The 2018 executive of the Moncton Fish and Game Association Inc (MFGA) is pleased to share this Annual Program Report with the membership. We want to share the highlights with members and partners so that they are aware of the comprehensive activities that the Association was engaged in over the year. This program report augments the Financial Report prepared by the Treasurer. The MFGA operates on a Jan 1st to Dec 31st reporting and fiscal year for ease of managing NFA insurance and reporting to the NB Chief Firearms Officer for purposes of Authorization to Transport (ATT) requirements.
• The MFGA was formed in 1924 and incorporated in 1981. In June of 2016, the MFGA members voted on and accepted the first-ever Constitution and By-Laws for the MFGA. This has strengthened the MFGA management and financial structure and is seen as an important benchmark for the long-term future and continuity of the MFGA, no amendments were made in 2018;
• The MFGA has maintained a role of environmental advocacy by publicly stating our opposition to forestry herbicide spraying and in promoting the voluntary use of non-toxic hunting ammunition within our Association, and advocating the same to the NBWF;
• As an active member of the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation and the New Brunswick Salmon Council, the MFGA develops and contributes to conservation policy and initiatives regionally, provincially and nationally. Resolutions were submitted to the NBWF as proposed by members and executive members attended various NBWF Board meetings. The MFGA received recognition from the NBWF for Improved Numbers of Youth Memberships (photo below);
• We communicated with the Minister of Energy and Resource Development with regards to lead ammunition and received a response indicating that the Department would use non-lead ammunition when dispatching injured or nuisance wildlife. This is viewed as a small victory.
• The executive also reviewed and commented on an Environment Canada document examining the use of lead in ammunition. Our review highlighted several gaps and assumptions that a contractor made with respect to lead. We were one of the only clubs in NB to respond with technical inputs.
• The MFGA also wrote to the Federal Government with member concerns over proposed firearm-related Acts specifically Bill C-71. The Range Manager also wrote to Minister Bill Blair regarding the government’s proposal to examine a “handgun and assault weapon” ban. This letter was shared and received positive feedback from other clubs;
• In late October the MFGA was invited to be part of Minister Bill Blair’s consultation on handgun and assault weapons ban and violent crime reduction. We prepared a formal submission for the consultation and shared our document with the NB Wildlife Federation.
• One donation that is new for 2018 was a $500 donation to the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Brookfield NS. While this donation was to a NS group, their work focuses on the rehabilitation of raptors, especially bald eagles, that have been poisoned with lead. This is consistent with our efforts to promote a voluntary reduction in the use of lead ammunition by hunters. We were saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Helene Van Doninck.
• In 2018 the MFGA once again made a $3,000 donation to Camp Centennial in support of youth programming at the Camp. (photo below) This is perhaps our highest priority as we are paying-it-forward with youth in Moncton as they gain an appreciation of the outdoors;
• We also supported the Atlantic Wildlife Institute in Cookville in their efforts to care for and rehabilitate injured native species in the amount of $2000. (photo below)
• In 2018 Green Diamond Outfitters donated equipment that we used in a summer raffle that raised $700 which was donated to the IWK Foundation to assist sick children under their care.
• We have also been a supporter ($1000) of the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance which is a multi-stakeholder group working towards environmental awareness and sustainability in the Petitcodiac River drainage. Our focus has been on education and awareness projects;
• We hosted a spring and fall “Family Range Day and BBQ” so that youth could be exposed to recreational shooting and archery. We had an attendance of just over 80 people for the two events. (photos below) Green Diamond Outfitters, Cabela’s, the NB Conservation Officer Association and Bass Pro Shops were our sponsors;
• Bass Pro Shops donated two dozen rods and reels from one of their customer promotions to the MFGA such that every youth at the spring family range day went home with either a new or slightly used fishing rod; (photo below)
• The MFGA, while not a gun club or competitive shooting club, operates the Victoria Road Range as a member benefit. The range program in 2018 included a ‘range clean-up day’, a training session on handgun proficiency, a friendly 22 ‘team’ bench shoot, and a ladies day.
• This year, we built a second shelter on the handgun range, installed a new gate at the entrance, and placed compacted gravel around the shooting pads. Over the past 6 years we have transformed the range from a perceived liability into an asset that is attracting new MFGA memberships every year;
• In what was a “first”, the MFGA coordinated through NB Public Safety, a Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course for our members. The course quickly filled up and was very successful.
• Our annual “Sportsman’s Dinner” which is held at the end of November, is our only major fundraising effort and supports all of our community programs. Typically we have between 300 and 325 attendees and have several thousand dollars worth of prizes and raffles. While revenue varies each year, the association usually raises in the vicinity of $14,000 of which 75% goes to the community the following year. Local sponsors donate many items and often prizes are purchased at reduced pricing.
• We are strategically trying to engage more females as members and continue to support three ladies to attend the BOW (Becoming an Outdoor Woman) workshop in Fredericton every year;
• While not exactly a hunting or fishing activity the MFGA also demonstrated social awareness, by matching the pass the hat funds raised at our December monthly meeting to support the annual ‘Turkey Drive’ in Moncton. A total of $270 was donated to the community Christmas food drive in 2018.
• With respect to memberships, our Membership Director has reported that in 2018 we had almost 400 members for which fees were submitted to the NFA for insurance. This includes regular, life, and youth members, and some daily rates from the range.
• There are several other activities such as membership in the NBWF, support to the ASF/Salmon Council annual dinner, Larry’s Gulch draw (when we get a spot), our web site and Facebook pages and our monthly meetings that are somewhat routine activities but essential to our community profile.
Like many fish and game clubs across the province, the MFGA is facing an ageing demographic and a general decrease in active hunting and fishing members. There is no question that there is solid growth on the recreational shooting side of the association, as roughly 80%-85% of our members use the range.
While we remain true to our fish and game roots and are not a gun club, the reality is that the Victoria Road Range continues to attract members. We occupy a niche segment for basic handgun, plinking and sighting-in, as long-distance shooters join St. Antoine Gun Club, skeet and clays shooters join Moncton Gun Club, and IPSC shooters join Petitcodiac Gun Club.
We try to be visible in the community through the projects that we support. We were successful in getting some of our donation photos published in the local English and French newspapers as well as SNAPD Moncton.
We have taken a strategic approach of using basic membership fees for the general operation of the association, range fees to maintain and operate the range to NB Public Safety standards and for range programs, and our Sportsman Dinner revenue to support our community projects and a few club activities. This approach has allowed the MFGA to both have a positive presence in the community, and to make incremental improvements to the range.
All of this would not be possible without the dedication of our members and volunteers, and the support of our various sponsors.
Respectfully, 2018 Executive MFGA