The AGM was held at Bisley on 25/5/19. Thank you to the members who turned up, but we really need to see more of you there. After the adoption of a new constitution the officers of the Association were all re-elected to their posts. The new constitution will be put on the website.
As secretary I will continue to work on the database and new membership cards, on increasing what our insurance covers us for and as soon as possible on updating the website. The changes will be gradual, and do please offer up your own suggestions.
The Offensive Weapons Bill has now had Royal Assent, we have lost the Lever Release and MARS rifles but retained the 50 Cal. with increased security conditions. Savvas advised Jonathan Djanogly MP on what munitions for the 50 Cal. civilians have access to, which was pertinent to our keeping them. A great deal of time was spent by Savvas along with the BSSC on this Bill.
Consultation On Statutory Guidance To Police On Firearms Licensing
A public consultation on statutory guidance when applying/renewing firearms licence’s is open until 17/9/19 information on it can be found using the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/statutory-guidance-to-police-on-firearms-licensing.
The consultation is your chance to speak up and influence the Home Office in their final wording of the Statutory Guidance. It is a positive step for the Home Office to have recognised the need for greater consistency in the application of firearms licensing law throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
My hope is that this, and better training for FEO’s, may lead to greater respect between Firearms Owners, Police and Home Office.
Savvas article on proposed changes by the NEC on the British Shooting Show
It was recently announced by the owners / managers of the NEC in Birmingham that the annual Shooting Show would not be permitted to have any stands offering Big Game / Trophy hunting. Why has this supposed evil activity suddenly become a cause celebre?
Traditionally Big Game hunting was the sport of kings, the heyday was Probably the 1930’s, then it was only for Millionaires (probably billionaires today). A safari was usually only concerned with big game and lots of it, often over several months. It was also the heyday of the British gun trade, as fine guns and rifles were required for the wealthy aristocrats and their entourages.
We all remember black & white films with Stuart Granger or Clark Gable In the khaki safari jacket with the obligatory leopard skin hat band. These films epitomised the heyday that was that era.
Today the safari has changed, whilst there are traditional tented safaris which have continued perhaps in a subdued way since WW2. Game farming has become the predominant way to hunt, in Southern Africa at least.
Farms that were used for livestock rearing, where big game was wiped out 150 years ago, have since 1970 slowly been converted to game farms. Fencing, that in some cases is lion, buffalo and elephant proof, was erected and animals that had not been seen in over 100 years reintroduced. In some cases, animals that were endangered are now abundant. A small farm in South Africa can be 4/5000 acres by the way.
Of course, these farms are a business, and have to produce income and profit, which is provided by visiting sportsmen at much less than the traditional Big Game safari would have cost. Just as today a cruise is affordable to a hardworking, ordinary couple, when once it was only the domain of aristocrats .
So why the current venom and bile against the trophy/big game hunter?
We have a rise in vegetarianism and veganism which obviously does not help but l believe a major component is caused by ignorance envy and downright lies , and I speak as someone who has very strong radical left wing views.
Recently we had the saga of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, about which umpteen lies were told and attributed , which it seems is the start of the current hysteria.
Cecil was an older male, hence a trophy, probably ejected from his pride, his cubs would have been killed by the incoming lead male, he would have been subject to a slow lingering death, forced to scavenge and possibly predate on domestic animals belonging to poorer farmers! Instead a dentist from the US paid perhaps $40k to shoot him, the money going into the local economy. No offence was committed, and the temporary ban on hunting lifted within a month, and demand for lion hunting in Zimbabwe Grew exponentially!
An elephant grows six sets of teeth in a lifetime, when the last set of teeth start to go, it will begin to slowly die of starvation. It won’t actually die of starvation though, as when it is too weak to resist it will be eaten, whilst still alive, from the outside by a variety of predators and scavengers. In some parts of Southern Africa elephants are over populated by 100% and they are starting to destroy ancient Baobab trees that were around when Moses was in short trousers.
There is an easy remedy to all this, when the elephant is obviously past its prime and breeding abilities, a ‘Trophy Hunter’ may be willing to pay £50k to hunt and shoot it. Lots of lolly for the local economy and several tons of good lean organic meat for the locals.
I have indulged in some big game Trophy Hunting myself, at a more modest level, but the buffalo trophy that hangs above my fireplace probably cost me approximately £10k, nearly all of it going into the local African economy and providing at least half a ton of meat for local schoolchildren.
So, we have two options, permit legal regulated hunting and watch the wildlife prosper, or allow the ignorant and envious to succeed and slowly watch Mother Nature’s wondrous creations become endangered and extinct!
Revocation of Open General Licences
General Licence’s– As of 14/6/19 three interim general licences for control of certain species of wild birds will be available.
WML GL34– conserve wild birds and flora or fauna – carrion crow, jackdaw, jay, magpie, rook, Canada goose, Egyptian goose, monk parakeet, ring-necked parakeet, sacred ibis and Indian house-crow.
WML GL35– preserve public health or public safety – carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, feral pigeon, rook, Canada goose and monk parakeet.
WML GL36– prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland water – carrion crow, jackdaw, magpie, feral pigeon, rook, woodpigeon, Canada goose, Egyptian goose, monk parakeet and ring-necked parakeet.
These licences will be valid until 29/2/2020 except on European protected sites or land within 300m of such sites.
For herring gulls and lesser blacked-backed gulls apply for an individual Licence, new licences will be available in time for next year’s breeding season.
A public consultation will start by end the of the summer.
Defra General Licences can be contacted on 0330 159 1986 or GLenquiries@nulldefra.gov.uk
Revocation of OPEN GENERAL LICENCES for the control of pest bird species as of 25/4/2019
Following a legal challenge to the way licences are issued Natural England are revoking the following licences for controlling certain wild birds.
Natural England are working to put in place alternative measures to allow lawful control of these bird species to continue. In the meantime anyone needing to control one of the 16 bird species previously covered will need to apply for an individual licence.
Please click on the following link for further details:
EGM 20th October 2018
At the EGM we were able to confirm that we now have control of all our accounts again, so business can resume as normal and a new office has been set up in Salisbury. Rachel will continue to concentrate on getting the database and insurance up to date, and look into new plastic membership cards, possibly with photo identity. Rachell also start to up-date the website and the constitution.
Savvas Toufexis and Joe Beatham will help members with their firearms enquires and Alan Westlake will continue with the Newsletter. Savvas will continue to work with the BSSC on firearms legislation.
Our AGM will be held on the Saturday of the Phoenix Meeting 25/5/2019. Venue and Time to be advised.
Lastly, thank you to all who have expressed their sadness at Mike’s passing. Your kind words about his friendliness and helpfulness will be a great comfort to is family.
Notice to all members of the Sportsman’s Association:
After the sad passing of Mike Wells in May of this year we have set up a new office in Salisbury being run by Rachel Westlake. Please note the change in address and contact details.
A consequence of Mike’s death was that the AGM which was scheduled during the Phoenix Meeting did not happen as we did not have access to Mike’s Office at that time.
Please will all members advise whether they will be attending, and will all members please make contact with me so that I can make sure we have your details correct on the database.
Thank you to all those who have had kind words to say about Mike, I am sure his family will be comforted to know that so many of you thought so highly of him.
Letter to Gillian Keegan regarding
Proposal to Prohibit .50 calibre ‘materiel destruction’ rifles and rapid firing rifles under section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968. England, Wales and Scotland
2014-11-12 Letter from ACPO Firearms & Explosives Licensing Working Group Chair, Andy Marsh, dated 11 nov 2014