Hunting has opened the earth to me and let me sense the rhythms and hierarchies of nature.-Charles Fergus
2018 PRESIDENT’S REPORT
By Bruce Ambrose
Dear Fellow Hunters
Over the last few issues, I have concentrated on the financial and administrative matters that have bothered our Association. In the main, these are now well under control and remedial actions have been taken to stabilise the situation. Furthermore, we have changed a number of items to ensure that we are not vulnerable in the future.
Whilst we will always be in need of additional funds for our various activities, we are now financially stable and viable again. Hopefully we can start to gain additional members again – all of whom will assist the Association to prosper. I have also focused on member behaviour. We have been plagued by members not having the correct licences when out hunting. As a general reminder: with the exception of open game and unprotected wildlife, a hunting licence is necessary for every animal hunted and the licence is not transferable.
Therefore, any party out hunting may not have, collectively within their group, a licence for a specific specie. The hunter who pulls the trigger must have the applicable licence/permit in his/her name. Therefore, you cannot legally register your kill on somebody else’s licence. Also, shoot only what is on your quota for that hunt.
Enough of this – let’s get onto some more positive stuff. As an Association, what do we get up to during the year? Many of our members are very active in a number of fields. They enjoy the opportunity to participate and reap good benefits from this participation. We are occasionally asked the following questions by members: what does the Association do for me and what activities are available to me?
- Our aim is to obtain hunting opportunities that provide 3 000 animals per year. We achieve this from private land owners as well as Ezemvelo and other provinces.
- Wildland junior mentor hunting programme – we are involved with the Wildland/Wildman franchise in enabling children from low-income families to experience the wonder of nature and participate in an ethical hunt.
- As an accredited Hunting and Shooting Association, we are represented on the following:
-Provincial Hunters Advisory Committee to Ezemvelo;
-National Hunters Forum engaging with SAPS/Central Firearms Registry officials;
-Board members of the national Confederation of Hunting Associations of SA (CHASA).
- Our Branches offer some 50 shooting competitions per year.
- We are approved to accredit members who wish to be classified as Dedicated Sports Shooters. This entitles them to own multiple firearms for sporting activities, such as clay target shooting; handgun and rifle target shooting; simulated hunting shooting, metal gong target shooting; three-gun shooting.
- Scores for recognised shooting competitions can be logged on the CHASA website ranking page where members of all affiliated CHASA Associations can view the results.
- We have our own Range Officers course through CHASA and do get involved in firearm training at Branch level. However, we are not an accredited firearms training centre and therefore may not issue Certificates of Competency as required by the Firearms Control Act.
- We issue endorsements for firearm applications for members for hunting and/or sports shooting purposes, which certainly assist with the firearm licence being approved by SAPS/CFR.
- We are affiliated, via CHASA, to the National Rifle Association in the USA and have accreditation to compete in all the shooting disciplines that they offer.
- There are several biodiversity projects within KZN that we are involved in. Our relationship and involvement with the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Conservation Outcomes is growing.
- We also are involved in events such as the annual beach clean-up etc.
- Training sessions – such as wildlife awareness, track and scat walks, etc – are conducted for the Conservancy movements in KwaZulu-Natal. Support for the landowners covers a wide number of activities and types of assistance.
- Communities enjoy our assistance in working towards stamping out poaching in their areas. We are currently engaging with some communities to combat poaching, such as the one in Ladysmith – with the assistance of all our partners. This takes the form of spending a few days with the community and coming to an agreement regarding poaching and illegal dog hunting. We and our partners meet with the traditional leaders and chiefs and advise them of the legislation detailed in the Nature Conservation Ordinance.
- Communities sometimes need assistance in establishing and maintaining expropriated game farms for the benefit of all members. We also administer hunting and other accommodation bookings on these properties.
Wildlife Ranching South Africa
- CHASA set up an initiative of co-operation between Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) and CHASA member associations. Our relationship with local WRSA members is growing stronger each year and the level of cooperation is expanding.
- Member hunting training programmes consist of training junior and senior members in aspects of wildlife management, hunting, ethics and firearm-related subjects. Successful candidates can apply to be registered as Dedicated Hunters, enabling them to own more than four firearms for hunting.
- Combined conservation training programmes are offered in conjunction with WESSA, KZN Wildlife, EWT and FreeMe for both adults and the youth.
- We are actively involved in anti-poaching, training and counter-operations.
- Together with SA CAN, KZN Wildlife, SAPS, EWT, FreeMe and the like, we offer symposiums to create awareness of poaching and other wildlife issues.
- Our teams are directly involved in collaborative work with other organisations to effectively reduce poaching activities.
Damage Causing Animal Control
- We also serve a role as a go-to group who can give advice on an eco-friendly and conservation-minded approach to problem animal control. This advice is based on natural animal behaviour, and whenever possible, we support non-lethal means of controlling animals.
- A significant number of our members are Honorary Officers with KZN Wildlife.
- We also assist KZN Wildlife with various animal counts and other projects. Basically, we provide extra hands to perform tasks when they are short-staffed.
All of our branches should be holding Waterholes, shoots and other activities regularly during the year. Many Branches have very well patronised activities, whereas other Branches are not so fortunate. A Branch is really as successful as its members allow it to be. Thanks go to all committee members who contribute to Branch activities and well-being. Branch activities are the real heart of our Association.
From the above, it is clear that we are trying to support those like-minded organisations and communities that warrant support because of the work they do and the service they provide.
Furthermore, the range of activities on offer is wide, and this enables most of our members to be able to participate in something that they have an interest in. Without the activities that these various organisations undertake – and our members’ interest and concern – our hunting opportunities will be greatly reduced and our province the poorer for it.
A strong appeal goes out for each one of you to have a good think about what is important to you and what you would like to support – and then get involved. There is always room for more members to get involved in these activities. Get in touch with your Branch Committee members and get involved. It is most rewarding to do so.
Wishing you all an adventurous and successful hunting season!