Playing our part to make 2018 another successful year

After all the challenges we have faced in the past, your SSAA has never been in a stronger position to protect the interests of sporting shooters and recreational hunters. At the same time, the opportunity to grow the shooting sports has never been greater. The formal aspect of our support and representative role is well established and becoming stronger, with our SSAA Legislative Action department driving our political activities; but it is critical that all individual members take a proactive stance and accept personal responsibility to show that we are worthy of the respect that we demand.

The writings in our various magazines, including Australian Shooter, the quarterly Australian Hunter and annual Australian & New Zealand Handgun, reflect so many of these values that we need to promote.

Responsibility for ourselves should never be understated if we don’t want to be a contributor to the values of a ‘nanny state’. Peter Bindon in his regular Australian Shooter column always has some wise words of advice for operating in the harsh Australian environment. Brad Allen in the latest Australian Hunter has addressed the vexed question of quad bike safety. The increase in the use of quad bikes among hunters is significant and is probably the greatest current rural danger in Australia.

Again, from the recent Australian Hunter, Christie Pisani, an experienced paramedic and hunter, covers aspects of first aid that often occur in isolated locations, just by the very nature of the environment. Eye and ear protection is often lauded but often compromised for convenience. Con Kapralos, in this very magazine, has penned an excellent article on state of the art SportEAR hearing protection for those already suffering some hearing loss (that is most of us) and the hunter or competitor who rarely wears ear protection because of bulk or discomfort. As one who fits into this category, I myself have taken this advice on board and wisely invested in these SportEAR devices that are arguably the best available to protect what cannot be repaired.

This month sees David Ireland, who many of you may know as The Wildlife Man, grace the cover to promote our partnership as we launch a video series focusing on ways to safely enjoy the great outdoors. Many of you will recall David’s popular wildlife films, which have been shown around the world on major television networks. The 10-episode series will be rolled out on our SSAA TV YouTube channel. There are, of course, many other excellent examples of quality information on improving equipment and skills for those who care to take the time and trouble to read them. Our website, also provides a wealth of invaluable information.

We must also consider the recognition and promotion of junior shooters wherever possible. Mentor a junior hunter in the ethics and responsibilities of hunting, the need for good equipment, practice and the necessity of a humane kill and use of the resource. Take a junior to the range as often as possible and better still, sponsor a SSAA junior membership. Again, I recommend the writings of Brad Allen as a fine example of supporting junior shooters. These young people are our future and you individually can give them direction.

Finally, I need to remind all firearms owners about the responsibility and need to secure their firearms properly as required in their state. Much has been unfairly made of theft of firearms from private homes. While this is clearly a beat-up by those looking for any excuse to attack us, the only way that we can meet this challenge is by absolute compliance with firearms storage requirements, however inconvenient that might be.

These and many other issues of accepted, personal responsibility gives the SSAA the solid foundation to steadfastly and proudly, lobby and represent responsible shooters and the shooting sports.

So with a fabulous array of available products, shooting ranges all over the country and increasing hunting opportunities, 2018 promises to be a fantastic year. Take every opportunity to enjoy your sport and go out there and participate. Let’s make 2018 a great one.

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