By Bruce Ambrose
In addition to many phone calls and discussions, the Hunting Committee met formally three times during the year. The aim was to oversee hunting opportunities on existing farms/reserves that the Association has, as well as to source new hunting opportunities. It oversees the shooting portfolio as well.
Hunting at Phongolo Nature Reserve has not resumed since Ezemvelo halted our participation at the reserve some years ago. The matter is still outstanding on our agenda with Ezemvelo, and little progress has been made during the year. We have tried ceaselessly to get Ezemvelo to decide on this matter – and either to allow hunting to continue at Phongolo again or to provide a reasonable alternative. The concession holders are being disadvantaged by not being able to hunt on the reserve in terms of the contract. The Association is in an awkward position, as well as being out of pocket due to us not receiving any hunting packages during the past three years.
Kameelkop was oversubscribed once again, and we have stuck strictly to the list of names of members who were successful in the draw last year. The initial list extended to almost three years of hunting and we are now close to the end of the list. This will mean that another call will be made for interested members to submit their names to the office so that another draw can be made. This system ensures that all members who apply will be successful in getting to hunt at Kameelkop – names will be carried over to the following year/years as before. This year, to date, Kameelkop was visited by 83 hunters and 33 non-hunters. 160 animals were harvested and we collected R361 950 on behalf of the community.
Other popular destinations that we have administered include Tonevale, Ven Africa Ranches, Northington Estate and H&H Ranch. Members who were fortunate enough to secure hunting packages in the Eastern Cape reported abundant animals and successful hunting.
We will continue to seek new opportunities, and branches are encouraged to identify land owners who would be willing to offer hunting to our members.
Most Branches, including the sub-branches, hold shooting events and range days. This is great and needs to be continued.
However, shooting in the Durban area has been handicapped by the lack of a shooting range with the required distance of 200-300 metres. Whilst the Broadway range at Newlands West has provided the opportunity to sight in and practise, it has not been long enough for CHASA shoots. This range is currently being extended so that a number of gongs can be installed at distances up to 200-250m. We are hoping to confirm another suitable range in the greater Durban area, and this is progressing.
There will be increased activity in the shooting arena in this coming year. We have planned a .22 rimfire rifle shoot which is likely to be called the Kings Shoot (not to be confused with Kings Cup). Kings in Durban and Pietermaritzburg has agreed to support this event. We are also planning a Big Bore Shoot – for calibres over 9mm. There will also be gongs shoots as well as handgun events at the Broadway range. The aim is to increase the number of shooting activities in the Durban area. Most other Branches have a number of events each year, with over 50 events being offered to members collectively this year. The individual Branch reports will have specific details of these shooting and sports shooting events.
The shooting events are likely to grow in popularity and a lot of fun will be had by many members. Everyone is encouraged to join in – it will not be an ‘equipment race’ as normal hunting rifles will be used. Also, the events will include paper targets and gongs – so scoring will be as easy as hitting the gong (and not at ridiculous distances either). The idea is to have good fun and not make participants feel pressured.
The CHASA Proficiency Grading hunting rifle test has been reviewed and now offers a variety of options. Two of these have been designed specifically for members who just want to own more than four firearms and do not want to do the normal CHASA rifle test to enable them to hunt on Association-arranged hunts and in Ezemvelo-controlled hunting areas. CHASA has also introduced a test specifically for members who only want to be accredited as Dedicated Sports Shooters and not as Dedicated Hunters as well. Previously, a member would have to have been accredited as a DH first, which would then enable him or her to apply for Dedicated Sports Shooting status. Please contact your Branch Chairman for further information regarding this.
This portfolio falls under this committee but has been moved into its own portfolio. This is due to the size of the activity and scope of the department. A separate report from the Chairman appears in this booklet under this specific portfolio.