Tuesday, 27 February 2018
The Game Management Authority (GMA) is reminding all duck hunters to hunt responsibly during the 2018 duck hunting season, or risk facing serious consequences.
A hunter pled guilty at the Kerang Magistrates Court last week, after authorised officers found him in possession of a Freckled Duck, a threatened species which is illegal to hunt in Victoria, over the opening weekend of last year's duck season.
The man received a $300 fine, was ordered to pay court service fees and was given a twelve-month good behaviour bond. In addition, the GMA has suspended his hunting licence.
Game Management Authority (GMA) Chief Executive Officer Greg Hyams said illegal behaviour will not be tolerated.
"Last year we saw illegal and irresponsible behaviour by some hunters. This included early shooting, shooting protected species and failing to retrieve shot birds," Mr Hyams said.
"Shooting a non-game species is unacceptable and can result in significant consequences."
"Hunters MUST positively identify their target before shooting. If you are not sure, DON'T SHOOT."
"Hunters who fail to correctly identify protected wildlife and shoot a non-game species can have their Game and Firearms licences cancelled, hunting equipment seized or could face fines of up to $38,000 and/or two years imprisonment."
The GMA has now raised the minimum pass mark for the Waterfowl Identification Test (WIT) from 75% to 85% and all protected species questions must be correctly answered to pass.
Mr Hyams is encouraging all hunters to plan ahead and refresh their skills before the 2018 duck season commences.
"Hunters are encouraged to visit gma.vic.gov.au where they will find all the educational information they need to refresh their identification skills, especially if it has been a while since they went duck hunting," Mr Hyams said.
The 2018 duck season will commence at 9am on Saturday 17 March, and last 12 weeks, closing on Monday 11 June. The bag limit will remain at the standard 10 birds per person per day however hunting of the Blue-winged Shoveler will be prohibited due to persistent low numbers of the species.
The GMA and partner agencies, including Victoria Police, DELWP, DEDJTR, Victorian Fisheries Authority and Parks Victoria, will be out in force in 2018 to ensure compliance with hunting and public safety laws.
Hunting's future depends on the actions of hunters, so if you see someone doing something illegal, report them by calling 136 186, completing an online form on the GMA website www.gma.vic.gov.au or by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Victoria Police.