Late last year the Victorian Government revealed its 2016-2020 Sustainable Hunting Action Plan. The project describes itself as “designed to ensure that hunting continues to be safe, sustainable and responsible. All relevant agencies will work together to support opportunities for sustainable hunting”.
The $5.3 million plan will focus on sustainable game management, improved access to game resources, enhanced hunting opportunities and expanding the hunting industry in Victoria. “There are now more than 50,000 licensed game hunters in Victoria, an increase of about 8,000 in the last five years,” said Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford. “Together with people who shoot pest animals, these tens of thousands of Victorians contribute over $439 million to the economy each year and support almost 3,500 jobs. Much of this benefit is seen in small towns and regional cities across country Victoria.”
Overall, the plan looks positive for hunters and could prompt other states to follow suit. The SSAA is glad to see government listening to at least some of what shooters and hunters have been saying. With more than 50,000 hunters throughout Victoria, we hope this plan will see that number increase even further.
One of the major aims of the Action Plan is to promote responsible hunting by providing hunters with more accurate and accessible information. This includes better communication with hunters, making land more easily reached and helping to educate and engage new hunters.
The Action Plan also intends to reduce red tape around where hunters can hunt, stop nonsensical rules like hunters not being able to utilise meat from game or pests they hunt and generally support hunting as a recreation while by and large boosting hunting accessibility.
The Action Plan also mentions enabling hunters to be able to carry out pest control in state game reserves. Deer hunters will have the opportunity to hunt other deer species in areas managed through the National Parks Act of 1975 where sambar deer hunting is already permitted.
In response to ongoing calls for greater access to deer hunting, the Action Plan says it will “explore options to expand hunting in Victoria in partnership with traditional owners, land managers and relevant stakeholders”. The Action Plan also outlines a commitment to developing a deer management strategy, which will attempt to “maintain sustainable hunting opportunities while reducing the impact of deer on biodiversity on all land tenures across the state”.