Duck Survey Results - Bad News For Duck Hunters

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Another heavily-reduced duck season has been announced for South Australia, but the question is, will Victoria follow suit?

The University of NSW survey showed waterbird breeding was at unsustainable levels, especially among game birds. The Victorian Government will use the survey statistics to determine if a duck hunting season will go ahead and under what conditions.

“Total breeding index (nests plus broods) was 364 (all species combined), a considerable decrease from the previous year (1987) and well below the long term average,” the report said.

“Breeding species’ richness was extremely low, with only three species recorded breeding, the sixth lowest on record. Black swans comprised most of the breeding recorded (296), 81 per cent of the total.”

The Weekly Times reported "Even the number of waterbirds surveyed was down to 162,824, less than in 2019 and well below average — the sixth lowest in 38 years of surveys".

The survey team, led by professor Richard Kingsford, found the most abundant waterbird populations were in northern Queensland and northern NSW, including a large part of the northern Murray Darling Basin.

“Waterbirds were more widely dispersed than in the previous year, (and just) five wetlands supported more than 5000 waterbirds representing 35 per cent of the total abundance — three of these occurred in the Murray-Darling Basin,” the team reported.

But as the survey progressed the team found very low numbers of game birds, especially in the southern Murray Darling Basin, Victoria and South Australia.

“All game species abundances were well below long-term averages, in some cases by an order of magnitude (a tenth). Five out of eight species continue to show significant long term declines. Grey teal declined significantly from the previous year.”

Jay Scicluna (VDHA Secretary) released the following email to South Australian Hunters. 

2021 SA Duck Season

Hunters will be limited to 4 game birds per day over a 14 week hunting season starting in March.

The following game birds will be excluded from the 2021 South Australian Duck Hunting Season and cannot be hunted:

Blue Winged Shoveler
Pink-Eared Duck
Hard Head

Quail cannot be hunted either.

The VDHA understands that the SA Season will coincide with the Victorian Duck Hunting Season meaning that there is a potential for economic loss for either state (SA or VIC).

What this means for the Victorian Duck Hunting Season:

Historically, the Victorian Game Management Authority's recommendation into the annual duck season is heavily influenced by the SA Government's annual announcement on the SA Duck Season.

The VDHA has recommended a Full Unmodified 2021 Victorian Duck Season and we hope that the GMA and Ministers can come to the same conclusion.

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