While in NSW hunters must book in advance, alerting authorities to where they will be hunting on public land, in Victoria authorities have been unable to even say where all the public hunting areas are.
Over 50% of Victorian public land is available to hunters who collectively make up less than 1% of the population (GMA license statistics). In the case of duck shooting – set to start 8am May 26, neither GMA nor DELWP have been able to provide accurate lists of hunting areas nor estimate their number despite numerous Freedom of Information requests.
Last year a “coked up shooter” had his gun seized on the first weekend of duck shooting. Before that a “campers’ terrifying night” was reported and reports of shooting of protected species is common.
RVOTDS have written to Minister Mary-Anne Thomas numerous times requesting that due diligence be undertaken including risk assessments and social / economic impact studies to community. “In the interim, we again call for shooting to be restricted to areas which are signposted, monitored, out of ear-shot of residents and to shooters who have passed a waterfowl ID test in the last twelve months.”
Meanwhile a petition to ban duck shooting in Mount Alexander Shire has attracted hundreds of signatures, most of them local, in a week. The petition supports a vote by the Council two years ago.
Documents obtained through Freedom of Information show Goulburn Murray Water can ban duck shooting at their storage here. Further, that the water manager has been aware for several years of residents’ concerns and safety concerns of their own staff during shooting yet have still not banned the activity.
The case to ban duck shooting is not just an environmental, safety and amenity issue, but also an economic one. Rod Campbell, research director at The Australia Institute, said “Hunter expenditure is minimal compared to other recreation and tourism spending and what people do spend on duck hunting would simply be spent on fishing, boating and camping in the event of a ban.”
Quotes by Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting inc.
“With more people living in these areas now than they did in the 1950’s and more people interested in enjoying Victoria’s natural assets in peace and safety, recreational bird shooting is no longer appropriate. “.
“Some wetlands in Victoria have already been closed to duck shooting for reasons including safety including two in Mildura in 2019 and Lake Mokoan long before that. Areas like Weeroona, Wendouree and Albert Park don’t allow bird shooting either. Lake Mokoan (aka Winton Wetlands) can now see over 65,000 visitors a year to that one area.”
“It’s very disappointing Goulburn Murray Water appear more concerned about potentially upsetting a dwindling number of bird shooters”.