“Life is precious” How many times have I heard that? When I reflect on that statement as a hunter I see the truth in it. How easy it is to pull the trigger and end a life, I have done it so many times I pay no mind to it. But what about a human life?
It breaks my heart every time I hear of that split second decision that can never be taken back. It makes me think every time I head for the hills, what stops me from making that same mistake? Sure I learned the firearms safety code, I’ve seen the safety messages coming through the media but that’s not it.
I was introduced to hunting at a very young age by my father and his mates, all very experienced hunters. I started out chasing my father through the bush and over mountains. Every now and then we would find an animal to stalk and on the odd occasion, he would set me up to shoot. I enjoyed every second of it.
As the years progressed I began to venture out on my own, using what I had learned to seek out my own animals and more often than not coming home empty handed. With time and experience came success and now securing an animal isn’t all that important anymore.
Recently I have taken to introducing new people to the world of hunting and this is where I have found true respect for the way my father groomed me to be a safe competent hunter. I believe becoming a hunter is a lot like learning to drive. When I learnt to drive I had someone with experience coaching me through it until I gained sufficient knowledge to drive safely on my own. I can only imagine what carnage would have ensued had I just got behind the wheel and hit the road.
Just like learning to drive, my father coached me how to be a competent hunter. He didn’t just hand me a rifle and send me into the hills, he passed on the necessary skills to ensure I came home safely at the end of the day. During 2016 I have had the privilege of introducing a number of individuals to hunting and had great success doing so. Being able to observe inexperienced individuals in this environment has made me realise everything I take for granted. From the way I handle my firearm to dealing with a harvested animal, tasks that are second nature to some are not necessarily so straight forward to others.
Connor Garmonsway with his first deer and Scott Garmonsway with his first stag both taken on the same trip.
Looking back at what keeps me safe from making that eternal mistake and taking the wrong life I again praise my introduction to hunting. I was brought into a safe controlled environment, taught to handle a rifle with respect and mastered control over my “buck fever”. Above all I learned when to pull the trigger because after that there is no going back.
Poppy Hunter having a very successful start to 2016 taking her first deer and first tahr only months apart.
Just like my father passed his knowledge on to me, I hope I can do the same for others and ensure they have the best possible tools to take on the world of hunting. Passing on the knowledge plays a crucial role in keeping our community safe.
So I challenge all the rookies out there to find a mentor and for all the masters to take them under their wing, you might just ensure someone’s future.Sarah Murphy with her first kill ever.
I would like to give special thanks to my father for introducing me to a world I couldn’t live without. It’s an honour to be on the hill with you and I will always remember, no animal is worth a human life.John Searle still showing me how it’s done after all these years.