CONSECUTIVE wet years and Wood Duck populations at plague proportions mean Victorian duck hunters should enjoy a full-size bag limit season for 2023, according to the country’s pre-eminent shooting representative organisation.

This year’s duck hunting season had a bag limit of just four ducks per day, instead of the usual 10. 

Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park said duck hunting was an important part of Victoria’s culture and economy, and needed full size bag limits to capitalise on that.

“Duck hunting has been a popular pastime in Victoria since the days of European settlement and too many decisions about it recently are being made based on feelings and social politics instead of reality,” he said.

“It’s not just Victorians taking to the wetlands – hunters come in from across Australia, bringing with them badly-needed tourism dollars and support for regional Victoria.

“Hunting contributes tens, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars to the Gross State Product of Victoria each year and duck hunters are critical to regional Victoria’s post economic recovery.”

Improved wetland conditions have provided ideal breeding conditions for a number of duck species and Mr Park reiterated the main objective for most duck hunters was to eat the ducks they downed.

“Duck meat is an excellent source of iron and protein, contains more vitamins than chicken, and has about half the fat. It’s free-range, ethically harvested, and offers an outstanding field-to-plate food experience too.”

“Hunters are using non-toxic shot that is not made from lead, and not only have to pass the various police background checks to obtain a gun licence and shotgun, but also pass a waterfowl identification test before the Game Management Authority will grant them a game licence to hunt ducks.

“You can’t just go to the shops, buy a shotgun, head down to your nearest wetlands and start blasting at the nearest waterfowl – nor should you be able to.”

The 2022 season had a 99% compliance rate among hunters, according to the Game Management Authority.

While acknowledging animal rights activists were very much against duck hunting, Mr Park said respect was a two-way street and hunters simply wanted to be left in peace to pursue their sport without unwanted and unnecessary interference.

“We don’t find the places you like to do your legal sports or hobbies and get them cancelled just because we don’t like them or don’t understand them, so try extending us the same courtesy and see how much happier everyone ends up being,” he said.

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