2022 Duck season arrangements

Please note that wetlands, or parts of wetlands, may be closed to hunting, at various times of the season. Some hunting activity (e.g. hunting from a boat) may be restricted at certain wetlands. For details, visit Wetland closures – 2022 duck season.

The Victorian Government announced the following arrangements for the 2022 duck hunting season:

Season length

Season open – 8am on Wednesday 16 March 2022

Season close – 30 minutes after sunset on Monday 13 June 2022.

Bag limits (modified)

Daily bag limit of four game ducks per day for the entire season.

Hunting the Blue-winged Shoveler is prohibited for the entire season.

Hunting the Hardhead is prohibited for the entire season.

Start times during the opening five days

Start times are delayed until 8:00am from Wednesday, 16 March through to Sunday, 20 March 2022, inclusive.

Hunting must cease half an hour after sunset on each day.

Remainder of season hunting times

For the rest of the season (21 March – 13 June, inclusive), hunting times start 30 minutes before sunrise and end 30 minutes after sunset.

Game duck species permitted to be taken

Six of the eight species of game duck are permitted to be hunted during the 2022 season. Species permitted include Pacific Black Duck, Mountain Duck, Chestnut Teal, Grey Teal, Pink-eared Duck, and Wood Duck.

The Blue-winged Shoveler and Hardhead have been listed as threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and cannot be hunted during the 2022 season

Retrieval of downed game ducks

Regulations require hunters to make all reasonable efforts to immediately retrieve all downed game ducks and to salvage at least the breast meat from all harvested ducks.

fact sheet is available explaining the regulations.

Other arrangements

All other hunting arrangements remain unchanged.

Only non-toxic shot can be used to hunt ducks anywhere in Victoria. Lead is not permitted.

Hunters are reminded to review our information to ensure accurate identification of waterfowl, humane dispatch methods and responsible hunting techniques.

Please monitor the GMA website before and during the season to see if wetlands have been closed to hunting or hunting has been further regulated.

Hunters are reminded to hunt responsibly at all times.

Victoria Government Gazette

FAQs for hunters

Why has the 2022 duck season been modified?

The 2022 duck season has been modified based on modelling and analysis of habitat availability and waterbird surveys conducted across eastern Australia and other data relating to game duck abundance and breeding, habitat distribution and climate.

Habitat is patchy across eastern Australia, with areas of good habitat and areas that are yet to recover from the 2017-2019 drought. Game duck populations are low but in the process of recovering given recent flood and high rainfall events.

The reduction of the bag limit to four birds per day for the entire season will reduce the overall harvest of game ducks. This will protect the waterfowl population from overharvesting during a period of low abundance.

Why are start times delayed for the first five days? Why is it a mid-week opening?

The hunting start time is delayed until 8am from Wednesday 16 March to Sunday 20 March, inclusive.

The later start times help improve bird identification, recovery of downed ducks and enforcement of the hunting laws.

The later start times are only in place for the first five days because the start of the season is typically the period when more hunters are out in the field.

The mid-week opening helps to spread the density of hunters across several days as opposed to an opening weekend. Protestors are also more active at the start of the season and the later start times may help to diffuse any conflict between hunters and protestors. Fewer compliance issues are experienced during the remainder of the season when hunter densities are lower.

When does the 2022 duck season open and close?

The duck season open at 8:00am on Wednesday 16 March and closes 30 minutes after sunset on the 13 June 2022.

What is the daily bag limit for 2022?

Hunters may take four birds per day during the duck season.

What duck species can be hunted in 2022?

Black Duck, Grey Teal, Wood Duck, Mountain Duck, Pink-eared Duck and Chestnut Teal may all be hunted in 2022.

Can I hunt Blue-winged Shoveler in 2022?

No. Hunting Blue-winged Shoveler is prohibited in 2022 due to continuing low abundance and its recent listing as a threatened (vulnerable) species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (listed in July 2021).

Why is hunting Hardhead prohibited in 2022?

Hunting Hardhead is prohibited in 2022 as it was recently listed as a threatened (vulnerable) species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (listed in July 2021).

What should I do if I see illegal hunting?

If you suspect that someone is acting illegally do not intervene or approach them, but take notice of any identification details, such as appearance, clothing, vehicle or boat registration number, and please report suspected offences - Report illegal hunting online or call 136 186, or contact Victoria Police.

Are there any restrictions on the size of the group I can hunt with / camp with? Are there are any public health restrictions on hunting in 2022?

For the latest public health advice, please visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au

What are the wetlands I can hunt on in Victoria?

Licensed hunters can download the More to Explore app for maps of public lands that are open to duck hunting. Go to More to Explore.

From time to time, wetlands may be closed to hunting to protect rare or threatened species. Hunters are encouraged to check the GMA website each time before they go hunting to check for any wetland closures or whether further regulations have been imposed.

Can I hunt from a boat?

Yes, however on waterways (such as a rivers, creeks and streams), ducks can only be hunted from a boat under power up to a speed of five knots.

On open waters (such as lakes or swamps), hunters are not permitted to hunt ducks from a motorboat if the motor is running, whether in gear or not.

Do hunting laws differ when I hunt on public or private land?

Game hunting laws apply to both private and public land. GMA Authorised Officers can access and enforce laws on private land.

What do I need to do after shooting a game bird?

If you down a game bird then you must stop hunting and make all reasonable efforts to immediately retrieve that bird either on foot, in a boat or by sending a gundog to retrieve the bird, unless it’s unsafe to make the recovery. If the bird is alive once recovered, you must immediately dispatch (i.e. kill) that bird.

Please see the Guidelines for the humane dispatch of downed ducks.

Hunters are permitted to keep the whole bird or, at a minimum, keep the meat of both breasts of the bird in your possession until immediately prior to cooking or until the bird has been taken to your place of residence.

A fully-feathered wing must remain attached to the bird or its breast meat.

Visit Duck hunting methods and laws for more information

Can I immediately start plucking the feathers of a downed bird?

Yes, however you must retain at least one fully-feathered wing attached to the duck or duck breasts. If you remove the breasts separately, then a fully feathered wing must be attached to each breast.