Tears of joy: Kim Rhode earned $85,000 in bonuses for her Olympic success.

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HuntFest gears up; pteition to shut down gun registries; RSPCA fights extremists; US Olympians pocket $275,000; successful start to wolf hunts; bear hunt turns to bear hug; suppressors legalised.

HuntFest gears up

HuntFest is gaining more momentum as the South Coast Hunters Club begins seeking exhibitors for the NSW event, to be held on the June long weekend next year. With its focus on photography, videos and game food, Huntfest is also aiming to get a wide range of hunting-related exhibitors involved. It now has its own Facebook page, and is inviting feedback. “The Greens check this site more than hunters do so it would be great to see more hunters hitting the site and letting us know what they would like at HuntFest,” said organiser Dan Field.

Petition: shut down gun registries

A petition has been created calling on the various Australian governments to disband their firearm registries. “Firearm registries have accomplished nothing but wasting law abiding firearm owners’ time and money,” the petition’s preamble states. “Canada has disbanded their registry as it didn’t work! Since Australia followed in Canada’s footsteps to set up a registry we should shut ours down for the same reasons.” While it’s unlikely the petition will lead directly to any change, it is an important statement as active opposition to the registries begins to grow.

RSPCA: extremists vs establishment?

The RSPCA’s Tasmanian branch is suffering an ongoing internal war between a management accused of being ‘self-indulgent’ and a sacked former board member who claims it doesn’t do enough to advocate for animals. Suzanne Cass, the disaffected ex-board member, is a former Greens organiser who sides with Voiceless, PETA, Vegan Outreach and similar groups, and opposes hunting. The RSPCA reacted angrily to what its acting CEO labelled a “self-indulgent rant” by Cass. The RSPCA has over recent years shifted towards a more strident animal-rights ideology, including an anti-hunting position, but has so far managed to avoid following too closely on the heels of extreme groups like PETA and Voiceless.

US Olympians pocket $275,000

USA Shooting, the organisation behind America’s Olympic shooters, and the US Olympic Committee have rewarded its London team with $US275,000 worth of bonuses. Each of the three gold medal winners – Kim Rhode, Vincent Hancock and Jamie Gray – are $85,000 better off for their successes. In addition, USA Shooting paid bonuses of up to $2000 for World Cup medals and records.

Successful start to wolf hunts

Minnesotan hunters did remarkably well during the opening days of their first official wolf hunting season last weekend. Wolves are famously difficult to hunt, but 50 of them were taken as the season got underway. The US state is carefully managing the hunt, which will allow the shooting and trapping of a maximum of 400 wolves. One region’s quota was just one animal short of being filled after the first two days, and officials ended the hunt there on Monday. The state says its wolf population is large enough to warrant the hunt, but animal rights groups and one Indian tribe are still trying to stop the season through the courts. Meanwhile, Wisconsin hunters have killed more than a quarter of their quota of 201 wolves in just three weeks, leading to predictions the season will be closed well before its designated cut-off at the end of February. Thirty-two of the 57 wolves killed there were trapped.

Bear hunt turns to bear hug

Alex Muchado didn’t expect to use his schoolboy wrestling skills while bear hunting, but when a wounded black bear began mauling him his training kicked in. The bear bit him on the hand, arm and leg, then embraced him in a bear hug as the two rolled down on embankment. Muchado fought back, and even had the bruin in a headlock. “It helped a little bit, I guess,” he shrugged, admitting he wasn’t really thinking, just trying to save his life. Eventually, his hunting partner managed to shoot the bear dead. Muchado suffered relatively minor injuries and was taken to hospital to have them stitched.

Suppressors legalised

Oklahoma has become the third US state to permit the use of suppressors while hunting. The American Silencer Association says it’s a move that will protect the hearing of shooters and those around them. Thirty-nine US states allow the legal ownership of suppressors under a highly regulated system involving background checks, fingerprinting and long delays, but until now only Texas and Arizona let hunters use them. Despite the proven health and safety benefits of suppressors – often called silencers, even though they do not render a firearm truly silent – Australian gun lobby groups concede there’s no chance of them being legalised here in the foreseeable future.


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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.

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