Duck season restrictions anger hunters
SSAA Victoria duck hunters are angry at the restricted duck season that has been announced for 2019.
The declaration of a nine-week season with a bag limit of four birds on the first day and five per day for the remainder of the season has been criticised by the Association.
Hunting Development Manager, David Laird, said that SSAA Victoria and FGA had done a good job making submissions to the GMA during the consideration period for the season.
“Both Associations' submissions were reasoned and clearly demonstrated why a normal season should have been put in place,” he said.
“Those submissions were clearly ignored. It is difficult to understand how the decision to make the announced changes has been reached.”
SSAA Victoria called for a change to the current arrangements in determining the duck season and to make the process much more transparent.
“It is difficult for hunters to accept the decisions being made where there is no clear scientific basis to them,” Mr Laird said.
“The GMA will not even disclose what its recommendations to the Minister are and on what basis they have been made.
“The Association expects decisions on game management to be based on facts and science, not as it appears, on opinion, prejudice or political expediency. We will continue to work towards that goal.”
Mr Laird said a significant duck population is present in Victoria and could sustain a regular season with no threat to the sustainability of the population.
“Official summer waterbird counts, if conducted appropriately over the entire state, would support the private counts that have shown this,” he said.
“The Kingsford aerial count should not be relied upon when determining duck seasons in Victoria.
“It covers only two transects and does not take into any account dispersed populations on rivers, streams, dams or even many of the significant wetlands in the state.
“The more significant and relevant Kingsford research has shown that hunting does not have a significant effect on duck populations.”
Extreme weather events in the last month have seen heavy and widespread rainfall across much of Eastern Australia, resulting in ideal duck habitat.
Meanwhile, hunters should receive a significant refund on their game licences given the reduced hunting opportunities they will have in the upcoming season.
“It is also unfortunate that the significant economic boost that duck hunters provide to regional economies every year will be reduced,” Mr Laird said.
“A shorter season and reduced bag limits does not affect the sustainability of duck populations but it does reduce hunter participation and causes a reduction in spending.”
The GMA media release
A dry season has been identified as the reason for significant restrictions on the 2019 duck hunting season, which was announced today.
The Game Management Authority (GMA) outlined the arrangements for the season including changes to the season length and the daily bag limit.
Prevailing and persistent dry conditions across eastern Australia has reduced duck numbers, breeding and wetland habitat in Victoria. As a result, the GMA advised the Victorian Government that a modified season was necessary to reduce the seasonal harvest, to ensure duck hunting is conducted responsibly and duck numbers remain sustainable.
The 2019 duck hunting season will be modified from 12 to nine weeks commencing on Saturday 16 March 2019 and closing on Sunday 19 May 2019.
Hunters will be restricted to four game ducks per day on the opening weekend, with a five game duck per day bag limit for the remainder of the nine week season. The hunting of Blue-winged Shoveler will again be prohibited throughout the entire season.
As per last year, hunting on the opening weekend of the 2019 season will commence at 9am on Saturday and 8am on Sunday across the whole of Victoria as part of a two-year trial of opening the season during daylight hours. For the rest of the season, hunting times will revert to the standard period of half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
The settings for the 2019 duck season are based on analysis of habitat and waterbird surveys conducted across eastern Australia and other data relating to game duck abundance, habitat distribution and climate.
Hunters are reminded of the laws introduced last year requiring them to immediately retrieve all game ducks that they shoot and to at least salvage the breast meat from a duck to ensure that harvested game is not wasted. These laws formalised what is already standard practice for responsible hunters.
The GMA and partner agencies, including Victoria Police, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and Parks Victoria, will be out again in force in 2019 to ensure compliance with both hunting and public safety laws.
As in previous years, the GMA will continue to monitor conditions in the lead up to and during the season. Where warranted, wetlands may be closed to hunting to protect significant concentrations of waterbirds.
Details of the 2019 duck season, including fact sheets and information about any wetland closures throughout the season, will be available on the GMA website in due course.
|2019 Victoria Duck Hunting
||Season opens - Saturday 16 March 2019
Season closes - Sunday 19 May 2019
|Start times on opening weekend
||9.00 am on Saturday and 8.00 am on Sunday. Hunting must cease half an hour after sunset over the opening weekend.
|Start times for the rest of the season
||Half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
|Bag limit on opening weekend
||Four game ducks per day on the opening weekend.
|Bag limit for the rest of the season
||Five game ducks per day.
|Game Duck Species permitted to be taken
||Seven of the eight species of game duck can be hunted during 2019. They are, Pacific Black Duck, Mountain Duck, Chestnut Teal, Grey Teal, Pink-eared Duck, Wood Duck and Hardhead.
|Game duck species prohibited to be taken in 2019
||Immediately retrieve all game ducks that they shoot and salvage at least the breast meat of the ducks they harvest.