News

Activists call for hunt ban

By Country News

More than 70 dead native ducks have been dumped outside Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ office as activists continue to hunt for a full-scale ban on the sport.

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting on Thursday laid out the carcases, illegally left to rot after being shot since the start of the hunting season almost three weeks ago.

Despite a dramatic fall in the number of killed or injured birds picked up by volunteers across state wetlands, campaign director Laurie Levy wants more protections put in place.

‘‘This time last year we had 1500 birds outside the premier’s office, including 296 illegally-shot threatened species and 183 of those were threatened freckled ducks and blue-billed ducks,’’ Mr Levy said.

‘‘Because of the policing this year, we haven’t got any of those (threatened) birds, which is a really good thing.

‘‘But once the police officers and the compliance officers leave a wetland ... this (illegal hunting) is what happens. So duck shooting has to be banned.’’

The government’s decision to close wetlands that are home to threatened species had ‘‘broken the back of the issue’’ and led to a reduced number of some 2100 duck shooters being active over the opening weekend, Mr Levy claimed.

‘‘Duck shooters always talk about the fact that years ago they could go out to the wetlands, be with their mates and have a bit of fun,’’ he said.

‘‘These days they’re being watched by the government, police, Game Management Authority and our rescuers — and of course it’s no fun.’’

However, Field and Game Australia development manager Daryl Snowdon said hunters had been responsible and picked up the vast majority of the thousands of ducks shot this season.

‘‘(Protesters) have managed to collect 77 birds. From our perspective, it’s been a huge success,’’ he said.