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2021 Duck Season

Posted By  
15/06/2021
14:14 PM
The 14 June 2021 marks the official end of the Victorian Duck Hunting Season.
The season went for 20 days for some, 2 days for others and 0 days for hunters that couldn't get out midweek for the open.
The scientific report commissioned by Game Management Authority Victoria (gma) via the Arthur Rylah Institute found that Victorian Game Birds could sustain a hunting season of 70 - 90 days.
Despite the scientific evidence from the report, the GMA only recommended increasing the seasonal bag limit from 2 birds per day to 5 birds per day and DID NOT increase the seasonal length.
2 days into the opening and Victoria went into lockdown for the duration of the season, meaning that metro based hunters had no other opportunities to hunt despite there being a large abundance of game birds and scientific evidence to back up an extension of the season.
During this period of restricted travel, animal activists where able to travel from outside of the metro area and onto state game reserves under the guise of "animal rescue" exemptions.
This frustrated the whole hunting community.
What this further showed was that Victorian Duck Hunters have been treated with utter contempt from a Government that claims to support "sustainable hunting".
The VDHA, along with other hunting organisations like Field & Game Australia, SSAA Victoria and Australian Deer Association pushed for a full bag and season during the the seasonal considerations process in late December 2021.
We pushed back!
We successfully had a VDHA parliamentary E-Petition tabled in parliament and sponsored by Gordon Rich-Phillips MP calling again for a full bag and season and for a review into the GMA and their handling of the considerations process.
We rallied out the front of the Minister's office Mary-Anne Thomas MP and provided her with a hard copy of the VDHA Petition that reached just shy of 6000 signatures. This was the first time in many years that hunters took to the streets in disgust in a very long time.
We saw some great collaboration efforts from our hunting organisations through the hard work of DUCK OPS and Beyond The Divide.
We also saw the emergence of We Eat Ducks Australia and other small groups like Honker Hunters established with the intention of promoting the many positive aspects of hunting in the lead up to the season as the mentality of the entire hunting community shifted.
In addition to the above we also saw the report commissioned Field & Game Australia which further highlighted the political interference that consumed the 2021 duck season.
The report highlighted what we already knew and that there are a number of very bad eggs lurking within the walls and on the board of GMA and the VDHA strongly believe that an IBAC Enquiry is warranted.
So what now?
Despite the disaster that is the 2021 duck hunting season, it could have been worse. This is not a cop out but fact. The GMA felt the pressures from the hunting organisations and community and increased the season after serious backlash.
The GMA also has made the effort to charge offenders under S58E of the Wildlife Act. This is actually a very significant change in stance from the GMA whom have been previously been very reluctant to charge anyone under the particular section.
Now it is time for us to begin working on holding the people responsible for this mess accountable and that includes the Victorian Government.
We now need to start planning a strategy to advance the rights of duck hunters rather than just defend it.
Mark our words, our fight is not over. We are just getting warmed up.
- Jay Scicluna
VDHA Secretary