As an organisation established in 1949 by concerned hunters to safeguard RSA’s wildlife legacy after massive declines in wildlife, SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SA Hunters) is concerned and shocked about the apparent irresponsible hunting incidents covered in the media in recent weeks.

SA Hunters is committed to build on the legacy of conserving wildlife and its associated habitats, while promoting only responsible hunting practices that ensure a future of healthy game populations. As such, the organisation is involved in various conservation initiatives and the development of programmes, policies and protocols that promote responsible wildlife utilisation, including hunting. Unlawful and thoughtless hunting activities damage the reputation of all hunting and its potential to contribute positively to conservation of wildlife habitats and rural economies.

Hunting contributed approximately R13 billion to the economy in the 2016/2017 season and it is one of the main income streams that contribute to financially viable management of wildlife areas.  Without the income from responsible hunting, many of these areas run the risk of land-use change to conservation incompatible activities as not all areas are suitable for viable photographic tourism operations. Where it is, the environmental footprint of large-scale tourism operations is a concern.  Additionally, operational costs are escalating with an increase of more than 900% reported for anti-poaching operations in some areas. It is clear that responsible hunting can play an important role in conserving wildlife habitats, but it must be done ecologically sustainable and socially responsible.

To this end, the constitution, codes of conduct and programmes of SA Hunters promote a culture where hunters demonstrate a sense of stewardship towards wildlife; only hunt legally, with compassion and humbleness; remove from nature only what can be used; use firearms skillfully and with good judgment; and show respect for life, including that of the animal hunted.

Additionally, if any member is found to be in breach of the code of conduct and uses his/her rifles irresponsibly and under the influence of alcohol or other substances that have a narcotic effect, does not adhere to the written and unwritten rules of the areas where they hunt, or acts in a manner that brings the reputation of hunters in disrepute, he/she will be subject to disciplinary action.

We trust the relevant authorities will do the necessary investigation for each of the reported hunting incidents to get to the truth. If any of SA Hunters’ members were involved in any illegal activities or contravened the organisation’s codes and rules, disciplinary processes will be initiated.- Press release