Hunter num­bers grow­ing

Vic­to­ria’s Game Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (GMA) has re­leased a re­port on game li­cens­ing sta­tis­tics show­ing 10 per cent growth to game li­cences with duck en­ti­tle­ments since 1996.

Field and Game - - HUNTER NUMBERS -

The re­port up­dates li­cens­ing sta­tis­tics across all per­mit types to June 2017. Over the same 20-year pe­riod, there has been a 72 per cent in­crease in all hunt­ing with the big­gest in­crease in deer hun­ters (365 per cent) and quail (16 per cent). The ma­jor­ity of Game Li­cence hold­ers pre­dom­i­nantly hunt a sin­gle species of game with 23 015 (43 per cent) only hunt­ing deer and a fur­ther 14 703 (28 per cent) only hunt­ing duck. The re­main­ing 29 per cent of li­cence hold­ers hunt a com­bi­na­tion of game species.

The num­ber of duck en­ti­tle­ment hold­ers has fluc­tu­ated over the years de­pend­ing on the sea­son, but even in the four years where the duck sea­son was can­celled (1995, 2003, 2007, 2008) multi-year en­ti­tle­ments ranged be­tween 17 156 in 1995 and 19 141 in 2008.

The ma­jor­ity of li­cence hold­ers across all cat­e­gories (62 per cent) cur­rently hold a long-term en­ti­tle­ment.

The 20 years from 1996 also in­cludes three re­stricted Duck Sea­sons (2009, 2015, 2016) where li­censed hunter num­bers ranged be­tween 18 348 and 25 989.

The li­cens­ing data in­di­cates there is no sig­nif­i­cant drop-off in hunter li­cens­ing in years where re­duc­tions in bag lim­its and/or species are im­posed, a re­flec­tion of the pas­sion duck hun­ters pos­sess.

Hunter ef­fort dur­ing the sea­son may change to suit the con­di­tions, but the desire to par­tic­i­pate doesn’t wane even

when op­por­tu­nity is lim­ited. Duck hunter num­bers in­creased from 25 646 in 2016 (a re­stricted sea­son) to 26 357 as of June 30, 2017, a rise of 2.77 per cent. The GMA data shows that hunt­ing of all types is male dom­i­nated, and duck hunt­ing has the low­est fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion rate of 1.8 per cent. While the base is low, fe­male hunter num­bers are grow­ing slowly (up 0.3 per cent from 2016) and more im­por­tantly for the fu­ture of hunt­ing, that growth has been pre­dom­i­nantly in the 10–17 age group (25 per cent) and 18–25 age group (12.6 per cent).

How­ever, the pro­file is the same as male hun­ters with num­bers drop­ping off be­tween the ages of 28 and 37 with the pres­sures of ca­reer and fam­ily.

Male duck hun­ters are still pre­dom­i­nantly older with males aged 38–67 ac­count­ing for 58 per cent and 20 per cent aged over 68. Year on year the num­ber of ju­nior duck hun­ters aged 10–17 in­creased 3.4 per cent while the 18–27 cat­e­gory rose only slightly from 2432 hun­ters to 2438. The pos­i­tive is that young hun­ters are be­ing re­tained, and new hun­ters added par­tic­u­larly in the 28–37 age pro­file, which in­creased 5.4 per cent from 2016.

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