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Our Story

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Our Story

The Victorian Deer Association is a small family-oriented deer hunting club located in Beaconsfield, Victoria. Our club prioritises the traditional aspects of deer hunting whilst delivering a warm and welcoming spirit. Focusing less on politics, and more on the social aspects and enjoyment of our lifestyle, we pride ourselves on our great social atmosphere. Our club is a fantastic insight for all newcomers to deer hunting as well as a space for seasoned veterans to share knowledge and stories. We welcome all legal forms of hunting including hound hunters, duck hunters and bow hunters. In fact, we were one of the first two clubs to be registered for hound hunting, and have ongoing access to a hound assessor.

We began as a club on February 5th, 1996, when the inaugural meeting took place at the Frankston Gun Club. That first meeting comprised of 25 likeminded individuals who branched off from the ADA to seek a neutral space that focussed on enjoyment and family rather than divisions between hunting codes. Our association set out with one purpose- unite people, clubs, and the hunting fraternity through our love of hunting and the outdoors. The VDA was also part of the foundation group of the Game Council, which opened up a dialogue between the other hunting fraternities. From the 25 people who attended the first meeting our membership has continued to grow, with a peak membership of over 300. The VDA recognises that hunting has no age limit and this is reflected in the diverse age range of our members. We also work to ensure a family feeling within our club which has resulted a growing number of female members, and the sons and daughters of members getting involved. New members quickly find friends and form strong bonds which last a lifetime.

 

Our association meets the first Wednesday of every month to discuss general business, listen to a guest speaker, and enjoy each other’s company. A new guest speaker is welcomed each meeting with the speakers covering a range of issues relevant to hunting, including talks from members of the forestry department, taxidermists and hunting dog trainers. Once a year at our meetings we provide a hunter education course that focusses on firearm safety, deer hunting technique, hunting etiquette, and safety in the field. This allows our members to be confident and informed for every hunting trip they take. While these meetings do have their educational elements, we always make time to share a yarn and organise hunting trips. Often a hunting trip that originally had two or three people attending will end up with 10 or more by then end of the night.

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Over our 25 years we have created longstanding traditions that are enjoyed by all. These include annual hunting trips to the high country in locations such Higgins Hut, Wonnangatta, Eildon, and Licola. Occasionally some of our members will even organise international hunting trips to New Zealand and to support these members our association will run major raffles to help fund the trips. Our trips aren’t limited to deer hunting. Because of the strong relationships we build between hunting fraternities often deer hunters will sign themselves up for quail and duck hunting trips and find that they love it. Another tradition that we enjoy is an annual Christmas party that is marked by the Christmas Shotgun Shoot. We’re looking forward to competing in this come Christmas time, as due to COVID we missed out last year. At the end of the year our committee also take the time to vote on the best photo and story submitted to our newsletter the Rub Tree. There is also a “Best Clubman Award” given to the member who has gone above and beyond to help make the VDA a great place to be.

The VDA recognises that they would not have enjoyed the success that they have without the support from the community around them, and so where possible we aim to give back as much as we can. We completed volunteer work for Parks Victoria in the building of Hunters Camp in the Taylors Creek Project. We have also helped out with bushfire relief work helping farmers clear damage from bushfires, fence building and tree planting.

To ensure our prosperity we have continued to evolve and adapt to the needs of the members. One of the ways we have done this is by moving with the times with digital technology. Our membership is conducted electronically, and the VDA has an official Instagram page where we share the best hunting snaps and stories from our members. COVID-19 and the restrictions it placed on us proved to be a large hurdle for the association, but we overcame this as a group by conducting Zoom meetings with the committee to ensure that the VDA was still in a strong position when restrictions eased so that we can get back to what we love.

A club is only as good as its members, and the VDA boasts some of the best people going around. We rely on member participation in club events and competitions, otherwise none of this could have happened and we would not be celebrating our 25th anniversary. We’re looking forward to another great 25 years of VDA and hope to see even more fresh faces join our ranks.

Victorian Deer Association

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