Get involved in conservation

Hunting encourages people to connect with, and to conserve, the natural environment.  This interest stems from continuous and repeated exposure to wildlife and the environment and a hunter’s need to understand the ecology and behaviour of their quarry in order to be an effective hunter.

While a recent economic study identified that hunters make a $439 million economic contribution to the State, hunters also contribute a considerable amount of time and resources to the conservation of wildlife habitats across the landscape.  Conservation activities range from wetland rehabilitation, wildlife and pest control programs, nest box construction, revegetation and disease monitoring to name a few.

The frequency with which hunters access the natural environment and remote parts of the state put hunters in a unique position.  The Victorian hunting community can expand the valuable role it plays in conservation by linking into existing conservation and surveillance programs which will help maintain a healthy environment that will benefit all Victorians.  A few of these programs are listed below.

Species distribution

The Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (VBA) is a tool for government agencies, environmental consultants, researchers and the public to share information about the distribution and abundance of species in Victoria that feeds into the habitat distribution models. The VBA also includes automatic processes to verify the accuracy of the data and apply new taxonomic updates.

For more information, go to the following website.

Birdata

Originally developed in 2005, the Birdata Atlas provides an online platform for volunteers and researchers to enter bird survey information data and gain feedback about their surveys.

A new version of this tool in the form of an app for both Android and iPhone will shortly be available.

The Birdata app will be the field data entry presence for Birdata. The app is intended to facilitate simple data entry on mobile devices and provides basic reporting functionality. The new Birdata web portal will have enhanced reporting and data management functionality, as well as an improved user experience.

The current Birdata Atlas can be accessed from the following website.

FeralScan Pest Mapping

Pest animals cause significant damage to our environment, the economy and society. The Feral Scan App can be used at any time to record the location of pest animals in your local area, record the problems they are causing, and record control actions you undertake. Your records will be submitted to the FeralScan community pest animal mapping website www.feralscan.org.au, to help develop and maintain an up-to-date picture of pest animals throughout your region. This information can be used to monitor populations, and to better target pests through coordinated pest control programs.

The App can currently record sightings of rabbits, wild dogs, foxes, feral cats, pigs, mice and fish, with goats, mynas, camels and toads to be added shortly.  For more information on this App, go to the following website.

Fox bounty

Foxes are established pest animals in Victoria. They cannot be eradicated from the state and require ongoing management by all public and private land owners.

Effective fox management requires an integrated approach utilising all available management practices including poison baiting, trapping, exclusion fencing, fumigation and appropriate animal husbandry. Hunting can play an important role in supporting an integrated management approach.

This program rewards eligible Victorian hunters with a $10 bounty reward for each fox killed.  For more information on this program go to the following website.

Pest and disease surveillance

Hunters already contribute to disease surveillance during the opening weekend of the duck season by providing birds for testing for avian influenza.

Early intervention is critical in a disease outbreak. If you suspect a disease outbreak or have seen something unusual and you’re not sure whether it’s an exotic pest or disease – report it.

To report pests and diseases of animals (including livestock, wildlife, birds and aquatic animals) phone the ​Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 (24 hours).  You can also report an incident to your local veterinarian, Primary Industries or Agriculture Department or your State Wildlife Health Australia Coordinator.  Further information can be found on the Wildlife Health Australia website.

To report pests and diseases of plants, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline –1800 084 881  (during business hours).

Weeds

State prohibited weeds are the highest category of declared noxious weeds in Victoria. By definition they are either not yet in Victoria, or are here in small numbers, where their eradication is still possible.

The government aims to prevent the introduction of state prohibited weeds into Victoria and to detect and eradicate any infestations before they become widespread.

By preventing state prohibited weeds from becoming widespread, hunters can help minimise the harmful impact of these species to the economy and habitats relied upon by game species like ducks.

Report any sightings of state prohibited weeds by calling 136 186 or following the instructions on this website.