It's deer season again! (Pic: Alex Juris)

Snap Shots

Judge condemns Victorian gun laws; guns and homicide in Australia; Game Council workshops; NSW deer season opens today; Tasmania’s hunting seasons fire up; Greens banging on; pro-firearm petition; making the news.

Judge condemns Victorian gun laws;

“I regard the present state of firearms control regulation as anything but blameless,” Victorian Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Nettle said while sentencing a man over a shooting murder. “One may wonder … why the law allows people like you to keep firearms, especially a semi-automatic pistol, anywhere near at hand.” The killer, Clarence Nelson, 69, had a handgun licence and what the judge described as a “cache” of seven firearms, though he used only one of them in the murder. Justice Nettle’s comments come in spite of figures that show Australia’s rate of gun-related homicide is at a historic low.

Guns and homicide in Australia

The figures referred to above, from the Australian Institute of Criminology’s latest release, showed 13% of homicides involved a firearm, and of them , only 14% involved a handgun. “The majority of all firearms used in homicide incidents were reported by the police as unregistered and/or unlicensed,” the AIC reported. “Overall, firearm involvement and in particular the involvement of handguns in homicide incidents, remains at an historical low.” In the period 2008-10, 71 homicides were by shooting, third overall behind stabbings (208) and beatings (135). Only five people were shot dead by people they did not know; the rest were domestic or “acquaintance” homicides.

Game Council workshops

Despite controversy, it’s business as usual for the NSW Game Council, which has announced some upcoming courses for hunters. On 15-17 March, a deer workshop will be run at Filskis Outreach centre near Capertee, NSW. Accommodation and catering is on-site, and you’ll have to book by 10 March. On 18-19 May, there’s a Buckmasters deer workshop being held at Neville, which will include a trade stall selling hunting gear. For full details see the Game Council website.

NSW deer season opens today

Deer season opens in NSW today, allowing licensed game hunters to take fallow, red and wapiti until the end of October, in addition to those which do not have a designated season. Hog deer are still off limits until April, when their one-month season is open. For details, see the Game Council website.

Tasmania’s hunting seasons rev up

From Saturday, 2 March, fallow buck season opens in Tasmania for its brief one-month stint. Antlerless deer may not be taken until the 16th, and both are off limits against after the 31st. Tasmanian hunters get a second crack at antlerless deer from 11 May until 30 June. Duck season is just over a week away, open on the 9th, while wallaby season is already officially underway for the year until February 2014. For full details, check out the DPIPWE website. The very short fallow buck season seems to be paying off for Tasmania’s deer herd management, with reports that the trophy value of antlers has increased dramatically in recent years.

Greens banging on

Greens MP David Shoebridge says “the audacity of the hunting lobby’s push for a gun culture in NSW is matched only by the resistance of the general public”. How so? He has secured another 112 signatures on a petition aimed at stopping regulations that would allow 12-18 year old holding R-licenses, and who have parental permission, to hunt unsupervised on public land using dogs, knives and bows but not firearms. The regulations had already been knocked back in the NSW parliament, but the Greens have kept flogging this horse till it’s almost reached 1000 signatures. It appears to be all part of the Greens’ general opposition to hunting and shooting. And as they’ve found in the past with other issues, if they keep beating so many drums for long enough, they make progress.

Pro-shooting petition passes milestone

Meanwhile, more than 8000 people have signed a petition calling on NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to stop his attack on law-abiding firearms owners. This one is rising with a bullet on the petition website, but shooters are being urged to notify friends and family about it to push it even further.

Making the news

Sporting Shooter made the news again. We know that various journalists and media organisations keep an eye on what we report, but it’s rare that we are acknowledged. However, we rated a brief mention on ABC news on Thursday in a story on the withdrawal of the latest ammo control regulations. It’s all part of the service…




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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.