With more than 200,000 members across Australia, your Association is made up of a wide variety of shooters. Some of us are weekend ‘plinkers’, others more serious competitors be it with rifles, shotguns or handguns engaging in our many disciplines, but the majority of SSAA members identify as hunters. Even with hunting, there is a wide variety of reasons we go bush walking with a firearm in hand: culling to help keep our native flora and fauna balanced, engaging with the outdoors, trophy hunting and the big reason – sourcing food for the table.
Those of us who have been a SSAA member for a while will remember when we published Field to Fork – The Australian Game Cookbook. It is a glossy, coffee-table book made up of recipes from you, the members, and won a prestigious international award for best new cookbook in Australia in 2012. It showcased the many types of wild-harvest meats available in this great country like duck, goat, kangaroo, buffalo, rabbit, pork and venison and most importantly provided a talking point to explain one of the main reasons we go hunting to non-shooters. In the past decade we have sold thousands of copies to members and the general public and helped to spread the message that our recreation is sustainable, green and ethical. We take pride in being competent marksmen and women and hone our skills to ensure clean dispatches and safe outcomes.
With hunting comes an appreciation of our surroundings and the challenges the ever-changing climate and battle of the species can have on our plants and animals. Recently we have seen widespread drought then dramatic floods, fire, mouse plagues and increasing cat populations. We bare witness to these events and help provide the practical solutions through programs like Farmer Assist and our Conservation and Wildlife branches or as individuals or with friends on a weekend cull. Hunting and conservation goes together hand in glove. We are the true conservationists and it is up to us to teach others to hunt and to pass on other important skills.
To further promote and explain our recreation, we have published a second in the series of the Field to Fork cookbooks and titled it Field to Fork: Second Helpings. Again, it is a glossy, high-quality 130-page publication, with each recipe tested and photographed. It even features some of the more exotic proteins such as camel and crocodile as well as the more traditional table fare like venison, kangaroo and pork. Grab a copy for yourself from the SSAA Online Shop or, even more importantly, buy one for a friend or family member and have the conversation about why you go hunting and love the outdoors.