Monday, October 08, 2007

Traditional Hunting with Dogs

Traditional Hunting with Dogs

A classic example of the old established order clashing with the new democracy. Our new constitution gives every citizen rights, but sometimes how these rights may be utilized is unclear. African people have always hunted with dogs and in the past when these traditions were formed, both land and animals were almost limitless. Enter the colonial period when land is owned, fenced and the hunting of game is strictly regulated. There is immediate conflict and this hunting practice is classified as poaching and severely restricted except in tribal areas. Hunting with dogs goes underground and is practised illegally on private land with regular confrontations between land owners and hunters, usually ending up with the dogs being shot and the hunters being convicted and fined or imprisoned. There is a shift in emphasis in this practice, where the prowess of the individual dogs becomes more important than the hunting of meat and the value of good hunting dogs escalates enormously. C onflict, where very valuable dogs are destroyed by landowners, heightens the resentment of hunters who believe that they have a right to practise this tradition. This must be seen against the use of hunting dogs by white landowners for game and waterfowl shoots, destroying so called vermin with hunt packs and for hunting animals like bush pigs and leopard. All within the law! 1994 and a new South Africa. The rights of all are enshrined in the new constitution, especially African people and their traditions. Hunting with dogs comes out of the closet and there is immediate conflict where these hunts are being conducted with the police and the courts being caught between the hunters and the landowners. Finally, after years of standoffs, meetings, negotiations and studies, a set of guidelines and procedures is produced that recognises both the rights of the hunters and the landowners. Hunts must be well disciplined and organised and the number of hunters and dogs are strictly limited. Hunting with dogs may only take place during the hunting season and subject to the issue of permits by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the landowners written permission. These detailed procedures put the traditional practice of hunting with dogs on the same basis as all other forms of hunting, where it becomes a sport adhering to the principle of 'fair chase' and a viable economic activity for the landowner.

 

No comments:

Post a Comment