And no, we didn’t shoot any politicians, writes Field & Game magazine journalist Madeline Fogarty, who was also having her first try at shooting clay targets.
Having no history with hunting, clay targets or firearms in general it probably sounds arrogant that I thought I had an idea of what I was signing up for with Field & Game.
That’s why the mere mention of the words ‘pollie’ and ‘shoot’ in the same sentence conjured up visions of a Hunger Games in the rolling hills of Willowmavin.
It might appeal to some, but at Field & Game we appreciate our political representatives and are happy to engage the novices as well as the experienced and competitive in a friendly competition.
The shoot is an opportunity for the curious and open-minded to come and experience first-hand the safe use of firearms and the thrill of having a crack at a moving target.
Politicians from all levels of government and their advisers are placed in the safe hands of Field & Game volunteers who act as safety officers and instructors.
Members representing the Labor Party, Liberal Party, Nationals, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party, Liberal Democratic Party and Transport Matters participated.
FGA chairman Bill Paterson and CEO Dean O’Hara addressed the gathering before they split into teams and headed for the stands to practise.
While the tempting aroma of game food being prepared by chefs Riccardo Momesso and Danny Leone wafted over the shoot ground, the guests were busy being educated on stance, angles and leading targets.
Before long they were in competition mode and unfortunately one team had to enjoy my company and novice shooting ability.
Suffice to say we didn’t win but the Meester family competition kept us entertained.
Bill Paterson suggested, given it was my first time, I ought to provide a view from that unique perspective.
Chatting with Victorian Nationals Leader Peter Walsh was a good start: he’s been attending this event since it began.
He laughed when talking about how people always question his sanity when he tells them he is going to the politician shoot. So I’m not the only one who draws too vivid a picture.
Peter Walsh said for politicians it was all about education, teaching people how to handle firearms responsibly while also learning about Field & Game from the members they interacted with.
“Every year I say I’ve got to go out and practise,” he laughs, “And every year I forget. But this year, this year I will practise before the 2020 event.”
Thankfully the forecast hail didn’t arrive before the shoot was over and the food devoured.
What is clear from the day is that the event works, and the relaxed environment is a great opportunity to spread the message about FGA’s work and our passion for what we do.