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Deerstalkers Launch a Hunter Education Trust

23 November 2014

Deerstalkers Launch a Hunter Education Trust

The New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association (NZDA) has announced the launch of the NZDA Trust, a charitable trust dedicated to funding the education of hunters in safe hunting practices.

NZDA has delivered their hunter national training scheme (HUNTS) since 1987 and the Trust will support an expansion of the program.

HUNTS has trained thousands of new hunters in courses run at branch level by volunteer instructors and NZDA sees the program as fulfilling its mission of promoting hunting as a safe recreational activity.

In recent years the growing demand for places on courses has led to pressure to recruit and train new instructors and provide the mentoring and resources to enable those instructors to deliver quality programs.

National President Bill O’Leary points to demographics that are changing the clientele of the HUNTS program.

“The average male HUNTS trainee is no longer 16 years old. He is 40 and at least every second one will have been born overseas. There are more women taking up hunting and a number of them are doing this independently rather that accompanying a male partner.”

The greater maturity, changing gender mix and the lessening familiarity with the New Zealand outdoors pose challenges for the HUNTS program and the NZDA. The Trust will be crucial in funding the continued development of appropriate resources and the training of instructors.

NZDA is positioning the HUNTS Trust to stand apart from the association’s normal range of activities that include political lobbying on contentious issues. The Trust’s purpose is educational and NZDA has received support from diverse interests and groups that see value in increasing the number of trained recreational hunters operating safely in the New Zealand outdoors.

New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association is an incorporated society, with 50 branches and a national office. It operates lodges, huts and shooting ranges throughout the country and provides training, competitions and hunting trips for its members.

It is a strong advocate for hunting as a lawful recreational activity and provides over half the firearm instructors delivering safety programs on behalf of NZ Police.

It is a supporter of the NZ Game Animal Council.

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