Duck season claims challenged
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party's sole Victorian MP has questioned claims by the Animal Justice Party and animal rights activists surrounding duck season in Victoria.
Jeff Bourman represents Eastern Victoria in the state Legislative Council and expressed satisfaction at the length of this year's season, but was frustrated in the upper house that he couldn't move to create more certainty in advance of duck hunting seasons.
“I tried to do that [private members bill] last sitting week, the problem I had was, the way it was going to work – I needed the leave of the chamber to put a private members bill up and The Greens said no.”
“So I reverted back to a motion which, even if it had been successful, would not have been able to change anything, so it’s clear to say that The Greens were I think a little bit worried about how reasonable my bill was because it didn’t call for more ducks, more duck seasons or anything, it was all about certainty, but they wouldn’t let it through.”
Western Victorian MLC Andy Meddick is the Animal Justice Party's sole representative in state parliament and has been campaigning against the duck season:
Mr Bourman said it Mr Meddick's position was understandable in one sense:
“I’ve got to say that the giveaway with Mr. Meddick’s point-of-view is in his party name, as much as mine is – they are animal rights people and there is no correct answer for them other than, no duck hunting.”
“They will use everything and anything within their power to try and stop it.”
“I guess that’s his [Meddick’s] way in life and as much as I don’t agree with it, it’s his way of doing things but there is always cause for contention.”
Hear the full interview with Jeff Bourman MLC on the Flow podcast:
Wildlife Victoria complained in mid-March that shooters were being indiscriminate and breaking laws intended to protect certain species. Wildlife Victoria CEO, Lisa Palma said that within days of of duck hunting season openuing, a total of three threatened bird species (two Blue Winged Shovelers and one Hardhead) had been brought to the triage facility bearing lethal gunshot wounds.
Ms Palma said:
“We are seeing the clear evidence of this terrible tragedy unfolding – and this is only the second day.
“Duck shooting is horrendous given the ever diminishing state of our water bird population and the fact that many of the shooters can’t differentiate between one species over another.
“Surely the ducks that we have witnessed coming through Wildlife Victoria’s triage facility are evidence enough to confirm the fact that duck hunting is indiscriminate, cruel and senseless.”
The Shooters MP Mr Bourman took aim at some of the claims being made during this season:
“A lot of the time when we hear about this shot and that shot, there’s no actual evidence...all we get is some sneaky old ducks and a swan every year put outside the Premier’s office that have been clearly dead for quite some time and if there was really any evidence of people doing the wrong thing, they should be prosecuted.”
“I’m not after to look after hunters to do the wrong thing, I’m after hunters to do the right thing and if he’s [Meddick] got some evidence, put it on the table, literally.”
The Game Management Authority (GMA) recently closed part of Dowd Morass State Game Reserve in Gippsland effective 26 March after surveys identified breeding waterbirds including royal spoonbills and pied cormorants with chicks.
The GMA warned hunters should regularly monitor the GMA’s website to stay up to date on wetland closures and re-openings.
The daily bag limit is four game ducks per person per day and the Blue-winged Shoveler and Hardhead may not be hunted this season.
The GMA also said hunters must make all reasonable efforts to retrieve downed ducks immediately and harvest at least the breast meat.
Meanwhile, GMA Game Officers, Victoria Police and Authorised Officers from DELWP, DJPR, Victorian Fisheries Authority and Parks Victoria will continue to patrol wetlands across Victoria to ensure hunters and protestors act in a safe and responsible manner.
Notwithstanding the regulatory arrangement, Mr Bourman expressed a relative satisfaction with the season:
“It will be a nice long duck season if not a great bag.”
“The people calling for the end of duck hunting are using a particular scientist’s data and that particular scientist is helping the GMA work out on a sustainable hunting action plan, so I think it’s reasonable to assume that scientist doesn’t believe his data precludes duck hunting.”
Duck season began on 16 March under the following conditions supervised by GMA:
Season opens – Wednesday 16 March 2022
Season closes – 30 minutes after sunset, Monday 13 June 2022
Start times from Wednesday 16 March to Sunday 20 March, inclusive
Hunting finish times from Wednesday 16 March to Sunday 20 March, inclusive
30 minutes after sunset
Hunting times for the rest of the season
30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset
Four game ducks per day
Game duck species permitted to be taken in 2022
Six of the eight species of game duck can be hunted during 2022. The game duck species that can be hunted are:
Pacific Black Duck
Game duck species prohibited from being hunted in 2022: