By Willem de Valence
It has been a privilege for me to continue to drive our Association’s Youth Development portfolio during 2018 and it gives me really great pleasure to provide you with feedback on our initiatives during the year. Our goal within the Association remains to train juniors and involve them in all our activities to ensure a strong generation of ethical hunters for tomorrow. The Association continued to attract juniors to join throughout the year, and to share our love for hunting and for our beautiful country. A major reduction in joining fees for juniors has made it possible for juniors to join and this has allowed for a steady growth in junior members throughout 2018.
It is a fact that our juniors are quite engaged at school level with academics, sport and other extramural activities. As if this is not enough, schools are arranging all kinds of tours and sporting events during school holidays. This means that these activities compete with families going away during the school holidays. They also compete with hunting trips that traditionally take place during the same school holidays. This regretfully leaves the Association with very little time during the school holidays to spend with our hunters of the future. We have, however, been able to successfully arrange some events as reported for our younger hunting generation.
Despite the low attendance at branch activities and our juniors being engaged at school level, our juniors remain committed to our planned activities. In fact, most of our activities are sold out during the year, leaving us unable to accommodate all interested juniors. I must confess that it has been challenging to obtain support from adult trainers to run our junior events. This issue forced us to cancel one of our main events during the April 2018 school holidays.
To the few members who are always committed to assisting me with our junior events, a big thank you! Each of these committee members has voluntarily offered their personal time and effort, expecting nothing in return. I commend and thank each of these members and non-members, as well as the office staff – Chris, Hannelie and Rose – for their effort and commitment throughout the year. These members are instrumental in realising great value in this Association throughout the year and enabling us to make a difference in the hunting and conservation community in KwaZulu-Natal. To all our members who continued to add value to our Association, thank you very much for your unselfish and continuous support.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our junior members who have continued to support our various activities throughout the year. A big thank you goes to each of these members! Let’s continue to make use of all of the opportunities afforded to us to make our branch bigger, better and stronger for all junior members to enjoy.
Ezemvelo Phongola Dads and Lads/Lasses
It is with regret that holding this event has not been possible for the last three years due to the current drought suffered in the Phongola Game Reserve Controlled Hunting Area. As if this was not challenging enough, a recent land claim for this reserve has been successful. Despite this, the area has received some rain and we are looking forward to making use of this opportunity once again. However, the latest circumstances need to be considered and discussed with all affected stakeholders before this event will be an annual reality again.
Pongola Game Reserve Junior Hunt
This hunt, planned for the April 2018 school holidays, was quickly ‘sold out’ to our junior hunters, and unfortunately, we had to turn some interested juniors down for this event. Sadly, we had to cancel this event a few days before the school holidays, due to no adult trainer being available to join our junior hunters on this hunt.
Sijmen van der Merwe and I managed to arrange and finalise a June 2018 school holiday hunt at Pongola Game Reserve for the juniors who missed out in April 2018. Game hunted by our juniors during this week included Warthog, Impala and a Blue Wildebeest.
This event remains a highlight on our calendar and we are looking forward to the next event in 2019. It would be remiss of me not to thank Karel Landman and his family from Pongola Game Ranch for the generous opportunity and support to this Association with their commitment to this event. Please read the full story in the Nyala News magazine and have a look at the great pictures that were taken during the event.
Wildland ‘DOPPIE Vir Jeug’ Junior Hunt
The Wildland ‘DOPPIE Vir Jeug’ project is the Wildland hunting magazine’s youth development project, lead by the popular Jan de Man. This project is aimed at underprivileged juniors who have never hunted and would otherwise probably never get such an opportunity.
The Association has been supporting this project by sponsoring a copy of The Junior Hunter’s Handbook by Tim Ivins for all the junior hunters participating in this exciting project. The Association took our support for this project to a whole new level this year by availing a hunt for two KwaZulu-Natal-based juniors. Durban-based Tyrique Wels and Anro Henn were both juniors selected by Wildland magazine using special selection criteria from Jan de Man.
Tyrique and Anro visited Tonevale Game Farm with Jan de Man from 5-7 July 2018. After spending an intensive morning on the shooting range, each young man managed to hunt an Impala. The young men were allowed to keep the meat to put the biltong and wors recipes published in the Junior Hunter’s Handbook to the test back at home. Giepie, an expert taxidermist from Giepie’s Taxidermy, kindly agreed to tan the two Impala skins for the young men at no cost to them. Thank you very much for your continued support, Giepie!
This event has been made a reality thanks to the generous support from Leo Mattioda
and his family at Tonevale Game Farm. We thank the Mattiodas for their generous support, and for the opportunity to support this project and make a difference in the lives of our juniors.
I am confident that this event will become a highlight on our calendar and we look forward to working with Wildland again in 2019 to make a difference in the lives of aspiring junior hunters. Please read the full story in Nyala News, which will be printed with some pictures taken during the event.
The Association continues to look for hunting opportunities and support from our landowners. We urge landowners to contact your committee members should they be interested in getting involved with a junior hunting project. Alternatively, contact me on 084 270 8343 if you are in a position to assist in availing animals to be hunted by our juniors, or to provide support in developing our up-and-coming hunters. There is such a great need out there in our Association.
Our popular junior training events continued throughout the year at branch level. All branches will report back on these events in their Branch Reports. The branches will continue to run these courses in the new year and I invite all our juniors to make use of these exciting training camps. All interested juniors can contact a member of their Branch Committee for more information on these camps, or alternatively they can contact me on 084 270 8343.
It gives me great pleasure to report that the juniors in our association are active and committed. There is no doubt in my mind that this Association belongs to our junior members too, and that their active participation, continuous support and input will determine the Association’s state in the future. All the opportunities and possibilities are there, and are presented to our juniors each day. We must all just collaborate, train, coach and work together to ensure that these opportunities presented to us are not missed.
To all of our junior members, thank you to each of you for your support and participation in our activities and events. You have done us all very proud, and I look forward to your continued support in 2019. Best wishes for an awesome 2019!
A special word of thanks to my family and also to Chris, Hannelie and Rose who have supported me throughout the year in managing this portfolio.