Duck hunting season opens in May for just five weeks

Duck hunting season opens in May for just five weeks

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MAY DAY: The Victorian duck season dates have finally been announced.

MAY DAY: The Victorian duck season dates have finally been announced.

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This year's duck hunting season will run for just five weeks from May 2, the Victorian Government announced on Wednesday.

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This year's duck hunting season will run for just five weeks from May 2, the Victorian Government announced on Wednesday.

Director of Gippsland vegetable producer and processor Bonaccord at Walpa, Ross Ingram, said the announcement was "a good thing".

"The hunting season helps keep duck numbers down," he said.

"Ducks come in and can take out two or three acres of broccoli seedlings in one night."

The state government said the restricted season was, "a necessary response to the prolonged dry conditions that have led to low duck numbers and reduced habitat".

The Game Management Authority (GMA) provided its advice on the 2020 duck hunting season to the government prior to the height of the Victorian bushfires.

The Authority had subsequently advised the government that the bushfires have had a minimal direct impact on current duck populations and habitat.

The 2020 season will start at 8am on May 2 and will last five weeks, closing 30 minutes after sunset on June 8.

Hunters will be restricted to three game ducks per day throughout the season.

The hunting of Blue-winged Shoveler will be prohibited for the entire season.

During the opening weekend, hunting could start at 8am on both days and must cease by 30 minutes after sunset.

For the rest of the season, hunting could start half an hour before sunrise and must stop half an hour after sunset.

Shadow agriculture minister Peter Walsh branded the decision to shorten the season as "putting politics before people".

"Green ideology has trumped logic with a severely shortened season that will take money out of country communities at a time when we desperately need the tourism boost," he said.

"Hunting injects more than $430 million into the state's economy every year, providing a healthy boost for country communities - including those picking up the pieces after this summer's catastrophic bushfires.

"Our responsible, legitimate hunters travel long distances to stay and spend in some of our smallest communities, but Labor's made sure there's little incentive by slashing the daily bag limit.

"Agriculture minister Jaclyn Symes clearly lost the internal political standoff with the environment minister that's delayed this announcement for weeks."

The government said arrangements for the 2020 duck season were based on habitat analysis, waterbird surveys conducted across eastern Australia, game duck abundance, habitat distribution and climate.

As in previous years, the GMA would continue to monitor conditions in the lead up to, and during, the season.

Details of the 2020 duck season, including any wetland closures, will be regularly updated on the GMA website www.gma.vic.gov.au

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