Restrictions to this year’s duck hunting season opening time and the lateness of the announcement by the Andrews Government is unjustifiable, according to Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Daniel Young.
Of greatest concern is the change of the opening day times, which traditionally ranged from 7.10 am to 7.30 depending on the hunting zone, to a 9 am start on Saturday, March 17.
“Moving the opening time to 9 am is a recipe for disaster due to the proximity in which protesters can legally enter the wetlands at 10 am,” Mr Young said. “Protesters have proven to be extremely hostile towards hunters. The traditional times allowed hunters to go in without interference and plenty of time to bag their limit of birds for the day. They could then be out of way before protesters caused any confrontations.
“There is no justification for the new opening time because it does not solve any perceived issues. It appears to be a knee-jerk action by the government, with very little thought.”
The Member for Northern Victoria, Mr Young said it is also extremely disappointing the Andrews Government waited so long to make the announcement about this year’s duck hunting regulations.
“Despite duck hunting being a legal activity in Victoria, the practice continues that we anticipate the Government will make changes to the regulations,” Mr Young said. “While the changes are disappointing, in and of themselves, this Government’s habit of waiting until late January to make such an announcement is disingenuous to hunters. The Government, through its Sustainable Hunting Action Plan, promised two years ago to improve seasonal announcements. Yet, again hunters have been left waiting and wondering.
“This is unfair to hunters, who must make plans to take leave, and the communities that service them. Additionally, it is a missed opportunity for the state to capitalise on international tourism from hunters who would make the journey to hunt in Victoria, if they could be assured of the days hunting would be allowed.”
Mr Young said he was also disappointed to see blue-winged shovelers were again prohibited, as he does not support the Government’s view that numbers of blue-winged shovelers would be significantly impacted by hunters.