By NOEL MURPHY
DUCK-hunting protesters have slashed the tyres of four hunters’ cars in Geelong, a shooter has alleged.
Geelong Field & Game Hunting’s Blair Findlay said shooters were treated as second-class citizens, constantly attacked and insulted when many were in fact conservationists.
“This weekend in Geelong at least four vehicles belonging to duck hunters were targeted and attacked whilst the owners were out hunting,” Mr Findlay said.
“The result was multiple tyres slashed on all four.”
“I have also heard of a father and daughter who had belongings stolen from their vehicle while they were out hunting.
“Not only has this resulted in the feeling of having one’s privacy invaded and the inconvenience of having to source parts on a Sunday morning to get their vehicles home but all owners are now facing significant expense to repair their vehicles or replace stolen items.”
Mr Findlay said duck shooters faced inordinate criticism and censure for a legal activity.
He had been called a murderer, had his sexuality and treatment of women questioned, been attacked for his work in conservation and insulted for hunting and gathering meat for friends and family, Mr Findlay said.
“Surely destroying, stealing or defacing public and private property is taking things too far. Hunters and our families have a right to be safe and not have our belongings stolen or damaged, or our character and intelligence insulted.”
Mr Findlay said a recent government study showed recreational hunting in 2013 was worth more than $13.5 million to the greater Geelong region.
“That’s around 8.5 per cent of our gross regional product. It also generated employment for over 80 people, many at Winchester Australia’s Geelong production facility.”
Mr Findlay said duck-shooters had fought for the importance of local wetlands to be recognised, maintained, monitored or restored.
In the 1960s hunters constructed channel systems still allowing local wetlands to be controlled to be the benefit of the environment and wildlife, he said.
“Geelong Field and Game and the Field and Game Australia WET Trust are currently in the process of constructing what will become the Connewarre Wetland Centre near Hospital Swamp. Do the anti-hunting and animal rights groups ever put their hand in their pockets to contribute to the management of our local parks and wetlands?”