I spent last weekend at the SSAA Property at Captain's Mountain (for those
of you who need to know the area, this is about 20km west of Milmerran a
town on the Darling Downs of Queensland). I was in the company of my
husband, a shooter and also a member of BirdLife Australia, as well as about
40 other members of a Gold Coast Shooting Club. By the way, this property
is run as a nature refuge and all wildlife is protected. The only shooting
of guns that takes place is on various ranges at inanimate targets, under
the strict control of various Range Officers. The only shooting of wildlife
was done by me with my camera.
I have formed very definite opinions about shooting ducks - IT SHOULD NOT BE
ALLOWED! Not one of the shooters I was with last weekend would be able to
identify which species was able to be shot and which species wasn't - not
even my husband. They would not even know that there are such birds as
Coots, Moorhens and Grebes - to the uneducated, they are all ducks.
Unfortunately, most of these people are very nice and very respectable and
would not intentionally break the law, they are just ignorant. I showed
them a slide show of the photos I had taken over the weekend and some were
very interested but NONE knew what any of the birds except for a Willie
Wagtail, were. Others were not very interested in the photos mostly the
younger males who'd shoot at anything if permitted.
As, to my great disgust, shooting ducks in Victoria appears to be here to
stay for a few years - birders could lobby the government for a far better
level of training to enable correct duck i.d. by shooters before they get
out into the great outdoors if it is possible for these people to become
experts at identifying a flying bird whilst the adrenalin is pumping in
their veins BUT my other even greater wish is that if shooters go out to
shoot ducks or ferals in National Parks, they must take a registered Wild
Life Spotter (say 1 spotter to 4 shooters) with them, whose job it is to
identify the targets and also officially report back to whichever government
department controls the shooting, what is shot, how many and how many got
away but were injured. There would be a cost involved to the shooters but
they pay quite high range fees etc. to go to shoot at gun ranges and don't
seem to mind.
The other major point that should be made law is NO ALCOHOL should be
allowed to be consumed whilst any person is in possession of a firearm,
whether in use or locked away in a strongbox in a vehicle at a campsite.
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