Rencontre internationale Young Opinions organisée par la délégation belge du CIC

7th Global Youth for Sustainable Use – Belgium

During the last week of October 2011, the Young Opinion (YO) members of the Belgian CIC delegation organized the 7th edition of the Global Youth for Sustainable Use (GYSU) meeting, hosting 35 participants from 12 different nationalities.

During the intense 4-day event, the youngsters had one common subject in mind: Hunting for Conservation.

The event was kicked off on Monday afternoon with a visit to the world famous gunsmith Lebeau-Courally in Liège, who presented the Alpha and Omega of shotgun and rifle making, and in the late afternoon by an interesting presentation about game management on Royal Estate in Belgium given by Alain Licoppe, an expert from the CIC working for the Wallon Region.

The next morning, participants were invited at the gun shop Pletsers in Sint-Truiden to show their ability to shoot on live animated hunting videos.

On Tuesday afternoon, participants gathered in Spa, a Belgian town known for its water Excellency, where numerous presentations were given to introduce the concept of Nature Conservation through hunting.

All 12 National delegations presented their country's initiatives, actions and particularities referring to the title. It was clear that when talking about nature and hunting... people could think that the 2 terms are mutually exclusive or independent. During these sessions, one could however notice that both aspects are linked and that from a hunter's perspective, they are completely inter-connected. The relation between nature conservation and hunting turned to be a WIN-WIN situation: For hunters, preserving nature is preserving their activity.

Following these presentations, participants had the great pleasure to hear a conference by Joseph van der STEGEN, from the European Commission, working at DG Environment and responsible for NATURA2000 in Belgium and France.

Following this most interesting conference/debate, the YOs enjoyed a relaxing visit to the thermal baths, after which they gathered for a cosy and friendly dinner in the centre of Spa.

On Wednesday, participants had the opportunity to participate to a silent drive organized on the Crown Estate of Hertogenwald, a 6000ha hunting ground close to the German border. Stricts instructions were given by Colonel Thierry de Maere d'Aertrycke and Yves Pieper (DNF) to the participants:
  • Have a maximum shooting distance of hundred meters
  • Shoot on animals in a slow motion attitude in order to avoid wounding and to enable proper game identification and selection.
  • Young opinions were allowed to shoot hinds and calves of red deer, roe deers and wild boars sparing leading females.

At lunch time, under the autumn sun, all participants, beaters and hunters, had the opportunity to share experience regarding the morning drives. Members from all delegations had either the occasion to observe game or to shoot. The afternoon drive was even more animated. At the end of the day, the 13 animals shot during the day were gathered for the "tableau" and the blow of the horns closed the hunting day.

The meeting ended with the traditional Gala Dinner on Wednesday evening in Spa. The Belgian delegation was well represented by the Vice-president/Secretary Alain Ranson and the former Flemish vice-president Carlo Mathias. During the diner, several speeches were pronounced and gifts were distributed to participants. All foreign delegation had a speech thanking for the as good as instructive time they could enjoy in Belgium.

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