The SSAA has pulled off a major coup by linking up with David Ireland, as the self-dubbed Wildlife Man has come on board to orchestrate a series of videos about hunting and shooting. David’s films over the years have been aired by leading TV groups across the globe including Australia’s Channel Nine and the Discovery HD Channel.
The Wildlife Man has kept busy in the TV arena for more than 35 years and during that time admits to being exposed to some moments that meant he was dicing with danger. That’s not surprising when the creatures he has studied at close quarters have included whales, sharks, crocodiles, snakes, various species of African mammals, marsupials, birds and exotic insects.
“I have certainly copped a bit of damage along the way,” said David. “I have done the lot - from crocs to lions and more. Filming for the Discovery channel, I once had a wild boar put its tusk through my left arm. Then another time a boar smashed into my ribs which was a painful experience.”
The 70-year-old can claim to be one of the most enduring wildlife film producers on the scene. “I do all my own camerawork and filming and then the editing on top of that,” said David.
His book The Extraordinary Life of the Wildlife man: Death-Defying Encounters with Crocs, Sharks and Wild Animals is a best seller all over the world, with multiple sales especially in Australia and the US. On top of this, his YouTube channel recently racked up one million hits.
David’s family has various large properties scattered around the outback but his main base is Mudgee in New South Wales. The job of editing is undertaken at a studio at Caringbah in Sutherland Shire. There is also another studio which he uses at Castlecrag on Sydney’s lower North Shore.
And now he is delighted to be turning his attention to his latest project in tandem with the SSAA. The venture involves David taking centre stage to discuss numerous aspects of outdoor life from a shooter’s perspective. There are a total of 10 episodes that make up the series.
In a set of short segments soon to be shown on SSAA TV, David describes himself as a proud SSAA member and is resplendent in hat and shirt displaying our organisation’s logo. His vast experience in front of the cameras is immediately apparent and enable him to deliver his messages in a clear, concise manner, conveying an aura of learned authority.
The opening sequence finds the polished narrator outlining, in an animated fashion, the perpetual menace of feral animals to the fauna and flora of the outback as well as farms. He admits to having witnessed some of the “horrific problems” inflicted on native animals and livestock by the invasive ferals. David’s words are intoned against a backdrop of rugged wilderness with a river bubbling through.
One of the ways to tackle these wildlife pests and keep their numbers down is by hunting. David tells us that he has been hunting for more than 40 years. And he says: “The first question landowners and farmers will ask if you hunt on their property is do you have public liability (insurance)?” If you are a SSAA member, then the answer is yes. That is thanks to the SSAA Liability cover. As a further financial “safety net”, David outlines the benefits of SSAA members investing in the comprehensive cover of the $25 Members Firearms Insurance.
Next on the agenda are the merits of the SSAA Farmer Assist program. Under the umbrella of this initiative, SSAA members enlist and are designated to shoot feral marauders on farmland. “This is the best control program,” says David, giving his opinion. “Farmer Assist is a wonderful service for the landowner - he can save money, time and the environment.”
The closing portion of the screenings features David analysing the concept of the SSAA’s hunting rules of etiquette. “Basically, it’s just good manners,” he reflects. “You should always treat the property as if it was your own.” He offers practical examples of how to behave in respect of opening gates, lighting fires and where to drive your vehicles. Also of paramount importance is the issue of correct target identification when spotlighting.
The filming schedule is going well with the two latest episodes ready to be prepared before David embarks on a couple more early next year. “The next film will be concentrating on hunting next year and dealing with deer,” said David. “It will be on a very large property up in Queensland and we were hoping to have the filming already done but things got disturbed by the hurricane they had up there three or four months ago.”
David reaffirmed his commitment to tackling the scourge of feral animals. “I am heavily into the concept of feral animal control,” he said. “I have seen the damage they can inflict. And I have been a bow hunter and rifle hunter since I was 12 years old.”
All in all, David’s oratory brings a most worthwhile addition to the SSAA’s philosophy for shooters out in the field or on the range. Keep an eye out for these expert contributions on the SSAA TV channel in future months. The first episode is here.