Season closes

By Country News

This year’s duck hunting season officially came to a close on Monday last week, but not before one final controversy marred the three-month season.

Allegations of illegal duck hunting at the close of Victoria’s shooting season are under investigation following the release of footage from the Coalition Against Duck Shooting.

The group shared footage that it said showed duck hunters using an airboat to hunt native water birds at Cundare Pool, west of Geelong, on Monday, against Game Management Authority rules.

The GMA said it was investigating the allegations, yet reports from throughout the season showed most hunters complied with the new regulations and start times.

‘‘A small number of offences are currently being followed up which may result in offenders receiving infringement notices or court charges for more significant issues,’’ a spokesperson said.

‘‘These matters are currently being finalised and some require further investigation.’’

Field and Game Australia chief executive officer Richard Light congratulated hunters and said they demonstrated that ‘‘ethical and humane hunting is sustainable for future generations to come’’.

‘‘The clear evidence from the 2018 Victorian Duck Season is that hunters respect the laws, the environment and game birds,’’ he said.

However, CADS campaign director Laurie Levy said the ‘‘extremely low numbers’’ of duck shooters ‘‘makes it easy’’ for the government to ban duck hunting.

The official numbers of hunters participating in the duck hunting season are yet to be released.

‘‘When duck shooting is banned in Victoria, regional towns will be able to put everything into following in the footsteps the highly successful Phillip Island tourism model,’’ Mr Levy said.

‘‘In north-west Victoria, the 23 magnificent Kerang Ramsar wetlands have the potential to entice tourists and bird watchers from all over the world.’’

New regulations were introduced this year which required hunters to immediately recover all downed game ducks and to salvage at least the breast meat of harvested ducks.

New later start times over the opening weekend were also trialled.