During ‘shooting season’, South Australia’s picturesque wetlands — usually peaceful havens for our unique wildlife — are transformed into government-sanctioned killing fields. The result is decimated wetlands, and animals left to suffer with shattered bills and broken wings.
Disappointingly, out of step with community expectations, the South Australian Government has announced an open duck shooting season from Saturday 18 March 2023 to Sunday 25 June 2023 with a ‘bag limit’ (killing quota) of 8 ducks per day, per shooter. While there are fewer licensed shooters in South Australia (SA) compared to Victoria (VIC) – the only other mainland state to permit the recreational slaughter of ducks – the length of the season and the number of birds permitted to be killed in the state equates to enormous levels of suffering.
Ironically, the “protected species permitted for duck hunting…” are listed on the government website; the grey teal, chestnut teal, Pacific black duck, Australian shelduck, and maned (wood) duck. Blasted from the sky with shotguns, the bodies of these native ‘protected’ animals will soon be shattered by clusters of up to 200 pellets.
Sadly, the ‘lucky’ ones are those who are killed instantly. An estimated one out of every four birds shot will instead suffer for days or even weeks before finally succumbing to their injuries; shattered bills, fractured limbs, and punctured organs.
Beyond this awful treatment of ‘protected’ species, shooting can also endanger or kill other animals who were never intended as targets; birds incorrectly identified by shooters or young birds abandoned by parent birds who flee the gunfire in fear.