Daylight opening to Victorian Duck Season
Duck hunting won’t commence on opening morning in Victoria until 9 am under a tightening of regulations by the Victorian Government and the Game Management Authority.
Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the daylight hunting times for opening weekend would assist waterfowl identification and compliance efforts. “We will reflect on the impact that these changes have,” she said. “Let’s see how the new rules go but we are very keen to send a message to hunters that what happened last year was not acceptable.”
GMA chairperson Brian Hine said opening weekend presented the biggest challenge for regulators. “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. As a result, changes are being made ahead of the 2018 duck season”, Mr Hine said. “As Victoria’s hunting regulator, GMA’S key objective is to promote sustainability and responsibility in game hunting in Victoria. The behaviour of some hunters on the opening weekend of the 2017 season was neither responsible nor sustainable.”
Mr Hine said new regulations would be introduced to formalise what is already standard practice for the majority of responsible hunters. “Hunters will now be required to retrieve all game ducks they shoot and will be required to at least salvage the breast meat from a duck to ensure that harvested game is not wasted,” he said.
Details will be posted on the GMA
website prior to the start of the season.
In February, the GMA will also raise the minimum pass mark for the Waterfowl Identification Test from 75 per cent to 85 per cent. Hunters applying for a duck hunting game licence will need to meet this higher score in order to obtain their licence.
Field & Game Australia CEO Richard Light said it was evident in the days after the opening weekend in 2017 that the Victorian Government and the GMA would impose change.
“It is regrettable that the vast majority of ethical and responsible hunters are being held to account for the actions of a small but damaging minority,” he said. “As responsible hunters, we will comply with the rules, as we always do, and for the future of our hunting tradition, ensure that those around do so. We have a 12-week season and a 10 bird per day bag limit, so there is ample opportunity for all hunters to enjoy their season.”