Geagte mede-jagters
Die einde van 2015 is in sig en as mens terugkyk was dit ‘n uitdagende jaar vir Suid-Afrika. Vir ons in die jagters- en bewaringsarena was dit ook nie ‘n maklike jaar nie want die aanslag teen jag is uit verskeie oorde met onaanvaarbare praktyke besaai. Ongelukkig het dit ook op die gewone geleentheidsjagter ‘n impak sonder dat ons ooit daarvoor gevra het of dit verdien.
Who will ever forget how the shooting of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe created an outcry? For those that saw the Blood Lions documentary the bitter aftertaste will remain for long. Airlines who closed shop on trophy transporting nailed the coffin closed for some outfitters and professional hunters while banning the import of certain trophies has been instituted by Australia. Locally the Central Firearms Registry has developed its own problems with a negative impact on those who applied for licenses. The tides seem to have turned against us. Finally a debilitating drought is crippling the country and the future of livestock, crop and game farmers seems nothing less than precarious.

Benewens al die uitdagings wat tydens 2015 kop uitgesteek het was daar tog vir ons as lede van die SAJWV baie positiewe dinge. Meeste het darem ‘n jaggeleentheid ingepas, die skietentoesiaste het weer eens die rekords laat spat en die Verenging se ledetal raak-raak aan die 40,000 kerf. Die HuntEx skoue in die Oos-Kaap en Gauteng was geseën met ‘n ongekende toeloop van vuurwapen- en jagentoesiaste en het ook vir die Vereniging goeie finansiële dividend gelewer. Die twee tydskrifte in ons kamp naamlik SA Jagter en ManMagnum het ook besonder goed gevaar.

With the current economic realities of the world and the sharp decline in the value of the Rand against major currencies we are all faced with financial hardship. It is even more so for those who are the victims of the terrible drought. Many rural South Africans have lost all their cattle, while farmers are on the brink of financial collapse. In view of this we should open our hearts to those who are less privileged than us and share some of our own well-being even though those in need may not be of our own cultural group. It is not going to impoverish anyone to buy a Christmas hamper for the person who knocks on our door for a slice of bread. It can only bring much needed relief to a family that is facing total disaster over the festive season. Yes, we all pray for rain and for a better life for all, but let us remind ourselves of the wisdom of the Messiah when He spoke about the lady who gave all of her last few cents to the collections at the synagogue. He said that she gave all that she had and not from the excess of what she had. I am sure we all have some excess and a few Rands here and there may just break the desperation of some people in need.

Ek vertrou dat almal van u die Kersfeestyd saam met die familie gaan deurbring en wens u almal ‘n welverdiende ruskans, ‘n blaaskans en ook tyd om te besin oor dit waarmee ons as jagters onsself besig hou. Die wilde diere van die veld gaan ook deur die ernstige droogte geraak word en ons moet ook maar saans as ons die Bybel toemaak aan hulle in ons gebede dink. Vir die van u wat in die droogtegeteisterde dele van Suid-Afrika die mas probeer opkom is daar net een boodskap naamlik dat ons wat die droogte ontkom het elke dag vir u bid en smeek dat dit binnekort sal reën.

We need to reflect on the past to plan for the future: each of us need to reconcile our hunting experiences of 2015 and learn from it to be better hunters, better conservationists and better neighbours to our fellow hunters. Just pick up the phone and call the person who hunted with you this past year and wish him or her a blessed Christmas. Call the landowner where you hunted and thank him for the opportunity to hunt. Above all call upon God our Supreme Ruler to guide you into the new year with a commitment to be an even better person in the times to come.

I wish you all of the very best for the Christmas season. May you experience peace, joy and fulfilment while you spend time with your family.

I trust that we will have a prosperous 2016 and that as an Association of hunters and conservationists we will change the world into a better place for humankind and the creatures of the wild.