LAST UPDATED: 12 April 2016
Duck shooters are required to sit a 22 question 'Waterfowl Identification Test'. This test only requires 75% correct marks to pass — and is a once-only requirement, meaning some shooters may not have taken the test for 25 years. Juniors (ie. 12 to 17 year olds) and non-Australian residents are not required to sit the test — so adolescents and international visitors can legally fire shotguns at waterbirds without demonstrating any knowledge of which species are protected. Only weeks into the 2016 duck shooting season, and already 'protected' species — including one of Australia's rarest waterbirds — have been massacred.
A shotgun fires a cluster of up to 200 pellets simultaneously which gradually spread out in a cloud-like pattern that increases in diametre the further it moves away from the gun. This means that a bird may be hit by only one or two pellets in the cloud’s outer perimeter, which is enough to injure but not instantly kill. An estimated 50,000 birds are injured every season and can suffer enormously for hours or even days before death. Not even the most skilled marksman can prevent this.
Duck shooters don't have to pass a compulsory accuracy test — despite the Government's own data revealing shooters are likely to have injury rates up to 30%. The development of an accuracy improvement course for shooters was funded by tax payers, but attracted little interest from shooters. Fewer than one hundred shooters are believed to have attended the one day course — yet 26,000 duck hunters are licensed for this pending season.
Most Australians abhor the thought of canned hunting in Africa — wild animals like lions shot in an enclosure, thus guaranteeing a 'kill' for the trophy hunter. The animals never stand a chance — and soon, neither will many of Victoria's native waterbirds.
Right now, drought-affected ducks are flocking to the few Victorian wetlands that still have water. With so few options, these desperate animals are effectively captive populations — and in a tragic twist, some wetlands have been artificially filled with water, which attracts more birds, only for them to be then shot out of the sky.
While an announcement that some wetlands will now be closed to shooters, one of the most significant breeding areas — Johnson Swamp — is still scheduled to become a shooting zone, albeit a few weeks after the official season begins. This is only likely to delay the inevitable massacre at this tranquil wetland.
One 'game' species — the grey teal — is currently breeding but it isn’t illegal to shoot mother birds, leaving their ducklings orphaned. Consider this in light of the fact that breeding levels are at their lowest on record — and waterbirds flock to where there is vegetation and water to breed because they feel safe ...
The Andrews government's claims that duck shooting brings in millions to Victoria are grossly misleading. New independent economic analysis has found no evidence that duck shooting contributes to Victoria's economy*.
*'A review of 'Estimating the economic impact of hunting in Victoria in 2013' by Dr Kristy Jones, February 2016
Governments are supposed to listen to the people. Instead of listening to 9 in 10 Victorians* who want duck shooting banned, they are bowing to a radical minority of shooters. This is an abuse of our wetlands, an abuse of animals and a betrayal of trust.
*87% of informed Victorians, Roy Morgan Research 2007
It’s not only the birds who are shot who will suffer, all animals seeking sanctuary on the wetlands will be traumatised and terrorised under the barrage of shot-gunfire. There may be 70 bird species (some who are breeding) in one wetland, whereas only 7 can be targeted by shooters. Other animals like wombats, echidnas, frogs, and platypus may live in and around wetlands, and will be affected by this violent intrusion into their home.
Help save native ducks!
- Help end wildlife massacres! Only weeks into the 2016 Victorian duck shooting season horrific cruelty of wildlife and a massacre of rare and threatened species has been exposed by our investigators. Take urgent action to help prevent this from happening again!
- Are you from Victoria? Your State MP needs to hear from you! Get in touch (by phone, e-mail, postal mail, social media) to tell them why you want to see 'recreational' duck shooting end! You can look up the name and contact details of your state MP here (and if you're not sure which electorate you live in head here first to find out).
- If you live outside Victoria click here to make your voice heard heard for ducks!