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

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