Duck season considerations

How the GMA informs decisions about arrangements for the duck hunting season

While duck season arrangements are set in regulation, they can be altered in response to environmental conditions. Each year, game duck populations and environmental conditions are monitored, and information is made available to the public and key stakeholders. Key stakeholders are then consulted, and advice is given to government on possible arrangements to ensure the sustainability of game duck populations. An outline of the process can be found below.

Key stakeholders (e.g. hunter and environmental representative organisations) are notified in November each year of the process and timeline for consultations for the next years duck hunting season.

GMA gathers data on previous harvests (from surveying hunters), environmental conditions (e.g. from the Bureau of Meteorology) and game duck distributions, abundance and habitat across eastern Australia (e.g. aerial waterfowl survey).

GMA prepares a summary report on relevant environmental factors and statistics and provides it to key stakeholders for their consideration and comment. The report is also made publicly available.

GMA meets with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Department of jobs, Precincts and Regions to discuss the report. Discussions are also held by the GMA with relevant government departments in South Australia, and New South Wales.

The GMA seeks submissions from the key stakeholders and requests any additional data, information, and any expertise they may have. These submissions are also made publicly available.

In December, the GMA meets with key stakeholders to discuss information in the summary report, and any additional information they may provide. Stakeholders are asked for their recommendations for the upcoming season.

In late December, the GMA Board of Directors considers all of the information collected during the process and develops a recommendation for the duck season arrangements.

The GMA’s recommendations are then provided to the Victorian Government. The GMA also provides the Government with the views of stakeholders submitted during the consultation phase.

The Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change have the power to jointly make changes to season arrangements to ensure that hunting remains sustainable, responsible, and safe.

Both ministers agree on the arrangements for the forthcoming season based on the recommendation of the GMA and after considering any further advice from their departments.

Duck hunting season arrangements remain as per the Wildlife (Game) Regulations 2012 or are altered by the ministers.

The considerations for the 2020 duck season were provided to stakeholders and informed decisions regarding the 2020 duck season.

The GMA’s recommendation to Government, in December 2019, was based on assessments of rainfall data, wetland conditions, waterfowl abundance and distribution, harvest data and whether hunting activities could impact on the conservation and sustainability of waterbird populations.

When developing advice on season arrangements, the GMA consults with hunting organisations, animal welfare and conservation groups before making a recommendation to Government on duck season arrangements.

View the GMA recommendation to Government on the 2020 duck season arrangements.

Aerial Survey of Wetland Birds in Eastern Australia - October 2019 Annual Summary Report.

The following documents were submitted by invited stakeholders for the 2020 duck hunting season.

Field & Game Australia - SSAA Victoria submission

Shooting Sports Council of Victoria submission

Animals Australia submission

BirdLife Australia submission

Coalition Against Duck Shooting submission

RSPCA submission

Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting submission

Historical summary of seasonal arrangements