Duck season under fire at Lake Burrumbeet

UPDATE

BALLARAT Field and Game has made clear its focus on safety each duck hunting season.

The group’s response comes amid concerns from a Burrumbeet grandfather on the ethics of shooting about popular recreation and camping location, Lake Burrumbeet when the season opened on Saturday.

BFG secretary Aaron Edmondson said the association ran events once a month on improving skills and highlighting firearm safety for all members, including juniors and women.

“Hunters are there to obtain their bag limit and head back to camp,” Mr Edmondson said in a statement to The Courier.

“Duck Hunting is a family tradition where they harvest their food. It is not an act of cruelty, it is a managed environment where hunters utilise the game birds they obtain.”

Mr Edmondson said hunters must all pass a Waterfowl Identification Test to gain a licence to hunt waterfowl during the season.

Ballarat Field and Game was established in 1962 and currently has 705 active members.

GRANDFATHER QUESTIONS DUCK HUNTING ETHICS

A BURRUMBEET grandfather has questioned the ethics of duck hunting season, particularly in a popular family camping area where ducks are a key aesthetic feature.

Gerry White was blasted awake early Saturday morning to nearby gun fire. He had forgot it was the opening day of the state’s duck hunting season. Stumbling out of his residence, Mr White found most of his neighbours near Lake Burrumbeet were initially just as perplexed.

“I wonder how parents (or other grandparents) explain to kids there grown men are out there shooting ducks out there that they were watching or feeding the day before,” Mr White said.

“The ducks are such a beautiful feature of the lake out here, and all the other beautiful water birds we’ve got.

“The next day I went out and there were no birds at all...no doubt they’ll come back.”

A Game Management Authority spokesperson made clear hunters were not allowed to shoot in front of caravan parks or near key recreational features, like boat ramps or buildings at Lake Burrumbeet.

However, hunters can shoot anywhere else about the lake.

Mr White said the sound of gunfire was frightening enough – for adults and children –  in the popular tourist and camping area.

“To think they (hunters) are out there in the lake like that, where ducks are a feature of the lake, it’s a miserable act, a selfish act and a cowardly act,” Mr White said.

“What they’re doing is completely insensitive.”

Hunting success varied across the state’s wetlands in the opening weekend of this year’s duck hunting season. Bag numbers were averaging six ducks on Saturday and 1.5 on Sunday.

A full bag of ten ducks is permitted during the season but hunting of the Blue-winged Shoveler is prohibited this season due to the continued low numbers of the species.

The GMA report “the vast majority of hunters” did the right thing on the season’s opening weekend.

Hunters must be licensed, use non-toxic shot, adhere to bag limits and hunting times, respect private property, never leave campfires unattended, use firearms safely and regularly check the Game Hunting in Victoria manual or Game Hunting Victoria App.

Victorian duck hunting season closes on June 12.

Laurie Levy with shot freckled ducks at Treasury Place to protest against illegal shooting of these ducks in 2014. Picture: The Age

Laurie Levy with shot freckled ducks at Treasury Place to protest against illegal shooting of these ducks in 2014. Picture: The Age