WARRNAMBOOL and district hunters are expected to head north for the opening of the Victorian duck season tomorrow.
Dry conditions across south-west lakes mean bird numbers are relatively low, with local rivers likely to be the focus of district attention.
Shooters are reporting regular south-west hunting spots, including Kelly Swamp and Yambuk Lake, are drier than in previous years.
Many hunters who want to be involved in the duck season opening will head north where Edenhope and the Horsham district, featuring Toolondo Reservoir, are expected to be popular.
The Victorian duck season begins tomorrow, with 10 new state game reserves securing more habitat for waterfowl and improving hunting opportunities.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the state government encouraged Victoria’s 25,000 licensed hunters to act responsibly during the 12-week season, including adhering to the bag limit of 10 game birds per day.
“Victoria has some of the best duck hunting opportunities in Australia and hunters generate important economic activity in Victorian rural towns and regional centres,” Mr Walsh said.
“Following the Victorian Environment Assessment Council’s river red gum forest investigation, 10 additional reserves will now be classified as state game reserves for duck hunting while another six temporary state game reserves will become permanent.”
Mr Walsh said state game reserves were managed by Parks Victoria and highly valued by the hunting community, as they provide a productive and secure habitat for water birds.
However, Mr Walsh said five wetlands would be closed this season and another wetland partially closed.
“The Department of Environment and Primary Industries’ annual waterfowl count found there were substantial numbers of freckled duck and blue-billed duck in some locations,” he said.
“By closing wetlands where appropriate, we are ensuring rare and threatened species are protected, while still enabling duck hunters to enjoy their recreation.”
The wetlands to be fully closed are Round Lake at Lake Boga, Hird Swamp at Kerang, Bartlett’s Swamp at Boort, Lake Natimuk and Lake Colac.
Part of Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve, near Geelong, will also be closed.
Kerang district’s Kow Swamp and Reedy Lakes are closed to reinforce their status as wildlife sanctuaries.
The season opens at 7.10am tomorrow in the eastern zone, 7.20am in the central zone and 7.30am in the western zone and closes half an hour after sunset on Monday, June 9.
For more information on the duck season visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/duck-hunting-season