Mr Light said unsubstantiated claims made by anti-hunting activists, and the release of selective video on the final day of the 12 week season is a deliberate and unreasonable attempt to tarnish the reputation of all hunters.
“The Game Management Authority is rightly investigating the claims and we will await the outcome,” he said.
“We also encourage the regulator to investigate the behaviour of activists on the wetland where the video was shot, and whether laws put in place to protect legitimate hunters from harassment and interference were breached.”
Field & Game represents the majority of the 26,000 licenced duck hunters in Victoria and for 60 years has harnessed volunteers to drive wetland conservation and protect habitat for all native waterbirds.
“Duck Season is highly regulated and this year additional changes were made to opening times on the first weekend and for the retrieval of game birds and retention of game meat throughout the season.”
“Despite the added complexity in an already highly regulated activity, the strong compliance by hunters was acknowledged by the regulator and the Victorian Government following the opening weekend of the season,” Mr Light said.
Hunting organisations like Field & Game Australia have promoted ethical and sustainable hunting and assisted with hunter education, our feedback is that the season has been an overwhelming success with hunters harvesting wild food while complying with regulations.
“Hunters overwhelmingly demonstrated that ethical and humane hunting is sustainable for future generations to come,” Mr Light said.
“Field & Game Australia does not condone illegal or unethical behaviour, and rightly the regulator is investigating.”
“We do not accept, nor should anyone accept, the inference that the video and associated allegations are representative. The clear evidence from the 2018 Victorian Duck Season is that hunters respect the laws, the environment and game birds.” —