Australia

Mardan women make up the small percentage of women in hunting

GLENYSE Couper and daughter Julie love hunting.

The Mardan residents can’t wait for each weekend to take their families deep into the bush to share and pass on their passion.

But they are still somewhat of a rare breed.

While hunting continues to boom in Victoria, with the latest Game Management Authority’s licence statistics showing there are now more than 50,000 registered hunters, up from 24,000 a little more than 20 years ago, women make up roughly less than 5 per cent of that figure.

It’s a statistic the two want to see grow in the future as they work hard to promote the benefits of the sport as a family-friendly activity.

“I can’t ever remember not hunting,” says Glenyse, who used to go out with her grandfather when she was a girl growing up in Nhill.

“You are either interested in it or you’re not. I am not one for lawn bowls.”

Glenyse Couper, granddaughter Amy Dickins, 13, and Amy’s mother Julie Couper hunt together with Beagle hunting dogs.

The family’s love is deer hunting using scent-trailing dogs. Julie is the secretary of the Victorian Hound Hunters while husband Graham is Gippsland deputy vice president.

“In the last four years there’s been a noticeable change in the number of women and families that go hunting and attend our events,” Julie says.

“There’s a lot more families out hunting, a lot of wives and partners are now active hunters, it’s becoming it’s becoming acceptable.”

According to the Coupers, hunting has many health benefits for families and for children in particular.

“You want your children to be independent and do their own thing,” Glenyse says.

“You can sit and watch tele and be boring or you can go and camp in the bush and hunt.

“They learn about safety, teamwork, animal welfare, flora and fauna, different seasons, self-regulation and self-discipline, all the while being active and engaged.”

Julie takes her three children hunting and is thrilled to see them evolve and develop through their weekends away together.

“I’ve always had a love of outdoors and I’ve pushed that on to my kids,” she says.

“In our crew we always have more kids than adults. The social aspects of camping and living together is fantastic, and to see all that knowledge passed down from generation to generation is special.

“You can read about stuff but it’s not the same as seeing it yourself,” she says.

There are other reasons why they feel hunting has never been more popular.

The standard and range of camping equipment has made life in the bush more comfortable than ever, while GPS equipment has also meant it is far safer.

The family hunt with hounds during the season, which runs from April 1 to November 30 each year.

Strict rules ensure hound hunting is conducted in a safe, controlled and humane manner with impacts on other public land users and private landholders kept to a minimum.

Laws regulate where and when hunting with hounds can occur, the number of hunters and hounds that can be used at any one time and the breeds and size that can be used.

Only three types of dogs are permitted; the Beagle, Harrier and Bloodhound.

“Everyone is very proud of what the sport is achieving,” Julie says.

“We have worked very hard with government authorities and other relevant stakeholders to gain respect for the industry and to encourage ethical and responsible hunting.

“And it’s great to see young kids come up and make such great, well-rounded adults.

It’s very rewarding to see that,” she says.

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