It is beginning to happen - a return to normal duck seasons across the country. The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) in Victoria has signalled a return to a normal 12-week season and a 10 duck limit, including a maximum of two blue-winged shovellers. The DSE has reported a substantial improvement in environmental conditions following a year of above average rainfall. It has decided that it’s time to end restrictions that have been in place for a number of years.
In its media statement, the DSE highlighted that there has been significant rainfall over the past 12 months. This has led to an increase in habitat for all waterfowl, not just game bird populations. Most people with a genuine interest in ducks and duck hunting know that habitat availability is the driving force behind large duck populations and breeding events. With a large part of Australia having experienced above average rain throughout 2010, the DSE has acknowledged that there has been and will continue to be extensive breeding and wide dispersal of waterfowl across eastern Australia’s wetlands and areas affected by floods.
The DSE also acknowledged that it works closely with the Victorian Hunting Advisory Committee to ensure a safe and sustainable duck season. This year’s Victorian duck season runs from March 19 to June 13.
Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) has also granted Tasmanian hunters a normal duck season, with the season running from March 5 to June 5. Like their Victorian counterparts, Tasmanian hunters will benefit from good environmental conditions experienced across their state. Their bag limit is set at 10 ducks per day. This can consist of any combination of black duck, grey teal, chestnut teal, mountain duck and wood duck.
In South Australia, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) acknowledged that there had been a significant improvement in environmental conditions across the state and country. Wetland conditions within South Australia and River Murray Inflows into the state have significantly improved. The Eastern Aerial Waterbird Survey indicated high waterbird abundance and the highest waterbird breeding index on record.
The South Australian season runs from February 19 to June 26. A total bag limit of 12 ducks per person per day applies, with a maximum inclusion of six black ducks per day. In making the announcement, Environment and Conservation Minister Paul Caica commented on the stringent conditions placed on all duck hunters in regard to waterfowl identification testing, the use of non-toxic shot and the requirement to adhere to the standards set for the humane destruction of birds by shooting.