King hit over elephant hunt; upcoming WIT tests; gunshop raid; bees versus poachers; Sydney hunting; goat man; QE II and machine guns.
King hit over elephant hunt
Spain’s King Juan Carlos has been sacked as the honorary president of the nation’s branch of the World Wildlife Fund because he went on an elephant hunt. Even though the hunt was legal and helped fund conservation programs, WWF members voted to abolish the position the king has held since 1968. Meanwhile, he has been criticised for the extravagance of the safari while Spain is in the financial doldrums as well as for the fact that, in April, his 13-year-old grandson accidentally shot himself in the foot with a shotgun. The injury was all the more controversial because the minimum legal age for shooters in Spain is 14.
Upcoming gamebird tests
Aspiring gamebird hunters have two chances to sit their Wildlife Identification Tests (WIT) soon. In Victoria, Field and Game’s Geelong branch will host a WIT training course on 7 August and the subsequent test on 14 August. It’ll cost $60. You must book. Call Peter on 0419 520 344. In NSW, Nepean Hunters Club will run a course on 18 August at the SSAA range in St Marys, Sydney, with both the training and test on the same day. This course costs $40. Contact Peter Johnson on 0400 132 986 or 0409 074 378.
Gunshop ram raid
A southern Queensland gunshop had it doors torn off in a raid by thieves who got away with a single rifle, three crossbows and a few knives. The criminals used a car and cable to tear off the doors before breaking open secure cabinets to take the weapons.
Bee’s knees against poaching?
Two South African teenagers have won a scientific award after demonstrating that specially trained bees can be used to detect rhino horn being smuggled. The insects have a very strong sense of smell and, when taught to associate horn with food, they converge on it. Meanwhile, a ranger there has been arrested for working with Chinese, Vietnamese and Malawian smugglers caught recently with rhino horns, elephant tusks and leopard skins. More rangers are under investigation. Throughout Africa, the debate about whether or not to legalise – and therefore control – the ivory trade rages on. Proponents say it will help meet demand and therefore make it less attractive to criminal syndicates, while environmentalists maintain their staunch opposition.
Suburban Sydney hunt
Life in the leafy Sydney suburb of Lane Cove has carried on peacefully while shooters have been active killing rabbits and foxes in a few local areas where other control methods were deemed unsafe or inappropriate. The council contracted shooters to operate in specific areas. Signage is put up when shooting takes place. There has been surprisingly little fuss about it.
A US man caused concern when he was spotted crawling around the mountains dressed as a goat. Authorities were concerned, not least because he might have been mistaken for a goat and shot during the upcoming hunting season. However, it turns out the man was a very experienced bow hunter, trying out a disguise that he hoped would get him within range of his quarry on a future trip to Canada. Local wildlife officer Phil Douglass praised the man for his thorough preparation and dedication to getting close enough to make a humane kill, but he agreed that posing as a goat during hunting season was not the smartest idea.
QE II and the machinegun salute
They’re not renowned for their royalist loyalties, but the Americans have given Queen Elizabeth II at least one rousing ovation. Machine Guns Las Vegas staged a $1 million ‘machine gun salute’ in the Nevada desert to celebrate the queen’s diamond jubilee. To top it off, all the shooters were ‘gun girls’. MGLV hosts a range where people can pay as little as $25 to try a handgun or up to $800 to use various machine guns. For $50 you can take two shots with a grenade launcher.