Involve the whole family. That lies at the core of the activities of the Pretoria East branch of the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SAHGCA).
Everybody is encouraged to bring their families along to the monthly shooting days and members evenings. Women are also trained in the art of self-defence.
And branch chairperson Johan Ungerer personally sets the example. "Hunting should be a family activity. My wife, my son and my daughter are already involved and we have gone hunting together. My daughter, Mia who is eighteen, shot her first springbok ram last year. And my son, Fanie, who is twenty now, shot his first blesbuck when he was still ten."Â�
Pretoria East is also particularly active in conservation with Chris Carstens as conservation coordinator playing a leading part. Intensive research on bull frogs is being undertaken by Caroline Yetmann, a student of the University of Pretoria, Lourens Swanepoel is heading research into leopards in the Waterberg and then there is the turkey buzzard project.
Pretoria East also left no stone unturned to get Ron Thomson's Managing Wildlife published. In the course of our interview Johan mentioned that Ron was going to deliver a speech on the economic value of wildlife at an international congress in Namibia.
The conversation reverted back to Pretoria East's programme for the youth which is presented during the monthly shooting days. The youngsters are taught how to make a fire without causing veld fires, how to identify game tracks and how to shoot with an air gun and a catty. The children's programme commences at eight in the morning and it's all over by eleven. "An added bonus is that parents often accompany their children and in the process they also become interested in hunting.
"And the children who are taught to shoot with air guns also learn how to shoot safely. Often they chide their fathers on weapon safety measures.
"We also have shotgun shooting every third month. Next month it's hand weapons. There are also ladies days when we tech women the ropes."Â�
Johan and his wife, Annemarie, who is also the branch treasurer, are also four by four instructors. People who have undergone training in this regard enjoy the privilege of discount on their short term insurance. Johan told the story of a lady who had had her four by four for four years, but had never activated the system until she discovered how exciting it can be during the SAHGC course.
Pretoria East celebrated its first ten years this year with a fine dinner which was attended by all the previous branch chairpersons. KWV was also present on that evening to present a wine and brandy tasting.
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