The unacceptable behaviour of a few hunters on the 2017 duck season opening weekend has resurfaced in the media. It came after Game Management Authority (GMA) released its annual report earlier this month.
Chairman Brian Hine said in his message that at least 260 protected birds were illegally shot at Koorangie State Game Reserve during the opening weekend in March. He also said shooting “began well before the opening of the season and more than 1000 hunted birds were not collected by hunters”. Freckled duck, Eurasion Coot, Blue-Billed duck and Hoary-Headed Grebe were among the illegally shot birds.
“As a regulator, we share responsibility for sustainable hunting with hunters and the broader Victorian community,” he wrote. “In consultation with partner agencies and key stakeholders, we are comprehensively reviewing this matter and will make recommendations for reform to the Minister for implementation prior to the 2018 duck season.”
GMA has already provided Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford advice on how to improve hunter behaviour and compliance, and ensure hunting is conducted safely and sustainably.
SSAA Victoria condemns the illegal behaviour of the minority on 2017 duck season opening weekend. The organisation and many of its members have worked very hard to bring legitimacy to the sport and any behaviour that could jeopardise that is unacceptable.
It would support any efforts by GMA to expand its base of nine field staff across the state to better manage compliance issues.
Outside of the duck season opening, Victorian hunters behaved well in 2016/17. GMA reported just three hunting licences being cancelled during the year.