Meetings and Reports

VHH President’s Report May 2017.

The 2017 Hound season is well under way and once again many crews are experiencing success with some fine trophies being taken.   The same issues have arisen regarding access to more hunting country.   It makes common sense to the hunters that more country would be available if the –

  • National Parks were open to hounds managed by tracking equipment
  • Baiting programs were managed around the hound season
  • Unnecessary road closures were lifted.
  • The proposed Great Forest National Park is not implemented.

These 4 x topics along with the inclusion of more suitable hound breeds remain a focus of the VHH.   Unfortunately we do not have a magic wand and change takes time.   Unlike your unions at work, we do not have a great deal to bargain with, for example we cannot refuse to unload trucks, stop driving trains, or cut an electricity supply.   We do however work alongside other hunting organisations and engage with the Game Management Authority (GMA) in order to lobby government for suitable changes to legislation.  The VHH also submit correspondence and attend meetings with government ministers in order to press our claims on behalf of all hound hunters.   The last meeting held by the GMA was September 13th 2016, the next meeting is proposed for June or July 2017 on a date to be fixed.

Recent criticism levelled at the VHH for failing to adopt an adversarial or an aggressive style of lobbying has been noted by the committee, however we will continue with our cooperative style of doing business.   History shows us that more gains have been made (inclusion of harriers, 8 x hounds, tracking equipment, and a better season) by adopting this approach, compared to the aggressive approach of past administrations which failed to achieve any traction.

The State Government initiated a RESPECT campaign that has been driven by the GMA.  The aim of this campaign is to improve the public perception of hunting, by promoting responsible and ethical behaviour by hunters.   The VHH along with other hunting organisations were encouraged by the GMA to assist them in promoting the RESPECT objectives and principles.   The VHH has cooperated with the GMA and continue to work with them to improve the standing of all hunters in the community. The VHH initiated the ‘Captain’s Table’, a program designed to promote ethical behaviour through the mentoring of hunters by the leadership groups within hound crews.   Compliance statistics and a reduction in complaints indicate that the RESPECT and ‘Captain’s table’ initiatives are having a positive impact on the hunting scene.  On that note I will leave you with this fact – It is the court of public opinion that will steer our future.   So please consider your behaviour whilst engaging with the public.

I wish everyone all the best for the remainder of the season.

Mark Hesse


November 4 2014

 I am looking forward to this night, as MC I’ll be in a suit, however I’ve had plenty of people ask me about the dress code – neat casual, dress like you’re going to the pub for tea, however I’m tipping the chicks will want to dress up; after a long hound season it is their night as well.   Picked up 10 tickets for some immediate family and friends ( 1 x couple don’t even hunt but they admire the culture).   It is a culture, a tradition, our way of life.   Those who oppose us make out that they just don’t get it, they see us as nothing but rednecks and back wood Hillbillies; I believe deep down they have to be jealous.   Our history is deep and legendary, most importantly it is recorded in photos and stories.   We have young teenage hunters who will sit around a fire on Friday night and listen intently to the same stories every week told by the old blokes.   I still remember the detail of all the stories I listened to 40 years ago.
Our struggle to survive is ever present, our pursuit to improve our conditions is even tougher.   I was pumped the other night at Healesville to see so many hound trucks and a heap of young blokes.   The politics must have bored them to death but they knew they had to be there and they responded, they assembled along side the old blokes, and in a show of strength made it clear to the politicians that we have a tradition that we are going to fight for.
Camaraderie, and a sense of belonging is important to us all.   Get along to this ball, shin dig, night out, end of year break up, and have a great time belonging to the most traditional hunting culture in Australia.   Make no mistake we are a stronger, more bonded fraternity of hunters than any where else in the world.   We are Victorian Hound Hunters, come along and enjoy the night.   

October 14

There is a National Park proposed by the greens that covers all of the Big River and Parts of the Goulburn.  It is aimed at the Timber Industry in order to protect the Lead beaters possum habitat.   We will lose large areas of valuable hound hunting territory if this Park is approved.

With the State Election taking place in November, we must show our disapproval of such a park and pin down the politicians on their position with this park.    Meet the State Election Candidates at the Healesville Football Club at 6pm on Thursday the 30th of October 2014.   There will be a free sausage sizzle and the meeting will get underway at 7.

I am going to keep reminding everyone about this meeting. WE MUST ASSEMBLE EN MASS! Encourage all bush user groups to get there: motor bike riders, 4 x 4 clubs, horse riders, campers and fishermen. We have to draw a line in the sand with these extreme, out of control, greens.   If we get a poor turn out then the politicians will assume that this park is not a big issue.

I would expect every hound hunter to be there. If you think “we don’t hunt the Big River or the Goulburn, then it doesn’t concern us” then think again, all of those hunters who get kicked out will be looking for somewhere else to go. Things are tight enough as it is.

This Park has the potential to be the first big issue since the Foxhound ban, don’t sit on your hands and think someone else will go, we must pack the joint to the rafters.

Mark Hesse
VHH President


November 2012

In response to the notifications from DSE regarding pest animal poisoning programs to control wild dogs, our President, Mark Hesse sent the following acknowledgement:

To: kathleen gosney
Subject: RE: 1080 Pest Animal Bait Notification

Thanks again Kathleen,

At VHH we are responsible for the management of many hounds and we appreciate these notifications from you. Our members pour extreme amounts of time and money into their hounds and to lose one to a bait would be a tragedy.

I was at a forum recently where Mr. Simon Toop addressed the audience in relation to the hound/wild dog issue. Simon made it clear that recent testing revealed that there has not been any hunting hound DNA found in any of the wild dogs tested. In addition to this it is clear from recent studies that the scent trailing hound does not have the genetic make up that would allow him to survive in the wild. This is something that we, as hound breeders, have known all along.

We are appreciative and proud of the current relationship we have with the DPI and look forward to working with your department in 2013. Once again thankyou for the baiting notification/consultation.

Mark Hesse
VHH President.


8th May 2012

Vehicular transport of firearms in the field

Firearms and ammunition must be separate at all times.
Ammunition stored in the magazine, including having the magazine away from the rifle in your pocket or glove box etc. is still deemed to be “loaded”.

Firearms can be bagged behind the seat.
Ammunition must be in a locked metal container – This should be in a locked metal tool box.


Common faults of hound hunters to be avoided

Loose rounds or loaded mags in the glove box, on the floor, under the seat, pockets of clothing, back packs in the vehicle etc..

If you have to step out onto the road, please empty the firearm and magazine. Lock the bullets away upon arrival at the vehicle, even when getting a lift from a fellow hunter.

Law enforcement agencies have already received complaints about hound hunters in relation to standing over stalkers in National Parks – “We’re hunting here, piss off” is unacceptable behaviour from hound hunters. Please be aware there are specific offences that cover this behaviour, convictions in this area will impact on your suitability to retain a firearms licence.

Complainants are being encouraged to take registration numbers of vehicles and then provide witness statements in order to capture evidence.

I’d like to remind everyone that we are a family friendly organization, and we have a ‘common courtesy’ approach to other bush users.

The other side of the coin also applies, if you are on the receiving end of unreasonable treatment by other bush users then please compile the details and let me know.
Mark Hesse – President


16th April 2012

Meeting re. compilation of the Victorian Game Management Council

On the 16/04/2012, I attended a meeting at the DPI Head Office to discuss the composition of the Victorian Game Management Council. I was invited to the meeting by Mr Bill Sykes and Mr Simon Toop. Also present were members from Game Con. and the SSCV (secretary Mr Michael Kalidonis, a VHH member). As with all meetings chaired by Mr Sykes, one leaves with a positive attitude in relation to the hunting future in this State. The Victorian Game Management Council composition will have a representative from each of the major hunting groups, VHH, F&G SSAA Game Con. SSCV etc. There will also be seats for other stakeholders, DSE, Parks Victoria, Experts in Private Land and Agriculture Management etc. This council will meet at regular forums and provide advice to government on sustainable hunting management, management of game habitat, research into game species, ways to improve hunting opportunities including access to hunting areas, and many other issues related to hunting. One of the main aims of this council is to facilitate interaction and partnerships between game hunting organisations, industry and the Department and other relevant government agencies, Parks Victoria, DSE etc. VHH must remain committed to forming partnerships and offering our services where suitable.

I was able to discuss the wild dog problem (and associated baiting) at this meeting. I advised the group that the wild dog problem in this state has it’s roots back in the 1800’s resulting from dogs originating from gold mining and timber harvesting camps; along with pastoral dogs from drovers, and settlements such as the Wonnangatta Station. This evidence based explanation has more merit than recent explanations of stray hunting dogs, and family pets that can’t read National Park signs. I suggested that modern baiting practices were a failure and the snare was a more suitable option. The wild dog problem presents an opportunity for the VHH to assist the government by way of shooting these feral pests, and to perhaps utilise our bitches on heat in the off season in areas to lure the dogs to a central location. I did not claim that the VHH has the solution, only that we are thinking ‘outside the square’ and we are prepared to table options for discussion. Perhaps the Department could formulate a test with an associated game licence endorsement to allow our members to hunt wild dogs in all areas, in return for baiting programs that are conducted only during our off season. I am keen to hear from any members who have ideas in relation to VHH involvement in the wild dog issue. Mr Sykes was keen to hear our offer of support, this issue is a major problem for the Department.

Please note that VHH members can now claim the $50 bounty for wild dog scalps!

During his summing up, Mr Sykes mentioned the utilisation of hunters in vermin control, and the associated contribution (partnership) that hunters can make. He also touched on the future amendments to the Game Regulations, stating there is a need for the government to deliver on “common sense changes” to hound hunting.

The message from the hunting organisations is clear “INVOLVE US, LISTEN TO US, ACT ON OUR ADVICE”

Mark Hesse – President


13th February 2012

I attended a meeting with the Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare, in relation to the “puppy farm” legislation that was introduced at the start of the year.

There are very tight restrictions and associated fines imposed on commercial breeders. To meet the definition of a commercial breeder one has to have 3 or more fertile bitches and offer pups for sale. I don’t think this will impact on the average hound hunter. To have 3 x bitches and trade in dogs whilst not being registered as a commercial breeder is a serious breach of this legislation and the fines are extremely high.

For this reason the VHH will no longer facilitate the sale or trade of dogs in any form, therefore we will not be able to use our newsletter for advertising and we won’t be able to allow pup sales at microchip days or other functions.

Mark Hesse – President


1st February 2012

Geoff Maggs and I went to a meeting with the DPI to enable some final input into the amendments to the Wildlife Regs, due in September this year. We were very pleased with the proposed changes as they relate to hound hunting:

  1. Introduction of the Harrier as a third breed suitable for hunting sambar. The Harrier will be assessed for registration against the ANKC standards—max. Height 53.35 cm (21 inches), typical hound conformation and colour. Bred in the UK for centuries to hunt Hares, and commonly referred to as the hound between a Beagle and a Foxhound.
  2. Registration of an adult hound (12 months and older) for life, lifting the requirement 3 year re assessments.
  3. Juvenile hounds in training (under 12 months) will not be counted in the pack of five, allowing for 3 x pups in training, maximum pack of eight.
  4. Legalise the use of electronic tracking equipment and radios during the hunt, in the interest of efficient hound management.
  5. Removal of the requirement to have the hunter’s address on the collar. This can be replaced by the hound’s registration number. Also the removal of the metal tag requirement, allowing cattle type tags.
  6. Introduction of a ‘grandfather clause’ to cover all existing registered hounds to retain that registration for the remainder of their life.
  7. An extension to the crew numbers, 10 x adults and 2x juniors.

Mark Hesse – President