By Mervyn Naidoo | Originally published in the Sunday Tribune on 30 August
Most hunters and game farm owners did not want to speak to the Sunday Tribune, but farm owner Mias Venter was open, and vowed that he was a nature lover.
He said most people demonised hunters out of ignorance. He added that hunting on his farm was run according to strict rules. “If a hunter doesn’t have a hunting licence, he’s out. If he is unable to hit the target at the sighting, he’s sent home to work on his aim.” Venter said that if a hunter shot the wrong species, he was charged.
There are no wholesale slaughters on his ranch. Animals chosen to be shot are not aware of what is coming. “If that is the definition of a bloodthirsty person, then I think a lot of people have the wrong opinion of hunters. My ranch is run in an ethical manner to protect both the hunter and the animal
“I’m a conservationist operating a game farm and I know hunting is a necessity. Animals reach the end of their economic life span and that’s when we take them out.” Only 30 animals were hunted on Venter’s farm in the past year. He said he could have had about 100 more animals killed, but he didn’t.
“You cannot kill more than you can sustain; it would upset the balance of nature,” he said. The farmer said some hunters from overseas had visited his farm, but most of his clients were locals who hunted to make biltong.
Venter’s wife, Cathrin, a practising clinical psychologist, said they were passionate about wildlife. “When we are not on our farm, we visit other game farms as a family.”
“We’ve shed a lot of tears when our animals were killed after a rainy or cold spell, struck by lightning or killed by hail the size of golf balls,” Cathrin said.