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Victoria shrugs of campaigners and allows duck hunting season to go ahead

A complete ban on duck hunting has been recommended by a Victorian parliamentary inquiry.

A complete ban on duck hunting has been recommended by a Victorian parliamentary inquiry. Photo: AAP

A recreational duck hunting season will go ahead in Victoria despite repeated calls for a ban.

The state’s Game Management Authority on Friday confirmed the 2023 season would begin on April 26 and last until May 30.

There will be a bag limit of four birds a day, with shooters only allowed to hunt between 8am and 30 minutes after sunset.

Hunters will be prohibited from killing the protected blue-winged shoveler and hardhead species.

The state government had been weighing up whether this year’s season would go ahead following repeated calls for a ban from animal welfare groups.

The government on Friday instead announced a committee would examine recreational native bird hunting in the state, given the issue was becoming “increasingly contested”.

The Victorian Greens have criticised the government for pushing ahead with the season, saying it caved to pressure from the shooting lobby.

‘Incredibly disappointed’

“To green light this year’s season and send countless more ducks to slaughter for ‘sport’ is nothing short of inhumane,” Greens spokeswoman Katherine Copsey said.

The RSPCA and Wildlife Victoria were also “incredibly disappointed” in the government’s decision.

“Regardless of the reduced season length, based on a 35-day hunting season approximately 87,000 birds will be killed … and up to 35,000 wounded and left to die,” RSPCA Victoria chief executive Liz Walker said.

The Victorian opposition has slammed the new hunting restrictions, accusing the government of trying to shore up votes in the city.

“Duck hunters are becoming the poster child of Labor’s green crusade,” opposition agriculture spokeswoman Emma Kealy said in a statement.

“The Andrews Labor government is mounting pressure on hunters that are doing the right thing, hitting them with restricted bag limits and shorter seasons.”

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia was also unhappy with the plans, saying there was no rationale to the changes, as was the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party Victoria.

The party described the seasonal arrangements as an insult.

“In light of some of the best conditions seen in 30 years Victorian duck hunters have been insulted with a pitiful five week season, four bird bag limit and an 8am start each day,” the party said in a statement.

Public hearings ahead

The Legislative Council committee will look at the operation of the annual hunting seasons as well as arrangements in other states, environmental sustainability, and social and economic impact.

The committee will hold public hearings to hear from hunting associations, animal welfare groups and regional communities.

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia’s Victorian hunting development manager David Laird said the new legislative committee was unnecessary,

“The South Australian government took a similar proposal to their recent state election,” Mr Laird said.

“It looks both timid and tricky for the Victorian government to have not done the same.”

The government will move to establish the committee during the next sitting week in March and a final report will be tabled by August 31.

-AAP

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