Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Hunter's Survival Guide

Published:Monday | August 27, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The Annual game hunting season is currently in full swing, with less than four weeks left to embark on this epic adventure. Game bird hunting in Jamaica was officially recognised with the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th century. Prior to this, it was a major source of food for the Tainos, who inhabited the island at the time. It is the intervention of the gun that has seen this pastime evolve from a major source of food to become a major sport.

Owner of Jamaica's premium game hunting supplies, Leighton Sasso of Sasco Distributors Ltd, and his son, 2018 National Shotgun Champion Christian Sasso, gave Flair a few tips, tricks and recommended equipment to prepare for your next hunting experience.


Recommended equipment:


1. Firearm licence for a shotgun.

2. Hunter's permit issued by NEPA: Cost: $20,000. If you do not hand in the permit on time there will be a $5,000 fine.

3. Safety goggles to protect the eyes from loose pellets.

4. Hearing protection.

5. Shot pouch to put the cartridge in for the ease of loading the gun.

6. Lockable safety bag/container for storage of the cartridges.

7. Bird rack

8. Stool

9. Camouflage attire

10. Automatic shotgun

11. Cartridges for the shotgun.

12. NEPA's A Hunter's Handbook For Game Birds In Jamaica


Sasso's dos and don'ts:



1. Do load shotgun only when you are ready to shoot and unload after.

2. Do ensure you travel with an

experienced hunter.

3. Do ensure the bird boys are not in front of you while shooting.

4. Don't shoot at anything that is parallel to the ground. Always shoot at a minimum of 45 degrees towards the sky.

5. Don't try to shoot at low birds.

6. Don't have a loaded gun pointed towards your face or resting on your foot.


NEPA hunting safety rules:



1. Always keep the muzzle of your firearm pointed in a safe direction at all times.

2. Treat every shotgun as though it were loaded.

3. Always make sure your firearm is unloaded and kept on safety when transporting or storing.

4. Be sure that the barrel is clear of obstruction and that you have the proper ammunition for the firearm you are using.

5. Be sure of your target before you pull the trigger.

6. Never point your firearm at anything you do not want to shoot.

7. Avoid all horseplay or mishandling of any firearm.

8. Never climb a fence, tree or jump a ditch with a loaded firearm.

9. Never shoot at a hard or flat surface such as rocks or water.

10. Store all firearms and ammunition separately.

11. Avoid alcohol and other drugs before or during hunting activities.

12. Keep ammunition in a locked container and keep in your possession at all times.

The annual hunting season contributes positively to the economy, particularly within several rural communities across Jamaica. "It increases business activities for hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and gas stations and provide a temporary source of income for young men who work as field assistants in retrieving and cleaning the shot birds," said Leighton Sasso. The economic importance becomes more apparent when it is considered that the hunting season coincides with the start of a new academic year, and so provides income for some rural communities. Apart from contributing to the economy, the annual game hunting season aids in regulating the game bird population, as well as ridding the area of invasive species such as the white-tailed deer.

"Hunters, we are encouraging you all to clean up after yourselves," implored Sasso. He encourages hunters to take a garbage bag during each shoot and pick up plastics and spent shells after hunting. "Let's all join the movement in having clean fun while protecting our environment," said Sasso.

For more information, visit Sasco Distributors Ltd at 11 Union Square, Cross Roads, Kingston, or call 876-929-1018, 876-920-4317 or 876-632-6131.