The Field & Game Australia’s Northern Territory branch has won $1000 from their awards sweep at the 2019 FGA annual general meeting.
“We are very lucky to have some really pro-active members,” branch president Stephen Lees said.
The branch’s very own Andrew Brock also took out a Member Service Award for his exceptional contributions.
“Andrew’s been with the branch a long time,” Mr Lees said.
“It takes a lot of effort to run and maintain a branch and the unsung heroes are the volunteers that commit to showing up every time with a smile on their face and a can-do attitude.”
Mr Lees said Andrew is one of those members who if you call him for help, he responds.
“There’s no one thing I can put my finger on and say this is the reason he deserves this award – he just chips away at little projects and has been a key member in the background.
“We hope all our members aspire to jump in and do as much as you can with the club like Andrew does.”
Another unsung hero is Bart Irwin – one of the founding members of the Northern Territory branch.
Mr Lees said Bart plays a pivotal role in the branch’s media and is a key force behind their Media Award win at the AGM.
“We’re quite lucky to have Bart,” he said.
“He worked for the Northern Territory news for 20 years and he writes a weekly column in the newspaper promoting conservation and anything relevant to FGA.”
“He’s a spokesperson for the branch.”
Bart isn’t the only reason the branch won the media award however.
They also write a weekly newsletter to branch members, communicate via email, put up flyers promoting and welcoming people to their shoots, and do as much as possible on Facebook.
“We just implemented an SMS messaging system into the club to communicate about shoot days,” Mr Lees said.
Mr Lees said their branch message is all about promoting ethical hunting.
“We always push ourselves in a positive light – a positive ethical hunting group,” he said.
“Our conservation work plays a big part in it. Hunting is a part of our sport, but it’s only 25 percent of what we do, the rest is conservation.”
“Conservation is extremely important to myself and the club.”
Mr Lees said every ethical hunter should know you must look after the game and environment if you are to maintain a sustainable population, no matter what the game is.
“We have worked hard to develop a relationship with the government as well as parks and wildlife to show that we as an organisation are committed to the successful management of wetlands throughout the Northern Territory and to be the go-to organisation for the development of wetlands and waterfowl management,” he said.
This hard work payed off with the branch placing second for the Blue Wing Trophy.
They also won the Vermin Control Award.
“The Northern Territory has a multitude of game animals, so we are lucky in the fact that we have a lot of game related shoots, crop mitigation shoots,” Mr Lees said.
“Bart works pretty tirelessly to secure properties for our members to hunt on.”
“We go and speak to the farmers, see if they have an issue with their crops being taken and we assist them in applying for a crop mitigation permit.”
“With that permit you have to maintain how many animals are being taken- we maintain a register of everyone who goes out on these hunts, membership numbers and the number of animals they take so we can stay within the permit.”
Mr Lees says this really helps out farmers, in particular, fresh produce growers.
“Some mango growers were losing 25-30 percent of their crop to the damage of magpie geese," he said.
"They are like locusts, they set in on a crop and destroy it and can do a lot of damage over a short period of time."