A GROUP of young hunting aficionados are attempting to make their mark by casting off certain stereotypes associated with the shooting of wild animals via their intelligent use of social networks.
The Young Andalucian Hunters (Jovenes Cazadores Andaluces – JOCAN), which is associated with the official regional hunting federation, has quietly amassed an impressive membership comprising more than 500 youthful men and women from around the region.
President Antonio Gallardo, who hails from Alameda in Malaga Province, is defiant in the face of repeated attacks from animal rights groups, declaring that “we cannot get rid of the prejudice, and there are black sheep as in all walks of life, but we want to spread the image of the ‘real’ hunter, not the one on social media and television that does not correspond to reality.”
“The hunting community in Andalucia is different, we seek respect for the animals and respect for our pets, and we search for harmony during and after the hunt in order to offer a positive outcome for the rural environment.”
Gallardo is adamant that responsible hunting is a constructive pastime, since devotees are ‘dedicated to fighting for the natural world and taking measures to minimise the effects of intensive agriculture which eliminates wildlife, as well as the use of insecticides and other poisons, for example in most of the olive groves there is now no grass to hide even a single partridge.’
JOCAN has organised a series of seminars regarding environmental protection and wildlife conservation in respect of constructive hunting practices, such as the culling of rabbits, boar and other species which can become pests if their populations are not controlled.
“Being a hunter is not the equivalent of simply going out with the intention to kill,” affirms Gallardo, “you go out and maybe you are successful, but above all the idea is to enjoy the countryside.”