Reminder to act responsibly during the 2018 duck hunting season

Media Release

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Game Management Authority is reminding everyone involved in the 2018 duck season to act safely, responsibly and legally.

Game Management Authority (GMA) CEO Greg Hyams said most hunters do the right thing, but last year a small number of hunters acted illegally and irresponsibly.

"This year they are on notice - that behaviour won't be tolerated. We have increased enforcement in partnership with other agencies, including Victoria Police, to target the minority of hunters that don't do the right thing," Mr Hyams said.

"All hunters have received a detailed letter outlining the arrangements for this year's duck hunting season, so there is no excuse for not abiding by the new regulations, bag limits, and the later start times on opening weekend."

"Under new regulations, hunters must stop shooting once a bird is downed and make all reasonable efforts to immediately recover it. They are also required to at least salvage the breast meat from a duck to ensure that harvested game is not wasted. This is already standard practice for the majority of responsible hunters."

"Don't let the law breakers ruin things for responsible hunters - if you see something illegal report it.

"Anyone caught doing the wrong thing risks fines of up to $38,000, jail terms loss of Game and Firearms licenses, and their firearms."

Mr Hyams is also reminding protestors to ensure they act in a safe and responsible manner.

"While those who oppose duck hunting have a right to protest, they must do so safely and legally. There are significant penalties should protestors unlawfully enter in, or remain on a specified hunting area, or interfere with or harass hunters," Mr Hyams said.

"Public safety laws are in place to protect the broader community, hunters, authorised officers and protestors themselves."

"Offenders that unlawfully enter in, or remain on a specified hunting area can receive a maximum penalty of $9,514 and be issued with a banning notice. Magistrates can further impose exclusion orders. Penalties of up to $19,000 apply for breaching these notices and orders."

Victoria's 2018 duck season opens on Saturday, 17 March and closes on Monday, 11 June.

Hunting will commence at 9.00am on Saturday and 8.00am on Sunday across the whole state as part of a trial of opening the season during daylight hours. Hunting can occur until half an hour after sunset on both days. For the rest of the season, hunting times will revert to the standard period of half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.

The bag limit will remain at the standard 10 birds per person per day however hunting of the Blue-winged Shoveler will be prohibited from hunting due to persistent low numbers of the species.

The GMA and partner compliance agencies, including Victoria Police, DELWP, DEDJTR, Victorian Fisheries Authority and Parks Victoria, will be out in force in 2018 to ensure hunters and protestors act in a safe and responsible manner and comply with hunting and public safety laws.

Hunters and the general public are urged to report any illegal hunting to the GMA through its website www.gma.vic.gov.au or the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or by contacting Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or Victoria Police.

Mr Hyams said predicted hot weather conditions for the weekend means everyone needs to ensure they know what they can and can't around campfires and BBQs.

"This weekend is predicted to be one of the hottest this year so it's vital to check to see if a Total Fire Ban is in place, Mr Hyams said.

"It is illegal to light any fires when a Total Fire Ban day has been declared and that includes campfires and all BBQs, including solid and liquid fuel barbecues, as well as unconventional heat sources such as rotisseries and portable grills."

For more information on what is permitted should a Total Fire Ban day be declared please visit: www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/total-fire-bans-and-warnings

Details of the 2018 duck season, including fact sheets in various languages and information about any wetland closures throughout the season, are available on the GMA website.