THE state government’s announcement of a full 12-week duck hunting season has been welcomed by Warrnambool shooters.
Geoff Morris, of Warr-nambool Field and Game Incorporated, said the decision to allow 12 weeks of shooting with a daily bag limit of 10 ducks was a responsible approach to the large number of ducks on the state’s lakes and wetlands.
“We’ve had good rainfall and when you get good rain the ducks breed well,” Mr Morris said.
“The numbers are high and this level of hunting is very sustainable.”
The season will open on Saturday, March 15 at 7.10am in the eastern zone, 7.20am in the central zone and 7.30am in the western zone, and close half an hour after sunset on Monday, June 9.
Yambuk, Peterborough and Rocklands were popular shooting venues among Warrnambool hunters, he said.
Announcing the decision, Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said he had accepted the Hunting Advisory Committee’s recommendation for a full season because there would be sustainable bird numbers and habitat next year.
Mr Walsh said there was good distribution of game ducks throughout eastern Australia and extensive waterfowl habitat in southern Victoria and neighbouring South Australia.
“Game hunting is part of Victoria’s heritage,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Coalition government encourages our state’s 45,000 licensed game hunters to make the most of Victoria’s opportunities to enjoy this recreational activity.
“Game hunting generates around $100 million annually and supports jobs in hospitality and recreational supplies, such as vehicles, boats, fuel, firearms and ammunition, plus camping and hunting equipment.
“Various stakeholders including bird conservation, animal welfare and hunting organisations were consulted in making this decision,” Mr Walsh said.
“This is in line with South Australia and Tasmania which have both declared similar seasons for 2014 with bag limits of 10 game ducks.”
Mr Walsh said game duck habitat in Victoria was extensive and game ducks were spread widely across eastern Australia.
Any hunter wishing to go duck hunting in Victoria must also pass a waterfowl identification test, which examines a hunter’s ability to identify waterfowl species.