MEMBERS CODE OF ETHICS AND CODE OF CONDUCT
The purpose of this document is to outline the rights and obligations of members of Victorian Hound Hunters Inc (VHH), including expectations of member conduct, as they engage in hunting Sambar deer with hounds in Victoria.
Members are strongly encouraged to pursue their hunting in a sustainable, ethical, and humane manner.
The principles and expectations are outlined below.
Animal Welfare – all animals involved in the pursuit of Sambar deer with hounds should be treated ethically and humanely.
- Members are encouraged to practice “fair chase” taking into consideration legal and ethical hunting practices. (If the critter gets away – let it go – hunt it another day).
- In order to assist in the effective management of game animals (Sambar) members should not target only trophy animals (Stags). Members should target and take males and females of all ages of the target species.
- Where practicable, the whole carcass of animals killed must be removed from public/private land. Where this is not practical, as much venison as possible should be salvaged and utilised appropriately. Carcasses must not be left in waterways, picnic areas, and other high public use areas.
- Only trained or hounds in training exhibiting correct temperament are to be used for hunting deer. Hounds, Deer Hunting Dogs, and Gun Dogs (as listed in the Victorian Wildlife (Game) Regulations, Schedule 5) must not be used to hunt deer if they have not been trained to ignore/avoid non-target wildlife and livestock.
- It is highly recommended that appropriate first aid training and awareness is undertaken, along with carrying necessary first aid equipment to render emergency first aid for hounds/dogs in the field.
- Whenever practicable GPS/radio tracking equipment is to be used to ensure the safe management and recovery of hounds/dogs.
- Hounds shall be kennelled in clean, safe, and escape-proof kennels.
- Hounds are to be kept in a fit and healthy condition through appropriate nutrition and regular exercise.
- Sick or injured hounds/hunting dogs are to receive appropriate medical attention.
- Regular vaccination programs along with preventative worming are essential.
- Hounds are to be transported in clean and humane conditions.
- Hounds over 12 months must be assessed by a hound assessor and registered with GMA.
- Hounds must be microchipped.
- Members should breed primarily for the purposes of improving quality and hunting ability and to replace deceased or retired hounds/hunting dogs. Hounds and hunting dogs should not be bred specifically for the pet or commercial market.
- Members are to take all reasonable steps to recover hounds at the end of a hunt. Members are strongly encouraged to make use of commercially available GPS and radio-tracking equipment to assist in the efficient and timely retrieval of hounds and hunting dogs.
- If members cannot locate a hound by the end of the hunt, they are to take all reasonable steps to do so as soon as possible. (The use of internet-based social media which has a large network of hunters and houndsmen/women has proven to be a highly effective way of reuniting hunters and their hounds/dogs).
- Where a member is advised that a hound/hunting dog has been recovered by a member of the public, he/she is to ensure that the hound/hunting dog is recovered as soon as possible.
RESPECT FOR RULES, REGULATIONS, AND PEOPLE
- Members are reminded to follow the laws, regulations, and codes of practice relating to hunting and the use of firearms in the State of Victoria.
- Members shall not conduct themselves in a manner that would bring discredit to hunting with hounds/dogs or VHH Inc.
- Members should be aware, especially when using social media, of how comments and photos may impact how hound hunters are perceived.
MEMBERS MUST DEMONSTRATE RESPECT;
- Respect other hunters;
- Respect other bush users;
- Follow all lawful instructions by representatives of government agencies;
- Remove and appropriately dispose of rubbish from campsites;
- Do not knowingly trespass on private property;
- Respect the environment and all native animals and flora;
- Do not use ungazetted roads;
- Abide by any DEWLP requirements regarding fires; and
- Assist other bush users wherever possible.
Members are reminded that having a full understanding of Victorian Firearms Safe Handling is the responsibility of the individual.
This information can be found at https://www.firearmsafety.org.au
- Members are expected to follow approved hunting methods and equipment rules, comply with seasons and hunting times, and must have a current Game Licence endorsed for hunting Sambar Deer with hounds. Full details can be found on the Game Management Authority website at Deer hunting methods and laws – Game Management Authority (gma.vic.gov.au).
- Members should ensure that firearms and support equipment are well maintained and in good operating condition.
- Members should check regularly ensuring they are acting in accordance with up-to-date information relative area intended to be hunted. The More to Explore website and app provided by DELWP (available on the Apple App store or Google Play Store) is recommended.
- Members are encouraged to plan and manage their hunts carefully. Consideration should be given to the following:
- The location of the hunt and its proximity to towns and populous places, high public use areas, restricted areas and private property.
- Areas where predator control programs are being conducted (Leg-hold traps, 1080 poisoning).
- Members should ensure that all members of the hound team are familiar with the area and are aware of all access and egress routes, have suitable and effective radio/mobile phone communications, suitable vehicles and recovery equipment and are skilled in the use of GPS/Radio tracking units.
ENFORCEMENT OF THE CODE OF ETHICS AND CODE OF CONDUCT
On occasion, the Executive of VHH Inc. may have information presented that requires investigation. At that point, a review of information from direct contact and discussion with parties identified may result in disciplinary action that could include membership/s being revoked.
*This code may be amended from time to time to reflect legislative and policy changes.