Wine and Wild Food Dinner

Wine and Wild Food Dinner

On Friday 29 October, I had the pleasure of attending the 2020-21 Wine and Wild Food Dinner, which was a five-course degustation feast hosted by the Conservation and Hunting Alliance of South Australia, otherwise affectionately known as CHASA.

What a delight it was. The room was full and several colleagues of mine were present including the member for Stuart, the member for Chaffey, the Hon. Terry Stephens MLC and the member for West Torrens. There was magnificent food, there was good company but, most of all, there was excitement and enthusiasm in the air about the important work that CHASA has been doing in our state.

CHASA aims to preserve and promote in a respectful way the rights of hunters to participate in sustainable hunting. They work with hunting organisations and the South Australian Department for Environment and Water to restore wildlife habitats, guide hunting seasons, develop hunting education and ensure wildlife is only hunted at sustainable levels.

CHASA member organisations and the state government, through the Department for Environment and Water, have a track record of working collaboratively together. Examples include the development of the Modern Hunting Guide, which has been widely distributed and has received very favourable feedback.

A further example of collaboration is the memorandum of understanding between CHASA and DEW, which works to achieve a great deal for community and government, for hunters and for conservation. The MOU was signed by CHASA and the state government in September 2019, following years of planning and collaboration. As outlined in the MOU:

CHASA and DEW’s common ground lies in biodiversity conservation, through managing and utilising land sustainably and through helping people connect with the natural environment.

That approach benefits both people and the environment.

The benefits of this partnership for both CHASA and DEW include providing a conduit between the hunting community and the government for open communication and understanding of each other’s perspectives. It creates a forum for hunting groups to have a coordinated voice to the department and for DEW to be able to communicate directly to and with the hunting community.

It also creates more connections between people and nature. Hunters already have a strong connection with the environment. They love being outdoors and appreciate all the physical, mental, social and nutritional benefits that can be derived. Through this partnership, hunters have opportunities to deepen and strengthen that connection with the land. In some cases, hunters go from visiting a reserve once or twice a year during duck season, to becoming active stewards of that land, really getting to know it and actively caring for it, and this can help reset the broader community’s perception of hunting.

Joint activities that occur through this partnership include: feral animal and weed control, wetland management, revegetation, trail and facility maintenance, and monitoring and research. There have been a large number of specific projects that CHASA and its members have been involved in relating to these activities. For example, the Conservation and Wildlife Management Branch of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia partnered to manage feral animal numbers in parks statewide.

Significant habitat restoration has been carried out in the Loveday and Noora Wetlands in the Riverland. CHASA has been actively involved as a member of the Tolderol Game Reserve Working Group for many years and has contributed over $40,000 to help support wetland restoration and management of the reserve, not to mention enormous in-kind contributions from members. More recently, a Land Stewardship Agreement has been signed between CHASA and DEW to facilitate park activity by a CHASA member group in parks in the Riverland.

CHASA represents the modern hunters who love the environment, contribute to a sustainable future and enjoy harvesting healthy and wild food. By working together to build respect and understanding for our hunting communities and surrounding environments, and by encouraging seasoned, emerging and novice hunters to join a hunting organisation, means that the message of conservation and responsible and sustainable hunting practices are shared and promoted. Their work will ensure that we can all enjoy the benefits that hunting brings for generations to come.

I would like to thank the Chair of CHASA, Mr Graham Stopp, and his board for all their hard work, not just on the evening but for their continued work with hunting organisations and the South Australian Department for Environment and Water.


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