This past weekend’s duck season opening reinforced the value of habitat to our native waterfowl. An estimated 85% of Australia’s wetlands have been drained since European settlement and habitat loss is the primary factor in waterfowl abundance in Australia. An improvement in the quality and quantity of our remaining wetland habitats, thanks to rainfall events, has seen Victoria’s duck season opening as one of the most bountiful in several years.
However, the tradition of ethical hunting and the enjoyment of sharing a meal of wild game with friends and family was disrupted by the irresponsible actions of a few, with individuals shooting early, and shooting non-game species.
Field & Game Australia does not tolerate or condone illegal hunting, and acknowledges the role of the appropriate authorities in securing convictions for the illegal actions of a few: actions that impact on the majority of hunters who hunt responsibly.
As with motor vehicle offences, the reputations of all motorists are not tarnished by the actions of a few, and these offenders do not represent the majority of hunters. The vast majority of hunters do the right thing because they value and respect duck season.
Field & Game Australia members are disappointed at the disregard shown for our hunting laws and regulations. Field & Game Australia continues to educate and inform our 18,000 members on compliance, ethical and responsible hunting, and the legal obligations of hunters.
The actions of these few illegal hunters will be addressed individually by the relevant authorities. Illegal hunting can be reported to the Game Management Authority through their website, mobile phone app, or by calling 136 186. You may also report illegal hunting to Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
The majority of responsible hunters in Victoria should be permitted to continue their tradition of hunting game food in the wild without prejudice or discrimination.
Field & Game Australia find it disappointing that, once again, taxpayer-funded resources to enforce legal hunting are concentrated due to anti-hunting protest activities. As a result, legal hunting enforcement efforts are effectively diverted to crowd control, preventing the wider allocation of important compliance resources in a real effort to act on illegal hunting.
Field & Game Australia supports and encourages hunters to stand up for responsible hunting and to continue leading by example.