Duck hunting season begins

Duck hunting season begins

Local duck hunters will take their first shot tomorrow at 9am with the two-month season getting underway under modified restrictions.

The daily bag limit has dropped to four ducks per day over the opening weekend and five ducks per day for the remainder of the season, which concludes on May 19. The 2018 bag limit was 10.

Hunting times remain half an hour before sunrise until half an hour after sunset.

The changes have frustrated local shooters. Bairnsdale Field and Game president, Mick Crane, said he would like to see the 2018 bag limit “reinstated” when changes were announced in January.

“I think with the sustainability programs put in place by Field and Game Australia the bag limit changes wasn’t warranted,” he said.

“It’s disappointing the count numbers completed by Field and Game weren’t taken on board, but still we’re happy we’ve got a season.”

Game Management Authority (GMA) chief executive officer, Graeme Ford, said all hunters need to be aware of the laws and new regulations.

“A number of wetlands across the state have been closed or further regulated to protect or prevent disturbance to significant numbers of threatened birds and the hunting of the Bluewinged Shoveler will be prohibited,” Mr Ford said.

“Hunters are also reminded they are required to immediately retrieve any ducks they shoot and ensure they harvest at least the breast meat from the duck to ensure that harvested game is not wasted. This is already standard practice for the majority of responsible hunters.”

Mr Ford said the GMA will be teaming up with partner enforcement agencies, including Victoria Police, to target the minority of hunters that don’t do the right thing.

“Anyone caught doing the wrong thing risks fines of up to $38,000, jail terms, loss of Game and Firearms licences, and their firearms,” Mr Ford said
Mr Ford is also reminding protestors to ensure they act in a safe and responsible manner.

“While those who oppose duck hunting have a right to protest, they must do so safely and legally. There are significant penalties should protestors unlawfully enter in, or remain on, a specified hunting area or interfere with or harass hunters,” Mr Ford said.

“Public safety laws are in place to protect the broader community, hunters, authorized officers and protestors themselves.”