The Victorian duck shooting season is over for another year — and yet again, appalling cruelty to vulnerable wildlife has been exposed.
Even though the duration of the season was shortened to five weeks (a standard season is twelve), countless native waterbirds were killed or left wounded to die on Victoria’s wetlands — all because a tiny minority of people find pleasure in the act of harming wildlife, and their choice to do so is supported by the Victorian labor government. Dedicated rescuers and investigators once again braved the wetlands to capture evidence, some of which was submitted as part of Animals Australia’s comprehensive submission to both the Victorian and the South Australian Government Inquiries.
Here is just some of what was documented:
- Ducks illegally shot, including threatened species and non ‘game’ species
- Shooters failing to retrieve ducks they had wounded, instead leaving them on the water to die from their injuries
- Shooters failing to kill birds who they had wounded, instead leaving them to die from their injuries in canoes, hanging from cartridge belts, or allowing them to drown
- Shooters continually seen using an ineffective and cruel technique to try to kill ducks, called ‘windmilling’ (swinging them around by their heads)
- Young children of shooters used to coax ducks to the shoreline with bread
- Extensive littering across wetlands, including plastic shotgun wads and toilet paper
The Game Management Authority has also confirmed that breaches to hunting laws were detected throughout the season, including ‘failure to comply with the season arrangements’, ‘hunting without a valid game licence’, ‘possession of toxic shot’, ‘exceeding the daily bag limit’ (this is the number of ducks that shooters are allowed to kill each day) and ‘failure to immediately dispatch (this means kill) a retrieved duck’.
During the first week of the shooting season alone, Wildlife Victoria’s vet triage team received and assessed a staggering 73 native waterbirds who were shot and left to die on the water, including eight threatened species illegally shot. Sadly, all of these birds were euthanised on welfare grounds, as their injuries were too severe — their fragile bones shattered from shot gun pellets.
In a shocking case that was reported by distressed local business owners, ducks were found shot and dumped in an industrial area.