When to hunt

2019 Open Season

Saturday, 16 March 2019 until half an hour after sunset on Sunday, 19 May 2019.

Opening weekend start times have been modified from previous seasons

There will be a single start time across the whole of Victoria for the opening of the 2019 duck season.

Hunting for the 2019 opening Saturday (16 March 2019) will commence at 9.00 am across the whole state.

Hunting on Sunday (17 March 2018) will commence at 8.00 am across the whole state.

Opening and closing times for the rest of the season

For the remainder of the season, duck hunting is permitted from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.

See the Victorian Hunting Manual for an example on calculating the hunting times manually.

Timing of the duck season

Wetlands duck habitatAustralia routinely experiences variable climatic and environmental conditions.  This sees much of the country undergo flood or drying conditions.

Game duck species respond quickly to environmental conditions which will see their populations boom during good climate and breeding conditions and then wane during average conditions.

When conditions permit, the Victorian duck season is conducted from the beginning of the third Saturday in March until 30 minutes after sunset on the second Monday in June.

Fledging       Fledging
Moulting      Moulting
     Food low    
     Weather extremes    
      Low numbers    
  Open Season      

The duck open season is timed to occur when the population is at its maximum and to avoid periods of vulnerability. The close season is timed to prevent hunting during times of peak reproductive activity, impaired flying ability during moulting, and temperature extremes, low population levels and food shortage.

Waterfowl in eastern Australia display a regular breeding peak in late winter and spring (August - November), with some breeding commencing as early as June and extending as late as January. Following breeding, chicks must be given the opportunity to mature to the point where they are self-sufficient and strong in flight. For adult birds, moulting occurs soon after breeding, with large flocks of moulting birds often observed in February each year. During late winter, population levels are at their lowest and ducks are subject to environmental extremes and food shortages and preliminary breeding activity may occur.

Wood Duck (male)