The rhetoric and gloating you’re reading about the NSW Game Council in the media is hype, all based on hearsay and, possibly, something more disturbing.
We’ve consciously not reported on claims that Game Council employees broke the law. From the moment the story broke there was clearly something wrong about it. For a start, one of the accused men was hundreds of kilometres away at the time, and apparently has a good alibi.
The Game Council employees both “strenuously deny” the allegations against them. They’ve both been stood down on full pay, which is a matter of course when people in such positions are under investigation, but it in no way implies guilt. The Game Council is working with police on the investigation.
Here is the gist of the story: someone allegedly gut-shot a trophy-quality billy goat, pursued it through public land and cut a fence to go into private property. Several groups of hunters were in the area at the time, as well as two GC employees in a GC car; they had official business to do there.
The private property, we understand, allows paying hunters to shoot there but does not allow goats to be taken, because they’re rounded up and sold as part of the station’s income stream.
So it appears someone has done the wrong thing. The question is, who?
There are serious doubts about the claims that the GC employees were in the wrong. I’m not going to speculate on any of that, because the police will answer those questions in due course.
However, there’s another aspect to all this that is illuminating. This has played perfectly into the hands of anti-hunting interests. Those who are campaigning against the Game Council and against the impending start of hunting in NSW national parks — as well as Fairfax Media, which again has shown itself highly partisan — are dining out on this story and show no sign of filling their bellies yet.
I read in the paper that hunters sometimes deliberately gut-shoot an animal to avoid damaging its trophy features, and that made me furious. The wording on the websites was soon changed to say we avoid head shots to preserve trophy value, but even then the context was ridiculously misleading.
Someone has already made this controversy a second section in Wikipedia’s small and previously straight-up entry on the Game Council, and filled it with the phrases of the anti-hunting lobby. Hopefully, if that new entry is not deleted pending police investigations, it’s replaced with an objective statement.
Meanwhile, their clamour drowns details, like the signs apparently erected by the National Parks and Wildlife Service implying the public land in that area was national park and off limits to hunters. I’m told these signs were put over the top of the correct notices stating it is declared conservation hunting land.
There’s a lot going on here. The whole story is political and riven with anti-hunting agenda.
In short, the accusations don’t just smell suspicious, they stink.
(You’ll note I haven’t included links in this story, despite my usual practice. I’m sick and tired of increasing traffic to lousy stories that don’t deserve the light of day, hence the lack of links this time.)