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Duck season to go ahead

Ducks fly together: The duck hunting season will start at 8am on March 16. Photo by Contributed

The 2022 duck season will start at 8am on Wednesday, March 16 and close 30 minutes after sunset on Monday, June 13.

Last year the duck season only lasted 20 days due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The bag limit for 2022 is four birds a day.

Hunting from Wednesday, March 16 to Sunday, March 20 (inclusive) will start at 8am and finish 30 minutes after sunset on those days.

The Game Management Authority said blue-winged shoveler and hardhead could not be hunted as they were recently listed as threatened due to declining populations.

The GMA said arrangements for the 2022 duck season were based on analysis and modelling of habitat and waterbird abundance surveys conducted across eastern Australia.

In a statement GMA said a full-length season was recommended based on harvest modelling by two experts in waterfowl ecology and population dynamics, professors Klaassen and Kingsford.

“They advised that reducing the bag limit was a more effective way to reduce the overall harvest of game ducks rather than reducing season length,” the GMA said.

The GMA said as in previous years, it would continue to monitor conditions in the lead up to and during the season.

“Where warranted, wetlands may be closed to hunting or hunting may be further regulated to protect concentrations of rare or threatened species,” it said.

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting said the Victorian Government had “declared war on native waterbirds” and should cancel the season.

“The Game Management Authority’s helicopter bird survey that estimates there are 2.9 million waterbirds in Victoria, just isn’t credible,“ coalition spokesperson Craig Davey said.

“Last year only 13,394 ducks were counted, but this figure was then scaled up to an absurd total estimate of 2.45 million. It was based on new complex modelling and maths which was ripe for cherry-picking by vested interests.

“This year the helicopter survey was conducted in October 2021 yet our recent wetland surveys have shown dangerously low numbers of waterbirds on Victoria’s wetlands.

“Our surveys have shown that a large number of Victorian wetlands are still dry, including many of the 23 Ramsar wetlands near Kerang.”

Mr Davey said the government should cancel the season.

"If not, concerned members of the public will again be out on the state’s wetlands to help rescue wounded waterbirds,” he said.

Details of the 2022 duck season will be regularly updated at gma.vic.gov.au