Professor Paul Shepard of Dartmouth College said in the introduction to José Ortega y Gasset’s Meditations on Hunting, of the hunter in the field: his minding of the environment, the fluid quality of his attention, and the habits of alertness and acuity that link him in participation with all of creation.
It was the same with Aldo Leopold as he set forth in the early morning to see what had traversed the back forty or for that matter as any hound hunter has done, ‘To read the book’ to see what has been left for us to interpret.
The hunter immerses himself deeply within the space he occupies and is as one, it is in this space that hunting and conservation are as one also.
In the South-East of South Australia there is less than six per cent of the landscape that has not been highly modified since the Second World War and planted down to improved pastures, crops and plantations. Wild places are rare, places that since settlement have not seen an introduced grazing animal or the hand of man sweep all before it.
Murray Suwinski came to Australia from Poland as Stalin was putting up the Iron Curtin across Europe; he got work with Hume Concrete in Adelaide manufacturing precast pipes and culverts and did this until he retired. Murray never married and lived a frugal existence and invested his earnings into land. His first purchase was 20 hectares 10 kilometres north of Adelaide where he built a small house, next was in the South-East of the state where land was being opened up for development; it was cheap and so he purchased 700 hectares of scrub. Murray never returned to the South-East, and the property was never developed.
In the early 1990’s the South-East Branch of the ADA negotiated with Murray to purchase his property which had been set aside as State Heritage and was never to be cleared. With help from the Australian Deer Research Foundation the sale was successfully completed.
This property has extremely high conservation values; there are four main landforms and the species diversity of both flora and fauna is high. The South-East Branch were able to build an accommodation facility for branch members to be utilised at any time during the year and it is available for general family use at all times.
The opportunity for families to go Suwinski’s for a weekend to stroll about and just enjoy this rare and wild place or to partake in the feral animal control work which is ongoing throughout the year is very much part of being a member and including one’s family in a much greater experience than just hunting alone. The rare and endangered red tailed black cockatoo or the iconic mallee fowl also reside on the property. The wild flowers and especially the orchids in spring are a must see.
Hunting and the conservation ethic certainly do go hand in hand.