At the hunt organised by the Australian Deer Association’s Melbourne branch in May there was discussion around the campfire of why there was no award for the highest Douglas score free-range hog deer taken by an ADA member each year.
The ADA’s Gippsland branch is custodian of the Arthur Bentley Award for highest scoring sambar stag, and the South-East branch is custodian of The Fraser McLay Trophy for the best fallow buck, so it seemed overdue a trophy was struck to recognise Victoria’s iconic hog deer.
When Snake Island became part of the Blond Bay Ballot, Melbourne branch took on the role of hosting an education weekend for the island and more recently has hosted the education weekend for all three locations — Snake Island, Blond Bay and Boole Poole.
These education weekends are held on Sunday Island in habitat similar to the balloted hunting areas.
The Melbourne branch has had an affiliation with Para Park Co-operative, Sunday Island, for many years as several of the branch members are also members of Para Park. The Melbourne branch committee came up with an idea of producing an award for hog deer, and who better to name it after than Ron Mayze, a man who has dedicated his life to the conservation of the species in Victoria, and especially on Sunday Island.
Melbourne branch stalwart and houndsman Craig Hill came up with a design for a shield and a medallion, which was adopted.
I made the timber section of the trophy while the brass medallion was designed based on a hog deer photograph and made in China. A set of representative hog deer antlers were then needed to complete the design.
The Ron Mayze Shield — a perpetual trophy to be awarded to the highest scoring hog deer stag taken by an ADA member each year.
On a trip to Sunday Island, I asked Ron himself if he could give me one set of his many antlers. He asked what they were for and I responded that they are for a good cause and he would find out in October.
I presented the trophy to Ron at the October Victorian Hunters Dinner to his great surprise — he had had no warning we had been working on the trophy behind the scenes and that we were going to name it after him.
After the trophy was presented to Ron, he was then asked to present Neil Page, the inaugural winner, with his medallion as he had taken a hog deer stag in 2018 with antlers that scored 105 Douglas points.
Melbourne branch is now the custodian of the Ron Mayze Shield, which will be inscribed with the names of all winners. Each winner will receive an engraved medallion in recognition of their successful hunt.
A surprised and honoured Ron Mayze holding his trophy.
Contributed by Gino Lendaro.