Field & Game Australia

Removal of choice mars opening

With both the Victorian and South Australian duck seasons opening today, hunters will be out on their favourite wetlands in the chance of bagging a duck or two for the table… unless their favourite wetland was Elizabeth Lake State Game Reserve in Victoria, which was closed yesterday, less than 18 hours before the season opened.

Animals Australia claimed that “Up to 20,000 precious native waterbirds at risk of slaughter in only hours are now SAFE” because of their “urgent injunction”.

The decision to close the wetland by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning was made prior to the Animals Australia injunction being heard.

Field & Game Australia General Manager, David McNabb, said “the closure of this State Game Reserve is basically taking choice away from people.”

“Our hunters choose to participate in conservation efforts, our hunters choose to hunt and take great free-range food from the wild, and in the weeks leading up to this weekend, they are choosing where to spend their tourism dollars and where their best prospects will be. Before hunters make any choice, they undergo stringent mandatory testing.

“Elizabeth Lake State Game Reserve has some of the best hunting opportunities for ducks this weekend, and it’s been closed in an unprecedented manner.

“The opinions and decisions of a few individuals have effectively removed freedom of choice from a large number of people.”

The hunters already at Elizabeth Lake State Game Reserve yesterday were given a few hours to vacate the area after the decision was made.

Those that relocated may be impeded by protesters who contribute to the suffering of birds through refusing to humanely dispatch wounded birds, preferring instead to ‘rescue’ them. Only a small percentage of the birds taken by protesters ever survive, with most euthanised in a manner that renders them unfit for human consumption – a disrespectful waste of amazing wild game.

Mr McNabb said “it’s surprising that these individuals who are so vocally opposed to animal cruelty would themselves disrespect the birds in this manner.”

“Hunters show the animal respect by using as much of it as possible, whether that is through consumption as food, or allowing the bird’s head and wings to be measured for the scientific research that Field & Game Australia conduct every year – hunters place a high value on every bird.”

The processes employed this year have seen more closures and restrictions than positive outcomes. Field & GameAustralia Chairman Bill Paterson said “this highlights the need for the Victorian State Government to release their Hunting and Game Management Action Plan.”

“Regardless, we encourage all hunters to make the most of the season, hunt safely, enjoy your weekends away, and maybe try a new wild duck recipe for the family.”

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