While we’re preaching to the choir when we say hunters play an important role in society and management of our environment, the science behind this sentiment has been in the public spotlight this month. ABC online coverage of a scientific study into wild meat hunting and consumption in Africa has shown hunters have smaller carbon footprints and can help preserve ecosystems. This is a study in a forest area being cleared for cattle grazing and scientists are now arguing that hunting should be supported and financially incentivised.
In Australia, where the bulk of our population can access mainstream food suppliers, there’s much less need to source our own food in the wild yet for many SSAA members, recreational hunting for the table is an important part of their lifestyle. This is illustrated by the success of the SSAA’s award-winning Field to Fork cookbook series and the homage it pays to our wild meat harvesting abilities in the public forum. Wild meat is healthy, environmentally friendly and presents opportunities to educate the wider Australian public about the valuable role a wild harvest can play in wildlife management.
As we work towards increasing the acceptance of hunting wild animals for food, the SSAA has engaged long-time associate Dr Graham Hall to highlight the sustainability of hunting ducks and quail in Australia. The aim of this project is to accumulate and objectively assess information which can be used for a risk assessment of hunting in relation to the adaptive management of ducks and quail.
An increasingly common tactic by the anti-hunting organisations is their use of political alliances to voice their objections and we’ve seen this play out in front of us time-and-time again. Now, with the support of a science-based report, our cause will stand even stronger against these unfounded arguments.
The tertiary study space in Australia is also adapting to our favour and teaching the benefits of hunting in wildlife management with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) launching a range of wildlife management courses in 2022. The SSAA and USQ have a long-time working relationship and it’s great to see further education opportunities opening up which highlight the importance of wildlife management as a conservation tool.
Finally on the home front, SSAA National is launching an online member survey this month, results from which will provide insight into who our members are and how you want to interact with your Association. The information collected will help guide the SSAA in its publications, lobbying and initiatives and participants will go into the running to win one of five $100 SSAA Online Shop vouchers.