Persistent dry conditions and a subsequent reduction in duck numbers means a shorter duck hunting season this year.
The duck season will run for nine weeks rather than 12 weeks this year, starting Saturday, March 16, but animal rights activists are calling on the government to cancel it outright.
The dry conditions across eastern Australia have reduced breeding and wetland habitat.
Hunters are restricted to four game ducks per day on the opening weekend, with a bag limit of five ducks per day for the rest of the season.
It is again prohibited to hunt the Blue-Winged Shoveler.
Hunters are required to immediately salvage all downed birds and retrieve at least the breast meat.
RSPCA Victoria and other organisations are again calling for the hunting season to be cancelled.
RSPCA Victoria chief executive Dr Liz Walker says duck hunting is cruel, populations are steadily declining, and regulation is inadequate.
“Based on the available evidence, RSPCA Victoria is still urging the government to reconsider its decision and cancel this year’s duck hunting season,” she said.
But hunting organisation Field and Game Australia has protested this year’s regulations, having advocated for a daily bag limit of 10 birds, saying there was “no compelling evidence” to change its position.
Hunters from across Victoria converged on Lake Burrumbeet during the 2018 duck hunting season and nearby residents expressed safety concerns.
Wetland closures for the 2019 season have not yet been released.