News

Closures for duck opening

By Country News

A number of wetlands around the region will be closed during the opening of the duck hunting season this weekend, the Game Management Authority has announced.

This year’s duck hunting season will begin on Saturday, March 16 with a daily bag limit of four game ducks per day on the opening weekend, with a five game duck per day bag limit for the remainder of the season.

The Lake Murphy State Game Reserve near Kerang, Round Lake near Lake Boga, Kow Swamp near Gunbower and Reedy Lakes at Kerang will all be closed from the start of the season to protect or prevent disturbance to significant numbers of threatened birds.

GMA chief executive officer Graeme Ford said closing wetlands or prohibiting hunting from a boat ensures that threatened species are protected and duck hunting remains sustainable.

‘‘Through closing wetlands or regulating hunting methods, such as boating, where appropriate and paying close attention to bird numbers, we are able to ensure that rare and threatened species are protected,’’ Mr Ford said.

‘‘Government officials will monitor the closed wetlands throughout the season,’’ he said.

‘‘If the reason for the closure no longer exists, they will be recommended to be reopened for hunting.’’

As happened last year, hunting on the opening weekend of the 2019 season will start at 9am on Saturday and 8am on Sunday across the whole of Victoria as part of a two-year trial to ensure an orderly start to the season.

For the rest of the season, hunting times will revert to the standard period of half-an-hour before sunrise to half-an-hour after sunset.

The season closes 30 minutes after sunset on Sunday, May 19.

Hunters are reminded they are required to immediately retrieve any ducks they shoot and ensure they harvest at least the breast meat from the duck.

GMA game officers, Victoria Police and other authorised officers from DELWP; Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions; Victorian Fisheries Authority; and Parks Victoria will be patrolling wetlands across the state during the duck season to ensure hunters act in a safe and responsible manner.

■For more information on the duck season, visit: www.gma.vic.gov.au