It has been a very successful, albeit relatively dry Duck Season in Victoria but with only two weeks to go you can be proud of the behaviour and effort you have put in to ensuring Duck Season continues for generations.
Northern Territory Visit
I have recently been to Darwin for a meeting with the Northern Territory Minister for Environment and Natural Resources Lauren Moss MLA and Education Minister Eva Lawler MLA, NT Field & Game (Steve Lees and Bart Irwin) and the NT Firearms Council to discuss the upcoming Magpie geese season.
After arbitrarily declaring a limited bag limit and season last year without consultation and the corresponding backlash from hunters and hunting groups, the meeting we had last Tuesday was a good turnaround. The NT Government presented data showing a strong increase in the number of Magpie geese and while there was discussion around the scientific method to be used to determine an adaptive harvest bag limit, all indications point towards an increased bag limit and season. There is a follow-up meeting this week to continue the discussion on the scientific approach and details of the season.
I enjoyed visiting the NT Branch on Friday afternoon, where they are busy with a number of construction projects, including installation of a skeet field and lighting to shoot 5 stand into the evening. I enjoyed the State of Origin Shoot on Sunday, but even though Victoria was well represented with the largest team, I couldn’t assist with getting us over the line. Congratulations to the Tasmanian Team on their win. It was good to meet with the members and committee and I particularly enjoyed shooting with the junior shooters – Hunter and Billy.
We met with farmers on Monday to discuss crop destruction mitigation including the owners of a mango farm, melon farm and hay/turf farm.
One farmer stated that last year he harvested his various crops over 177 days and his permit was only 222 geese. He had geese on the property from October 1 to March 26. He lost $18,200 worth of hay, $5,000 in damaged paw paws, and 300 paw paw trees destroyed by geese, which cost a further $2,400 to replant.
The 300 lost trees would have produced $120,000 of fruit over their two-year lifespan.
Extrapolated out to all of the agricultural industry in the NT, uncontrolled pests represent a significant loss to farmers. Hunting of the pest species is a critical element of a large-scale behaviour modification program involving a combination lethal and non-lethal methods such as LRAD (long range acoustic device) and gas guns. Protecting productive agriculture is critical and appropriate pest destruction permits are a key element.
Field & Game advertising campaign
We recently met with the company that produced our recent advertising campaign for us and the summary below shows the number of ads and their reach.
I hope you managed to see some of the ads when they were on.
Anti-hunting campaign complaint lodged
You may have seen, or heard about an anti-duck hunting television campaign paid for by Animals Australia masquerading as “Regional Victorians Against Duck Shooting”.
These ads unjustly vilify duck hunters and obviously breach advertising standards. We have filed a detailed complaint against these ads with Ad Standards Australia. The frustrating part of the official complaint process is that it can take up to four weeks to determine if our complaint should be referred for adjudication.
Updates to our management systems
We have been assessing our longer-term needs as an organization. A critical system that requires attention is the member database. It has been a good system that has served us well, but it requires an update to meet modern standards and requirements, as there are issues with remote access and functionality, including the manual payment system and member profile updates.
It will be a large project that will be months in the planning, selection, integration and implementation; but will deliver a more reliable, streamlined, scalable and integrated solution.
We have reviewed our financial system and have implemented our financial manual, with improved processes, such as issuing of purchase orders and improved time keeping.
We have undertaken a personnel system review and updated contracts, job descriptions, policies and procedures.
While back office systems and processes are not sexy, they are the foundation that allows us to continue to deliver services to our membership efficiently and effectively.
I look forward to seeing you in the field or around branches.
Richard Light | Chief Executive Officer
Field & Game Australia
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