Media release

Victorian Government allows duck shooting to go ahead

Friday, 24 February 2023

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Victorian Duck Season 2023

BirdLife Australia is deeply disappointed with the Victorian Government’s decision to allow duck shooting to go ahead in the state this year.

Despite three years with more rains, our declining populations of ducks and other waterbirds have not yet recovered after years of prolonged and widespread drought. Long-term monitoring shows that the bounce-back of waterbird numbers has not been as high as would normally be expected and several good seasons are needed to replenish the losses that have occurred.

Rather than giving the ducks a break, the Victorian Government has announced a 2023 duck season, meaning there will be no respite for Victoria’s ducks at the many wetlands open to shooting. This is a bad outcome for waterbirds. They need this season to build up numbers, as will the many non-target waterbird species that will be disturbed or in the line of fire of the shooters’ guns.

Wildlife Victoria says that:

  • Recent studies conducted by independent groups showing nine out of ten Victorians support a permanent ban.
  • With less than 0.5% of Victorians participating in the 2022 duck hunting season, it is unclear who this decision was made for.
  • Last year, 262,567 native ducks were killed in the name of sport. This number doesn’t include the thousands of water birds wounded and who later die from starvation, predation, or the elements.
  • Reports from the Game Management Authority found between 6 and 40 per cent of ducks are wounded each season rather than killed outright.

Even with some concessions, including a shortened the season, reduced bag limit and removing Australasian (Blue-winged) Shovelers and Hardheads off the list of game birds permitted to be shot, BirdLife Australia is extremely concerned that many non-target and threatened species will be severely disturbed by shooting in their wetland homes, even if the birds themselves manage to escape being killed or maimed.

While BirdLife Australia has not been successful in getting this year’s duck shooting season cancelled we will continue to advocate that the practice should be abolished in Victoria and throughout Australia. We hope that this is the last year it is necessary to make our case to stop the killing of so many native birds.