Some branches are very innovative when finding solutions to deliver services to their members. Vrystaat Sandveld branch at Soutpan is in the heart of an agricultural community and provides services primarily to members who are farmers. Shooting days at this branch involve the entire family and they invariably end in meetings on branch matters and a sociable braai afterwards. For branches based in cities it does not make sense to combine a shooting day with a meeting and a braai in the same manner. These branches prefer to hold their meetings in the evening during the week. It makes practical sense for farmers not to drive at night or to be away from their families for safety reasons. Vrystaat Sandveld Branch and other rural branches are doing what work best for them.
SAHGCA branches differ from one another in various ways. Members who spend weekdays in an office in a town or city enjoy going to the shooting range once a month where they can do what they came for: to shoot and nothing else. It is easier and more convenient for urban members to attend meetings in the evenings during the week. At the East Rand Branch, up to 300 members attend member evenings to listen to a guest speaker or other presentations and demonstrations. The traditional braai after the meeting gives members the opportunity to socialise.
The Marico Bosveld Branch at Rustenburg uses its shooting range as the hub for all activities. They collaborate with other shooting groups in the community as well for eg. practical pistol shooting and bow shooting exercises. This results in the branch shooting days offering a combination of hunting rifle, practical handgun, shotgun, airgun and even bow shooting exercises. It comes as no surprise that the attendance of members at these shooting days is among the highest per capita of all the Association’s branches.
Each one of SAHGCA’s branches is unique in terms of their circumstances and members, but there is common ground. South African hunters share a unique culture and hunting history, which lives on in their passion for nature, firearms and hunting. Those branches that focus on their members’ interest in their own special way, are serving their members effectively.
During March 2014, SAHGCA established two new branches: Branch no 72 in Secunda was established on Tuesday, 4 March 2014. Its name is Houtkapper Branch and its logo is the Crested Barbet. This branch serves the towns of Secunda, Evander, Kinross, Trichardt, Leandra, Eendrag, Charl Cilliers and Devon. It forms part of the Mpumalanga South region of SAHGCA. The shooting range is on the farm Holfontein, 10 km west of Trichardt on the N17.
Branch no 73 was established at Vanderkloof on Saturday, 22 March 2014. The name of the branch is Bloukrans and its logo is the Verreaux’s Eagle (Witkruisarend) in flight with the Vanderkloof damwall in the background. The Bloukrans Branch serves Vanderkloof, Petrusville, Hopetown, Luckhoff, Koffiefontein and Orania communities and is part of the Free State region of SAHGCA. The shooting range of Bloukrans Branch is located on the farm Bloukrans of Rikus Stander in the Luckhoff district. Rikus is a branch committee member.
Neither one of these branches had its own shooting range when they applied for branch status. A viable shooting range is a prerequisite for establishing a branch. These two communities were not put off by this requirement and started building their own shooting ranges while operating as satellite branches. They reported good attendance at shooting ranges since then. This has shown the special dedication by members and demonstrates why SAHGCA is so successful at branch level.
The Gamagara Branch in Kathu in the Northern Cape boasts one of the best shooting ranges in the country. It is a 1000m Bisley type shooting range and each of the shooting points has a lawn, with a clubhouse and braai facility. Sishen mine maintains it for the benefit of their staff. Enthusiastic branch member, Jaco Goosen was instrumental in establishing the branch. He became involved in hunting and shooting after trying golf and fishing as hobbies that he and his father could do together. The opportunity to spend time in nature or at branch activities was a winner and the rest is history.
There are many more branch success stories similar to the ones described above. We appreciate the time and effort of every branch committee member for their time and dedication to arrange activities for members to enjoy. The success of SAHGCA depends on the support from every member at every branch.