Hunting clubs are being warned against accepting Greens MP David Shoebridge as a member, after he tried to join the Inner West Hunters Club but was rejected.
Mr Shoebridge claims he is trying to join a club so that he can “fully understand the rigour and process involved in obtaining a hunting licence in NSW”.
The Greens MP has been an outspoken opponent of firearm ownership and hunting, and has frequently angered the shooting community by linking gun owners with organised crime, accusing hunters of being thrill killers and repeatedly demeaning the character and skill of what he calls “amateur” hunters.
He has also criticised the processes for obtaining a NSW game hunting licence, saying the absence of accuracy tests, eyesight tests and other things is a danger to the public.
His application for IWHC membership was rejected by the club’s committee, who said he was “not a fit and proper person”.
Shoebridge said club president John Leyonhjelm accused him of getting “up to mischief” in trying to become a licensed hunter.
“All in all, it has been a disappointing initial foray into the secret world of NSW hunting clubs,” Shoebridge said.
The IWHC is now warning other clubs to be cautious about accepting Shoebridge as a member. Shooters are highly suspicious of the Greens MP’s motives, particularly as he has long campaigned to the have the NSW Game Council – the body that licenses hunters in NSW – shut down.
“Methinks Mr Shoebridge has an ulterior motive and alarm bells should surely be ringing,” the vice chairman of another hunting club said in an email.
“It seems that there are no [limits to the] depths that the Greens will descend to, to try and get under our skin,” Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Borsak said. “Anyone that admits him or his like will be looking for trouble.”
It is not the first time opponents of hunting have tried to become involved.
Animal right activist Lynda Stoner a few years ago pretended to be a hunter and went to a pig hunting workshop run by the Game Council, scoring some publicity points for her efforts at stereotyping pig doggers, although according to reports by other course attendees she was trying so hard to fit the invented image that they regarded her as strange.
Members of Sea Shepherd attended an Australian Deer Association meeting, but apparently found it boring and left.
David Leyonhjelm is also the treasurer and registered officer of the Liberal Democratic Party, which has pro-firearms, pro-hunting policies.