Duck hunting season to open amid controversy over regulation

Tower Hill is a state game reserve where duck hunting is allowed during certain hours.
Tower Hill is a state game reserve where duck hunting is allowed during certain hours.

Duck hunting season is set to kick off again this weekend despite controversy over the body managing hunting.

The season will start this Saturday morning with Tower Hill, Lake Gillear and Goose Lagoon – west of Port Fairy – among locations listed as state game reserves where duck hunting is allowed.

New regulations have come into place this year, however, a report assessing the Game Management Authority’s (GMA) compliance and enforcement found the body “has not been able to effectively fulfil its compliance and enforcement responsibilities”.

The report, by Pegasus Economics, said while many hunters were responsible and respected game-hunting laws, “non-compliance with the game hunting laws is commonplace and widespread”, which “seriously undermined its credibility as an independent and effective regulator and raises questions about the integrity and sustainability of the regulatory regime.”

Tower Hill is closed to hunting every day between 9am to 5pm. Some state game reserves may closed as part of seasonal arrangements.

GMA chief executive officer Greg Hyams said new regulations meant hunters must stop shooting once a bird is downed and make all reasonable efforts to immediately recover it.

They are also required to salvage breast meat to ensure it’s not wasted.

“There is no excuse for any hunter to be unfamiliar with these changes and hunters who fail to comply with these new rules will risk receiving significant fines, forfeiture of equipment and loss of game and firearm licences,” Mr Hyams said.

The season will close on Monday June 11.