Monday, February 21, 2011

Coming to a restaurant near you: Preserve Provided Pheasant

I will start with a declaration of conflict of sorts: For the past 3 seasons I've shot on pheasant preserves. Some days you get good pegs on big drives, some days you draw a peg a little out of the way, but overall it evens out and you shoot birds. I think the most I shot in a day was in the mid 30's on a 5 drive day. Lets take that day. Did I take home all 'my' birds? Well, no. Did I take home some? Yes, I always do. The beaters take some, the dog handlers take some. I heard of a beater at one shoot taking something like 6 dozen home. There's an ethical question that needs to be answered about the use of shot game but I'm not going there today so will stick to the core laws - effectively until the birds are released they belong to someone, once released they belong to the state and once shot, ownership transfers to the person/s who harvested them. Its a paperless transaction and slightly care free in the case of the preserves - the rules are written but practicality dictates that they are mostly not observed. However, once you drive off the estate with birds it really pays to know where you stand legally. If a ranger pulls you over and asks you about why you have 72 pheasants in your possession .... Let's jump sideways a second. At this current point AW and other regions are having special Canada Goose seasons to assist in the dispersal of large populations which are able to devastate mainly grasslands through sheer weight of numbers. We're in the hottest period of the year. I can, from eyewitness statements and the grapevine get a back of a napkin account of over 1,100 birds harvested, and that's probably understated. 90 something percent of those will have gone in an offal pit... so, outside of the preserve arena there's a shed load of excellent lean game meat that is not being utilised. We're all responsible in some way. This isn't meant to be a moral commentary - I'd be filling my boots on goose hunts if my year had panned out differently. I'm just pointing out, as others have, that there is room to do things differently with the meat harvested.

Jumping back again - at F&G National council level, the topic of the sale of pheasants from preserve shoots was discussed and then regional councils were asked to either support or not support the idea that if handled and processed properly, would we support the sale of preserve shot pheasants. A couple of councils supported, a couple didn't... we at AW ended up on a different route and supported the status quo. The status quo actually makes the giving of game illegal. So we supported a notion that is open to legal challenge. We stuck our head in the sand. The joys of democracy. I wonder how this will end.

I reckon the bit that was missing was if it comes to pass, what will the likely proceeds be, where will they go, who will benefit. Its fantastic that the public could potentially nibble on a bit of phesant with their garlic mash and cream spinach and hopefully gain an appreciation of the benefits of game meat but I think there's more that needs discussing. At what point does the game transfer from ownership of the shooter/gun back to the preserve? Does an agreement need to be signed? If the gun still owns the bird, should they receive proceeds from any subsequent sale? I'm no lawyer but damn, I can see this becoming fun for real lawyers down the track.There is always a twit out there who would challenge this sort of thing.....

No comments:

Post a Comment