS concluded that “sport hunting was not found to be a threat to the species (lions) at this time”.
So CITES allows lion hunting and the trade in lion trophies and the US FWS sees no threat to lions from sport hunting - so why would Australia, with no rational or scientific reason, do otherwise? I urge you to revisit your own department’s stated mandate, in regards to the trade in wildlife, to stand by the decisions of CITES, to genuinely support African nations in their conservation efforts and to only make decisions that are scientifically supportable and that are truly beneficial to conservation.
Canned lion hunting is abhorrent to all keen hunters, myself included, but canned hunting has only ever constituted a very small percentage of lion hunts and I know that very few, if any, Australians have been involved in them. Australian hunters have a reputation, amongst African Professional Hunters and guides, as being very moral, only interested in fair-chase hunting and opposed to unethical and unsportsmanlike practices. The truth is that all true hunters, regardless of their nationality, shun those persons who offer canned hunts and the practice, which has only ever been a very small ‘blip’ on the hunting scene, is most definitely on the decline and is being weeded out by a lack of patronage by the vast majority of ethical hunters and guides. Of course, you will always find a small number of ‘rotten apples’ in every barrel but to destroy working conservation programs and penalize ethical hunters because of the sins of a very small minority is the wrong approach and completely counterproductive for lion conservation.
Why would you want to damage effective and working conservation programs simply to placate a vocal minority over an issue that is not common practice and, in fact, is already on the decline? The animal liberationists might applaud a blanket ban on lion hunting trophies now but they will turn against you on other issues, such as implementing controls and eradication programs for feral cats and foxes. They will turn against you because they are not interested in true conservation. They are only interested in saving every single, individual animal even when such measures are detrimental, even catastrophic, for real conservation programs.
What must always be kept in mind is that animal liberation is NOT conservation and, indeed, the goal of animal liberation is, ultimately, to stop ALL of man’s use, utilization and interaction with animals. This is a totally unworkable goal which is also contrary to the basic principles and mechanisms of true conservation. Indeed, animal liberation has become a huge obstacle to many effective conservation programs. It also needs to be borne in mind that animal liberationists are, in fact, in the minority; albeit a very noisy and largely ill-informed minority.
I urge you not to impose a ban on the importation of lion hunting trophies, indeed any hunting trophies, provided that such hunting is conducted under the strict rules of CITES; which is what Australia has agreed to do by being a signatory to CITES. To do otherwise, would simply be to align yourself with those people who would impose their misguided sensitivities on the rest of us, irrespective of the damage that will cause to wildlife.
In short, do you want to be counted among those who support lion conservation for the long term benefit of lions and, indeed the entire environment, or those who support animal liberation for immediate, but misplaced, self-gratification at the expense of the environment?
I ask that you respond to this letter and advise what your position will be, in regards to the importation of lion and other hunting trophies, and whether the rumours of a ban are true or not. If they are true, please outline the scientific basis for the decision to implement that ban?
Swinging Targets at Eagle Park
New specifications and criteria for the placement of swinging targets on the main firing line at Eagle Park have been introduced. Their introduction is as a result of the incident in December 2014, where a shooter was hit by a projectile thought to be a ricochet off a steel target. The specifications are based on current industry standards. For more details Click Here
Range Officer Training Update
Range Officer training courses were suspended last year pending the adoption of new Range Officer Policy. The policy has taken some time to draft and was held up for a period of time as we sought clarification from SSAA (Vic) insurers on parts of the policy.
Recent incidents at both Eagle Park and Springvale ranges and the outcomes from the subsequent investigations conducted by Police and Worksafe have also been considered in the development of the policy. The policy is now due to be tabled at the next Board meeting in two weeks.
Once the policy has been adopted this will enable me to progress with implementation.
As a heads up on the draft policy, there will be an application process introduced for new RO applicants and applications will need to be endorsed by the applicant’s Branch or Sub-Club. The training program will be revised to also address short falls identified in the post range incident investigations by Police and Worksafe. This process will make sure the training and accreditation program has a high degree of rigour and ensure that the expected standards are met. There will also be a process introduced to ensure Range Officers remain active and current.
As a stop gap until the role out of the revised course there will be two courses delivered in March and April at Springvale Range for both the re-qualification and full course. If there are any other Branches or Sub-Clubs who urgently need to qualify new RO’s or re-qualify existing RO’s please contact State Office.
I will up-date you again as we progress with implementation of the policy.
Springvale Range 5 has been re- approved by LRD and is again opened for business.
Will be trialling opening 7 days a week from February.
Mon – Fri 5.00-9.00pm
Sat 10.00am – 6.00pm
Bruno’s Cafe will also be opening 7 days a week for a trail period starting next week.
Eagle Park 5 stand shotgun range
The five stand range is closed pending certification from Victoria Police. As soon as the range is certified we will advise of its reopening
2015 Duck season
The 2015 Victorian Duck Season has been announced.
The 2015 duck hunting season will commence on Saturday 21 March at 7.10am in the eastern zone, 7.20am in the central zone and 7.30am in the western zone, and closes half an hour after sunset on Monday 8 June, 2015.
Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford today announced a full-length duck hunting season of 12 weeks with restrictions to the daily bag limit.
The daily bag limit will be 10 ducks on opening day, with a five per day bag limit for the remainder of the season.
For further details please see the media release on the Victorian Premier website http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/dry-conditions-lead-to-changes-to-2015-duck-season
Can you help?
"I need some assistance and I'm wondering if you can help me. I'm at the planning stage of building a brand new multi-million state-of-the-art firearm business with an onsite 21st century indoor shooting range in Pakenham, Victoria. Like you, our mission is to promote responsible shooting and ethical hunting, as well as embracing, promoting and support the sport. Please visit our website for more information www.southerncrossfirearms.com.au.
I'm about to submit our application for permits to the Cardina Shire Council for the firearm shop and onsite indoor shooting range, but we first need to build some awareness and support from the firearm community because as you're aware, the more support we receive from the community the more it tips those approval scales in our favour + our application is very expensive and we want to see some support before any financial commitments are made.
We have everything lined up and ready to go for our application and as mentioned, we first need support from the firearm community. I'm just wondering if there's some way we can work together to help us gain the awareness and support we need?"
Chris Moore - 0409 045 787
Southern Cross Firearms (Aust)
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