A poacher in NZ had to repay the value of a trophy fallow he shot, but escaped a potential seven year jail term. (Photo: Alex Juris)

Snap Shots

SFP names members for WA election; new SFP forum; hunting delayed, but money’s provided; political grandstanding or pig ignorance; Kiwi poacher pays up; hundreds of charges in huge poaching bust; elephant toll getting worse; ban the gun bans.

SFP names members for WA election

The WA branch of the Shooters and Fishers Party has lodged the names of its nominated candidates in the upcoming state election. The party’s number one candidates for the various upper house regions are John Parkes (Mining Pastoral), Rick Mazza (Agriculture), Daniel Strijk (South West), Paul Bedford (North Metro), Michael Georgiou (East Metro) and Ian Blevin (South Metro). If you plan to vote SFP on 9 March, those are the names to remember.

New SFP forum

Meanwhile, the SFP has now set up a forum on its website. It covers issues state by state as well as federally, and also has boards for shooters, fishers and four-wheel drivers. It’s so fresh there are almost no posts there yet, but that looks like changing quite rapidly.

Hunting delayed, but money’s provided

Hunting in NSW national parks has been delayed for various purported reasons, but most likely because of more political wrangling behind the scenes as the Australian Workers Union and others play games over it, and the Game Council continues to have a cloud hanging over it while one of its senior officers remains suspended. It will certainly not kick of early next month, as was originally announced. Meanwhile, the NSW government has announced it will put $19 million into setting up the conservation hunting system. Among other things, the money will be used for training, signage, and employing additional staff to handle compliance, education and coordination.

Political grandstanding or pig ignorance?

Shadow NSW Police Minister Nathan Rees has reinforced the belief that senior politicians are clueless about the status of legally owned firearms and their owners. When asked on radio station 2GB if he was worried about the number of legally owned firearms in the community, he responded, “Oh, absolutely. I’ve been banging on to the point of boring people for 12 months now about the shootings that have been occurring in western and south-western Sydney in particular.” He made no distinction between legal or illegal firearms, nor law-abiding firearm owners and criminal gang members. Rees showed support for Greens MP David Shoebridge’s hypothesis that owners should be limited to three guns at most.

Kiwi poacher pays up

In New Zealand, a man has had to pay reparations of $3000 after being found guilty of poaching a trophy fallow buck that was being kept on private property as breeding stock. Police warned others that poaching would not be tolerated, and pointed out that among many possible charges, a poacher could be hit with theft of an animal which carries a penalty of up to seven years in jail.

Hundreds of charges in huge poaching bust

Dozens of people have been implicated in a huge black bear poaching scandal in the US. A four-year investigation by various agencies in Georgia and North Carolina has resulted in more than 900 offences being identified, and just about every rule in the book has been broken by the poachers. One man, described as a “true hardcore poacher”, will face 99 charges. “Bears and all wildlife are public trust resources in our state,” said a senior official. “They provide tremendous natural, social and economic benefits to our citizens.” Bears may be legally hunted with a permit, under a system that helped the population recover to sustainable levels.

Elephant toll getting worse

Elephant poaching in Africa has reduced the population to the lowest ever recorded, and more than 100 have been killed already this year as the rate of poaching continues to climb. The US has repeated its statement that the problem is so bad it poses a security threat to African nations, mainly because of the systematic way organised crime is backing the poaching. More resources are being put into anti-poaching efforts, including the use of drones, but as yet no nation appears to have been able to stop the poachers.

Ban the gun bans!

What’s the best way to stop people making new gun control laws? Make it illegal or them to propose such laws. That’s the solution one politician in the US has come up with, though he admits the bill he has put forward has no real chance of getting up. Representative Mike Leara says he intends it merely to raise debate and make it “clear that the Missouri House will stand in defence of the people’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms”.




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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.