All systems go with ducks on the agenda

It’s just about that time of the year we call duck season, and it looks like it will be a good one all round. A return to normal conditions in each state has ensured bag limits and season lengths have been set as close as we can go to a traditional campaign.

Assessments of rainfall data, wetland conditions and waterfowl abundance have shown seasonal conditions in 2017 to have been between average and above average at the local scale, especially in South Australia. Wetland conditions have been above average and rainfall across the key areas has delivered average to above average wetland habitat. With improved conditions came increases in waterfowl abundance from recordings seen in 2016.

The details of the different states’ duck and quail hunting seasons are as follows:

South Australia
South Australia’s duck hunting season began on February 17 and runs through to June 24. Species of duck that can be taken this year include grey teal, chestnut teal, Pacific black duck, mountain duck, wood duck, pink-eared duck and hardhead.

A total bag limit of 12 ducks per hunter per day applies.

South Australia’s quail hunting season also began on February 17 and runs through to August 26. A total bag limit of 20 stubble quail per hunter per day applies.

Tasmania
Tasmania’s duck hunting season begins on March 10 and runs through to June 11. Species of duck that can be taken this year include grey teal, chestnut teal, Pacific black duck, mountain duck and wood duck.

A total bag limit of 10 ducks per hunter per day applies.

Tasmania’s quail hunting season begins on May 12 and runs through to June 24. A total bag limit of 20 brown quail per hunter per day applies.

Victoria
Victoria’s duck season begins on March 17 and runs through to June 11. This year regulations have been modified to have a single start time across the whole of Victoria for the opening weekend of the 2018 duck season. Hunting on Saturday must commence no earlier than 9am and on Sunday no earlier than 8am. For the rest of the season hunting will revert back to standard regulated times across all zones. Species of duck that can be taken this year include grey teal, chestnut teal, Pacific black duck, mountain duck, wood duck, pink-eared duck and hardhead.

A total bag limit of 10 ducks per hunter per day applies.

Victoria’s quail hunting season opens on Saturday, 7 April 2018 and closes on Thursday, 30 June 2018. The bag limit is a maximum of 20 birds per day.

The modification of hunting regulations in Victoria is a direct result of unacceptable behaviour by a small minority of unethical shooters last year. These shooters began shooting before the official start time, shot protected birds and failed to retrieve shot game birds. Unfortunately, once again, we see ethical and responsible hunters being punished for the actions of a few.

Although a 9am start gives hunters an opportunity to have breakfast before shooting, they will certainly miss out on the best phase to fill their bags early on opening morning. Without a delay in the period protesters can enter wetlands, there is the potential for increased conflict between the two groups. This is not a good situation. The point has come for ethical hunters to report the wrongdoers. We need to do this so we can remove those few that can cause harm to the future of hunting. We must protect the activity that we enjoy and share with family and friends.

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