NEWCASTLE BRANCH REPORT

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Post Date: 28 Nov 2019

By Geoff Müller

MEETINGS & NYALA NIGHTS (Socials):

As always, quite a number of activities and events were planned and scheduled for 2019. But unfortunately some of the shoots and meetings were cancelled due to the Chairman and some of the committee members not available, due to unforeseen circumstances. Therefore it was not a very active year as planned.

Unfortunately, like all previous years, we lost some and gained some members for the duration of 2019. Total members at present are 109, a drop from last year’s 124.

EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES:

• Organized Branch Shoots:

The following organised Branch Shoots took place:

Pre-season Hunting Challenge combined with Postal Shoot:

The Postal Shoot took place on the 9th of March 2019. The Pre-hunting Challenge is to prepare for the annual hunting season or to simply indulge in the Postal shoot consisting of target and gong shoot becoming a popular shoot among shooters.

An on-going challenge towards improving shooting abilities and the primary objective was to create a shoot that would include an element of field practicality, basic shooting positions from realistic distances while at the same time making it fun and interesting. The day was a great success and was attended by some 26 members.

Unfortunately the TOP GUN was cancelled this year due to double bookings but I am sure that with constant perseverance from all concerned we will get the Association’s premier event to be a “full house” for shooters in the not too distant future.

• Branch Two Monthly Shoots:

The Branch two monthly shoots are still on-going to ensure we stay on par with out shooting skills. These casual shoots are well attended by members particularly during the hunting season.

Congrats to one of our members, Anthony Barraball, who did exceptionally well by coming 3rd this season in the National Rifle League in South Africa. The top 5 Elite competitors will be eligible to go to the USA Championship this December 2019 to shoot with the best of the best. We are indeed proud to have him as a member of our Branch and Association!

TRAINING:

Two of our members completed the Range Officer Course and another will be scheduled for next year as there is a vast interest between members. We continue to urge our members to complete the Proficiency graded course.

CONSERVATION:

Our members once again assisted with the Oribi Count at the Chelmsford Nature Reserve that took place on the 26th October 2019.

The Branch was also involved in supporting the combating of illegal hunting with dogs to reduce the negative effects of such activity on many wildlife species including the Oribi. Advice was given to various groups and landowners in need.

Some of our members were, to some extent, involved with Damage Causing Animal Control (DCAC).

If ever there was a nature lover’s paradise, it must surely be South Africa, for few areas in the world can rival ours in terms of beauty of the land and the sheer variety and abundance of wild animals, fish, birds, reptiles, insects and plants.

And yet it is painfully evident to anyone who spends time in nature or takes an interest in wildlife, this paradise is threatened by carelessness and lack of interest. Areas that swarmed with life are infertile wastelands, once sparkling rivers are choked with industrial effluents and a multitude of species of fauna and flora that were common a few decades ago have been wiped out forever.

At the root of the abuse and destruction of our natural inheritance is a lack of respect for the network of life in which we are a fundamental factor. Unlike our ancient forefathers (who, of necessity, lived so much closer to the primal heartbeat of Mother Nature) the city dweller exists, for the most part, artificially insulated from the natural world.

Both young and old and from all walks of life should commit themselves, halting the downward spiral into ecological disaster and striving to regain the delicate balance with nature that we have so obviously lost.

KAMEELKOP GAME RESERVE:

The game count took place on the weekend of the 23rd of February 2019 and a second one will take place sometime in November 2019 to confirm the counts of some game. It seems that the Kameelkop Hunt Packages are a great success and an exceptionally good year with regards to hunting.

We strive to continuously apply game farm management to ensure the increase in some of the number of animals at the same time to safeguard continuous sustainability as well as good hunting.

Maintenance is still one of our main objectives and we do our utmost best to keep the standard high. Hard work and effort went into Kameelkop Game Reserve during the year to assist with maintenance and conservation.

The grass was very tall this year and this was a very big concern due to runaway fires and extremely difficult hunting. Once again we had several runaway fires but they were well managed and brought under control.

In addition, we found that it was an exceptionally good year for the game. Plenty of calves and lambs were observed in the reserve.

A word of thanks to all that helped with managing Kameelkop. Our objectives for next year will be to continue with renovations, improvements and the introduction of Blue Wildebeest.

GENERAL

Once again to all the dedicated people, who are actively involved, one way or another, to promote the interests of the Branch and for the good attendance during the year regarding those events and activities that did take place, must be thanked for their efforts.

I would like to thank all the EXCO Members and Head Office Staff for their support, participation and good communication during the past year.

I would also like to take this opportunity of wishing you all the very best for 2020 and I trust that 2020 will be everything that you wish for yourselves and your loved ones.

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