There are a couple of key attributes that make Australian deer hunters … deer hunters.
We can handle the extremes of the weather …we are comfortable being uncomfortable.
We do well in situations which don’t pan out as planned — hunting deer is more often than not a series of situations which don’t pan out as planned.
As I write this it certainly feels wintry — both meteorologically and socially.
Just 15 kilometers to the west of me, something like five million of our fellow Australians (including tens of thousands of our fellow deer hunters) have just entered a six-week lockdown due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The lockdown will pass, but the uncertainty about our lives and freedoms will be with us for the foreseeable future, as will an economic downturn the likes of which we haven’t seen for at least thirty years. This will impact ADA, we’re not sure to what extent just yet.
Elsewhere in the country more and more ADA branches are slowly returning to some sort of normal — it’s not the normal that we knew before, nor will it be for some time.
All of that is okay, because we can handle the extremes of the weather and we do well in situations which don’t pan out as planned.
In the previous Australian Deer we highlighted the rapid growth in deer hunter numbers in Victoria. That growth is fueled by opportunity — abundant deer populations and excellent public land access. Queensland has one of those ingredients, but not the other.
The “Comment” section of this magazine highlights an independent report that the Australian Deer Association commissioned on the Impacts and Implications of Recreational Deer Hunting in Queensland State Forests. It’s both a comprehensive and challenging report which was completed for us by Paul Revie who is an ecologist and zoologist with Envirosphere Consulting in Brisbane. It’s challenging because there are language, observations and conclusions in the report which jar with both what we think we know and with our ideology — that is a big part of the value of the report; whilst it is well researched and evidence based, it speaks in the language of the bureaucracy and the environment movement, it is how a more sensible and rational version of the people who tend to oppose us see us and our issues. We pride ourselves on dealing in facts, data and evidence, even when that doesn’t neccesarily suit us — making this report public is an example of ADA walking the walk as well as talking the talk.
The report fires the starter’s pistol on the Australian Deer Association’s campaign to gain public land hunting for Queensland — some will have a view that we are late for the party, they might be right …the good news is that we come with an Esky full of coldies and the staying power to still be there when the sun comes up. We’ll probably need that staying power, we might get lucky with the fall of the chips at the October election, but, more likely, we are in for years of work building support for, what is, a safe, valuable and appropriate use of public land.
The report is just one of the resources we will bring to bear in Queensland — as this goes on our approach will continue to develop and evolve.
No organisation has more runs on the board gaining access to public land in Australia for hunters than the ADA. These are typically not easy fights, they often take years of work and dedication — often the hard fights are the fights that are worth having.
By the time you read this we will also have held the 2020 Annual General Meeting; dry stuff, I know, but an important milestone and a great opportunity to look back on what we have achieved over the past year. We had hoped to return to a face to face AGM and conference this year, but, like so many things in 2020, that wasn’t to be. We will get together soon, in the interim the board is looking at other ways to boost engagement between ADA’s branches and its board.
This month we are also launching our annual raffle. The proceeds from this raffle go directly into ADA’s advocacy efforts — our frontline campaigns to improve conditions for hunters and to improve the management of wild deer in Australia.
The package of prizes this year will excite any deer hunter with a pulse (and might even be enough to re-animate a few who have shaken off this mortal coil) — the best free-range hog deer hunting on Earth, a sambar hunt with the guru, awesome Swaro glass, a grand’s worth of great clobber from Stoney Creek, a great knife from Old Man Herbie and a top-quality UHF from GME …copy that?
Get your tickets — win great stuff and help to make sure that the next generation can have the great opportunities than we have.