Duck season opens Saturday

THE Victorian duck season begins on Saturday, with 10 new State Game Reserves securing more habitat for waterfowl and improving hunting opportunities across the state.

Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said the state government encouraged the state’s 25,000 licensed hunters to act responsibly during the 12-week season, including adhering to the bag limit of 10 game birds per day.

“Victoria has some of the best duck hunting opportunities in Australia and hunters generate important economic activity in Victorian rural towns and regional centres,” he said.

“Following the Victorian Environment Assessment Council’s River Red Gum Forest Investigation, 10 additional reserves will now be classified as State Game Reserves for duck hunting, while another six temporary State Game Reserves will become permanent.

“State Game Reserves are managed by Parks Victoria and are highly valued by the hunting community, as they provide a productive and secure habitat for waterbirds.”

Local reserves open include Clydebank Morass, Dowd Morass, Fresh-water Swamp (Balloong), Heart Morass, Jack Smith Lake, Lake Coleman and Lake Denison, with several others located in east Gippsland.

However, Mr Walsh said five wetlands would be closed in full this season and another wetland will be partially closed, following the completion of annual waterfowl counts.

“The Department of Environment and Primary Industries’ annual waterfowl count found there were substantial numbers of freckled duck and blue-billed duck in some locations,” he said.

“By closing wetlands where appropriate, we are ensuring rare and threatened species are protected, while still enabling duck hunters to enjoy their recreation.”

Mr Walsh said all people present at wetlands during duck hunting season must act responsibly and lawfully.

The season opens tomorrow at 7.10am in the eastern zone, 7.20am in the central zone and 7.30am in the western zone, and closes half an hour after sunset on Monday, June 9.

For more information on the 2014 duck season visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/duck-hunting-season or on the new State Game Reserves visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/state-game-reserve-maps