Move to legalise drone hunting, with a reward; no Game Council, but policing continues; blitz nabs illegal hunters, unregistered dogs; spotlighters busted; SSAA fees go up; new SSAA boss backs hunting; free shooting game; Utah welcomes the value of hunting.
Move to legalise drone hunting, with a reward
The US town of Deer Trail will vote month on a proposal to introduce drone-hunting licences, not to hunting with armed drones but to shoot down any unmanned drones flying overhead. Not only that, but there would be a bounty of up to $100 for every one shot down. Drones are becoming unpopular for their intrusiveness, and anti-hunting groups have used them to harass hunters. The ordinance was proposed by a resident who said, “We don’t want drones in town. They fly in, they get shot down.” He admitted it was a “symbolic” suggestion, but at $25 per licence it could be a money-spinner for the town, which is famous for hosting the world’s first rodeo and could now be the first to host a drone-shooting competition. See the full report here.
No Game Council, but policing continues
Poachers are still being tracked on NSW public land despite the removal of the Game Council – and in fact the Game Council does continue to exist in some capacities. “Forest surveillance including cameras will remain in place, and NSW authorities will continue to detect and deter illegal hunting in NSW,” the state government said in a statement on Game Council letterhead. The council’s staff, who are still employed by the government as their duties are transferred to the DPI, are working with police and land managers to tackle illegal hunting. Meanwhile, the Game Council’s Bathurst office was open from Monday until Thursday this week and new licences are still being issued.
Blitz nabs illegal hunters, unregistered dogs
Police in western NSW last weekend conducted a blitz on illegal hunting, resulting in numerous charges including having unregistered dogs, two of having prohibited dogs, hunting on public land (including stock routes), and one charge of possessing a prohibited firearm. In all, police say they checked four firearms for safe storage, searched seven vehicles, scanned more than 25 dogs for microchips and registration, and found two people with cannabis.
In the Gippsland area, four people have been charged after allegedly hunting deer under a spotlight. A 45-year-old man and his 17-year-old son were charged when police said they were caught on a public road with a firearm and spotlight. A 61-year-old local man and a 65-year-old from Tasmania were allegedly found with a deer they had shot while spotlighting on private property, although it is not clear of their status in regards to the recent lifting of protections for deer on private property.
SSAA fees go up
The SSAA will increase membership fees from 1 September, for the first time in almost two years. Adult membership will rise by $5 from $78 a year to $83, and by $3 for family memberships from $59 per person to $62. Juniors (under 18) will still pay just $21 as the SSAA continues to encourage young people to get into shooting.
New SSAA boss backs hunting
The SSAA’s new president, former unionist Dean Mighell, has published his first editorial since taking on his role. “I want to challenge this notion that shooters are not environmentalists,” he says, adding that he is passionate about his hunting and confirming that the SSAA is a “keen advocate of hunting”.
Free shooting game
The World Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest Federation has a free shooting game, Benchrest Mania, available for download from its website (in the column on the right of the home page). You can input settings for your group size, wind speed, wind direction, the randomness of the breeze and other factors. It’ll help you understand the effects of wind on your shooting and provides a good challenge.
Utah welcomes the value of hunting
An organisation promoting hunting’s economic benefits in the US, Hunting Works for America, has expended into its seventh state, Utah. “With over 192,000 hunters spending about $500 million a year, hunting is a big deal in Utah,” a hunting industry representative said. “Nearly 13,000 jobs, $310 million in salaries and wages and $62 million in state and local taxes exist because of hunting. With an economic impact of nearly $925 million, hunting is an important part of Utah’s economy.”