Victorian Duck Shooters Face New Rules in 2018
The Weekly Times broke the news early that Victorian Duck shooters will face new rules this year. The new duck season rules will ban pre-dawn shooting at this year’s opening, and force hunters to keep their game.
Victoria’s Game Management Authority has announced that on the opening day of the season — Saturday March, 17— no shots can be fired before 9am, and the following day that no shooting will be permitted before 8am.
Hunters will then be permitted to begin shooting from half an hour before sunrise for the remainder of the season.
For the first time, hunters will be required to remove each bird that is shot from the wetlands.
GMA chair Brian Hine said the shift in start times was a trial designed to avoid clashed between hunter and protesters in the dark.
“Last year’s opening weekend saw some hunters engage in entirely unacceptable behaviour including early shooting, shooting protected species and failing to retrieve shot birds and as a result, changes are being made ahead of the 2018 duck season,” Mr Hine said.
“Hunters will now be required to retrieve all game ducks that they shoot and will be required to at least salvage the breast meat from a duck to ensure that harvested game is not wasted.”
From next month, hunters will also be required to get a minimum pass mark of 85 per cent on the Waterfowl Identification Test when applying for the duck hunting game licence, up from 75 per cent.
The bag limit will remain at 10 birds per person per day, with hunters prohibited from shooting the Blue-winged Shoveler due to low numbers.
The season will close on Monday, June 11.
Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting spokeswoman Kerrie Allen, whose group lobbied for a ban on hunting, said the change was insufficient to protect birds from harm.
“We see this as an abhorrent disregard for wildlife, a despicable lack of consideration for rate paying rural communities whose lives are significantly and adversely affected,” she said.
State upper house MP Daniel Young, from the Hunters and Fishers party was also angered by the change, believing a shift the start time closer to 10am when protesters were allowed to enter wetlands was “a knee-jerk reaction” and “a recipe for disaster”.
“Protesters have proven to be extremely hostile towards hunters,” he said.
“The traditional times allowed hunters to go in without interference and plenty of time to bag their limit for the day.
“There is no justification for the new opening time because it does not solve any perceived issues.”
Hunters and the general public are urged to report any illegal hunting to the GMA through its website www.gma.vic.gov.au or the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or by contacting Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or Victoria Police.