Duck shooters accused of inhumane activities during season opening weekend
Allegations of shooters exceeding bag limits and birds sent inhumanely during the first week of the Victorian duck season have been reported to authorities.
- Animal activists say they found 23 dead birds buried in a pit on the opening weekend of the duck hunting season
- Gannawarra Police and the Game Management Authority have already issued infringement notices this season
- The authority says it will follow up on every report it receives
Craig Davey, a member of the Coalition Against Duck Shooting, told ABC Central Victoria that animal rescuers found a pit of 23 whole dead birds buried at Bael Bael Lake, northwest of Kerang.
Under Victorian law, slaughtered birds must be harvested and taken away.
“The Game Management Authority (GMA) was on site so this all happened in front of the Game Management Authority on a wetland.”
Mr Davey said the Coalition Against Duck Shooting had reported several illegal activities to the GMA over many years.
GMA chief executive Graham Ford said the authority had already issued “a number of infringement notices” since the duck hunting season began on March 16.
“We are investigating a number of memoirs, interviewing a number of hunters and protesters who violated some of the public safety laws,” Ford said.
“We are carrying out a number of surveys on a range of issues.”
Alleged inhumane killings
Helen Round, animal activist and Trentham resident, called ABC Central Victoria Breakfast and said she reported that a hunter had exceeded the bag limit and swung a duck around its head towards the GMA during the first weekend of the season.
“It’s a despicable and disgusting sport,” Ms Round said.
“I was there on Wednesday, and I was there for opening weekend, and what I saw traumatized me.
Mr Ford said that while the actions of some shooters may appear inhumane, they may not be against the law.
“What looks like an offense on a wetland may not be an offense in court,” he said.
“[Swinging a duck in the air by the neck is] not our recommendation. But then, whether it crosses the threshold of a cruelty offense is another matter.”
Ms Round said that when she radioed the incidents to the GMA, she was told they would not be carrying out further investigations and that she had to move or risk a fine.
Mr Ford said if Ms Round was within 10 yards of the shooter she could face a fine.
But he could not comment on individual incidents.
Future seasons in the hands of hunters
Gannawarra Police said that in supporting the GMA, officers gave two people offenses for entering a hunting area without a permit and issued prohibition notices for the remainder of the season.
The unit also said a hunter received a violation for shooting a protected species and had his firearm confiscated.
Mr Ford said the GMA would act on each report received, but had no reason to recommend the duck hunting season be closed.
“Our role is not to manage areas designated for hunting,” he said.
“We will recommend where we have a role to play where we see congregations of endangered species and they need to be protected that we will recommend to shut that down.
Victoria’s duck season will end on June 13.