If you think your hunting and shooting activities are safe, think again. It has become increasingly obvious that our recreational pastimes are under real threat as those in power look to place further restrictions on our firearm ownership while systematically undermining our hunting heritage and game animal harvesting opportunities.
The most recent “fiasco” was the proposal by current Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage, to cull over 17,000 tahr from our public lands.
However, through some swift and determined action from the NZ Tahr Foundation, support from other interested parties, a National Party “Stop the Cull” petition and overwhelming financial support from the wider hunting and shooting community, the cull was postponed and the NZTF and DoC went into discussions to produce a more practical, cost effective and mutually beneficial control plan.
The point here is that with large scale support, both financially and by the numbers, change and influence can happen. It is also important to note that many of the people fighting these battles (on your behalf) do so as volunteers. Sure, they may have a vested interest but don’t we all. Whether you are an outfitter/hunting guide, seasoned enthusiast, weekend warrior or once a year adventurer, we are all a part of the system.
As an individual, you would be forgiven for wondering at these times “But what can I do?”
The answer is simple, get involved. One of the best ways to do this is to join an organisation. Sporting Shooters of New Zealand (SSANZ), Council of Licensed Firearm Owners (COLFO), Fiordland Wapiti Foundation (FWF), Central North Island Sika Foundation (CNISF) and Hunters & Habitats are just some of the mainstream organisations that work behind the scenes to make sure your interests are looked after.
These groups rely on membership and when push comes to shove, they will be at the frontline protecting those interests.
“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
This quote, from the influential Malcolm X, rings very close to home and I can’t help but think that those individuals who aren’t prepared to stand up for their hunting and shooting pursuits, may be the very first to lose them. Hunting and shooting in New Zealand are not rights, they are privileges.
Provide the organisations the support they deserve and need.
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