A message to members from Field & Game Australia Chairman Peter Hawker and CEO Dean O’Hara.
We understand your frustration at the delay in the Victorian Government making an announcement regarding the 2020 Duck Season.
Dean O’Hara has spent today in high level political meetings in Melbourne and we are encouraged that it appears to be close to a resolution.
Our position remains that a 2020 Victorian Duck Season is sustainable and should proceed in line with the GMA recommendation. While we don’t know what that recommendation is, and we may not ultimately agree with the outcome, it is the independent, evidence-based advice.
The Government appointed a highly credentialed, independent board to lead the GMA and provide this advice. If the Government chooses to ignore this advice it cannot help but be taken as a vote of no confidence. How can we ask hunters and the community to trust this important regulator if the Government does not?
It is clear anti-hunting forces are using the delay to further lobby Government members.
The firm view we have expressed is that this should be ignored, we all had our opportunity during the GMA consideration process to put our case.
FIVE reasons why the 2020 Victorian Duck Season should proceed in line with the Game Management Authority recommendation;
- The GMA was established to manage game hunting in Victoria and should be trusted to do so.
- The GMA bases its recommendations on the best available facts and data and its own expert assessment.
- The GMA has already engaged with stakeholders including anti-hunting groups as part of its considerations process and has provided independent advice as required.
- Nothing has occurred that would alter the GMA advice, in fact conditions have improved.
- The Victorian Government has said repeatedly that it supports sustainable duck hunting conducted within the rules and regional communities, including some struggling after a bushfire affected summer tourist season will welcome them with open arms.
TEN reasons why the current lobbying by anti-hunting groups should be ignored
- Game species (ducks) are already managed for short and long term impacts
- Game species and game habitat have not been impacted to any significant degree by the bushfires nor have entire duck ecosystems been destroyed as implied
- No concerns about native duck species has been raised by the expert panel which this week identified 113 native species that require urgent attention following the bushfires of 2019/20
- Duck “rescuers” are volunteer activists not wildlife carers and claims their focus will be taken away from caring for those 113 species identified by the expert panel is baseless. Their presence on wetlands is already unnecessary and disruptive. Hunters will ethically hunt and dispatch birds in line with the regulations and guidelines for ethical dispatch of game birds. They will do so free from interference from activists who’s primary activity on wetland is trying to prevent a legal activity occurring.
- Whether it is “fun” or not is not at issue; however it implies hunters are lustful killers which suits the agenda; hunters are ethical, support sustainable practices and place a high value on the game meat they harvest
- There is no slaughter. Limits apply, hunting is dispersed over time and the landscape, regulations are enforced and waterfowl hunting takes skill, craft and patience. Reliable data gathered over decades demonstrates that the average harvest per hunter is significantly below the bag limit even in modified seasons.
- Waterfowl numbers are extremely low in drought affected areas, that is because ducks are highly attuned to conditions and nomadic; they go where water and habitat is best, which is why they flourish on a dry continent.
- Push polling is worthless. Hunting is not cruel and is a more sustainable and ethical way to source food than a lot of the mass production alternatives. How a small randomly chosen sample respond based on little direct knowledge or understanding to push polling is not a measure of public sentiment.
- Only a small percentage of the population actively hunt; that doesn’t make it wrong, but it does make it sustainable and low impact.
- Hunter numbers are not declining, they are growing and new entrants embrace the tradition of hunter conservation; caring for wetlands and habitat for all native waterfowl.