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Wetland closures for the opening of the 2019 duck hunting season

Wetland closures for the opening of the 2019 duck hunting season

Several Victorian wetlands will be closed for the 2019 Duck Season which commences on March 16, and SSAA Victoria members are advised to ensure they are shooting only where permitted.

“We would prefer to have greater access to our wetlands and hope that during the season at least some of the restrictions are lifted,” said SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager David Laird.

“But it is what it is and there are still opportunities for duck hunters to get out there and enjoy what the season has to offer.”

The following wetlands or parts of wetlands will be closed from the start of the 2019 season to protect or prevent disturbance to significant numbers of threatened birds:

  • Hospital Swamps (part of the Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve, near Geelong) will be closed to hunting due to the disturbance hunting would have on a large number of critically endangered Curlew Sandpiper prior to their migration to Siberia. The remaining wetlands that make up the Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve (Reedy Lake, Salt Swamp and Lake Connewarre) will remain open to hunting.
  • Lake Bolac (adjacent to the township of Lake Bolac): Hunting from boats will be prohibited due to the presence of a large number of threatened Blue-billed and Freckled Duck. However, hunters are permitted to use non-motorised boats to retrieve downed birds hunted from the shoreline.
  • Lake Linlithgow (near Hamilton) will be closed to hunting on the opening weekend only due to the presence of a large number of Blue-billed Duck. Hunting from boats will be prohibited on Lake Linlithgow for the remainder of the season. However, hunters are permitted to use non-motorised boats to retrieve downed birds hunted from the shoreline.
  • Lake Lonsdale (near Stawell) will be closed to hunting due to the presence of a large number of threatened Freckled Duck.
  • Lake Murphy State Game Reserve (near Kerang) will be closed to hunting due to the presence of a large number of Freckled Duck.
  • Pine Lake (near Horsham): Hunting from boats will be prohibited on Pine Lake due to the presence of a large number of Blue-billed Duck. However, hunters are permitted to use non-motorised boats to retrieve downed birds hunted from the shoreline.
  • Round Lake (near Lake Boga) will be closed to hunting due to the presence of a large number of  threatened Blue-billed Duck and Caspian Terns.
  • Tower Hill State Game Reserve (13 km north west of the township of Warrnambool) will be partially closed to hunting due to the presence of a significant number of Blue-billed Duck. The western half of the lake will be closed to hunting but the eastern half will remain open.
  • Round Lake, part of the Cope Cope State Game Reserve (south of Donald) will be closed due to the presence of a large number of Freckled Duck and Blue-billed Duck.

As in previous years, Kow Swamp near Gunbower and Reedy Lakes (Reedy, Middle and Third Lake) at Kerang will be closed for the entire season to reinforce their status as wildlife sanctuaries where hunting is prohibited.

Game Management Authority (GMA) CEO Graeme Ford said closing wetlands or prohibiting hunting from a boat ensures that threatened species are protected and duck hunting remains sustainable.

“Through closing wetlands or regulating hunting methods, such as boating, where appropriate and paying close attention to bird numbers, we are able to ensure that rare and threatened species are protected,” Mr Ford said.

“Government officials will monitor the closed wetlands throughout the season. If the reason for the closure no longer exists, they will be recommended to be reopened for hunting.”

Hunters are reminded that the daily bag limit is four game ducks per person 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 is not permitted for 2019.

As per last year, hunting on the opening weekend of the 2019 season will commence at 9.00 am on Saturday and 8.00 am on Sunday across the whole of Victoria as part of a two-year trial to ensure an orderly start to the season. 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 season closes half an hour after sunset on Sunday 19 May.

Hunters are reminded they are required to immediately retrieve any ducks they shoot and ensure they harvest at least the breast meat from the duck.

GMA Game Officers, Victoria Police and other authorised officers from DELWP, DJPR, Victorian Fisheries Authority and Parks Victoria will be patrolling wetlands across the state during the duck season to ensure hunters act in a safe and responsible manner.

For more information on the duck season, please visit www.gma.vic.gov.au

2019 Victoria Duck Hunting Season Arrangements
Season Length 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 Blue-winged Shoveler.
Hunters MUST Immediately retrieve all game ducks that they shoot and salvage at least the breast meat of the ducks they harvest.