Duck hunter in court after altercation with protesters

A DUCK hunter of more than 40 years’ experience has fronted court after he assaulted a protester at Lake Buloke near Donald.

John Cowan McCartney, 57, was out hunting as a legal shooter at sunrise on March 17 this year, when he saw three female duck rescuers standing waist deep in water protesting the start of the new duck hunting season.

Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday heard that McCartney got out of his boat and walked towards the women.

He was carrying a loaded shotgun on his shoulder in the open position. 

The victim began recording the incident on her iPhone, which was in a plastic holder around her neck.

McCartney repeatedly tried to grab the iPhone from her before the trio went to move away from him but he followed them, the court heard.

McCartney later told police he was “a bit upset about being filmed”.

Part of the complainant’s victim impact statement was read aloud in court.

In the statement, she told of her fear at the escalating situation.

“The look in his eyes scared the (expletive) out of me,” she had written.

“I had no idea he would attack me like that.”

McCartney’s defence lawyer, Brett Bryant, said his client had no prior convictions.

He said McCartney had been duck hunting lawfully for more than 40 years.

“He’s awfully remorseful that he’s let himself get to that point,” Mr Bryant said.

Magistrate Peter Couzens sentenced McCartney to a two-year good behaviour bond.

Mr Couzens did not record a conviction, but he ordered McCartney to pay $750 to the court fund.

“No matter how objectionable you might find the protesters, this is no way to vent your spleen,” Mr Couzens said.

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