Hunters’ gradual return can bolster economy for our rural friends

The shooting fraternity, like everyone else, has been living through turbulent times in this strangest of years as we try to cope with the effects of COVID-19. But gradually restrictions seem to be lifting and there may finally be better days ahead - we don’t quite know when but it will happen! So now, as the chaotic year of 2020 nears its close, there are ways SSAA members can lend a helping hand to some of those in our community who would really appreciate the support.

I’m thinking mainly of the influence and knock-on effects hunters can have. As we eventually go back to the norm of reconnecting with our glorious countryside in pursuit of game animals, it’s worth taking on board that our presence can invigorate those regional areas which have suffered so much during the past months.

Remember Australia’s rural environs have grappled with drought, flood and fire since the calendar ticked over into 2020 then, on top of all that, came the dreaded pandemic and all the associated social hardships. So please try to visit these expanses and buy fuel, spend cash on a burger and so on as every little bit will help people get back on their feet. They’re good enough to provide hunting opportunities for our eager members so let’s give something back. It’s important we offer our backing and don’t make them feel like they’ve been forgotten. But at the same time remember to stay safe yourselves.

Amid all the distraction it’s good to enjoy some respite via a magical milestone for the SSAA as this month the Association passed the remarkable landmark of clocking up 200,000 members. It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey since our humble inception at a meeting of interested parties in Sydney way back in 1948, but having achieved this milestone I’m confident we’ll continue to push on and go from strength to strength as we cement the freedoms of our loyal members.

They relish participating in what I proudly continue to emphasise is a safe and family-friendly sport enjoyed by all age groups and abilities. I won’t go into detail about the SSAA story down the years, but rather point readers to pages 18-23 of this month’s Shooter magazine which gives a thorough and comprehensive overview of how we came to be where we are now.

Once we’ve taken stock of this achievement there’s much to look forward to in the coming months on the reading front with more than a handful of publications under the SSAA umbrella to peruse and appreciate. Next month’s Australian Shooter will provide a welcome distraction in the lead-up to the festive season and coupled with this will be another significant marker with the 75th edition of Australian Hunter. Also coming soon is our annual Australian & New Zealand Handgun and as we head into the New Year we’ll be releasing the third edition of our ground-breaking and award-winning periodical Great Australian Outdoors.

That seems a fitting note on which to end, as I stress again the opportunity for the hunting contingent among our now 200,000-plus strong ranks to be out and about supporting our regional friends.

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