New game regulations improve conditions for Victorian hunters. (Pic courtesy Field and Game)

Better Vic hunting rules welcomed

Victorian hunters have improved opportunities and greater protection under new hunting regulations that came into effect yesterday.

The new regulations affect licences, the types of firearms that can be used, hunting with dogs, modern technology in hunting, anti-hunting protests and more.

The changes have been welcomed by Field and Game Australia, whose CEO, Rod Drew, said Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh had “demonstrated a very clear understanding of important issues affecting the safety and sustainability of hunting activities”.

“The state government is to be fully congratulated for bringing a great number of improvements to the hunting regulations,” Mr Drew said.

The Department of Primary Industries believes the new regulations “modernise the previous regulations, cut red tape, ensure equitable sharing of game resources and provide opportunities for game-related businesses”.

It says they are a sign of the state government’s commitment to hunters, adding that “Victoria has the best game hunting opportunities in Australia”.

Under the regulations, juniors no longer pay licence fees and have more scope to be mentored by adults before having to sit tests as an adult themselves.

Visitors to gamebird farms will be able to apply for a free seven-day licence, while foreign guests can get a 14-day one.

A wider range of firearms is now permitted, including smaller-gauge shotguns, which may use lead shot; and smoothbore longarms can be used to hunt deer in certain circumstances.

A greater variety of dogs and hounds may be used, and a new category of ‘deer hunting dogs’ has been created.

The definition of what constitutes a spotlight has been adopted to deal with the powerful modern lights available, and a new distinction between what is a spotlight and what is a torch has been created, one that hunters navigating at night should check because only a few lights are not regarded as spotlights.

Two-ways radios, GPS collars for dogs, and electronic decoys and game callers are now permitted.

Some seasons have been altered, including the extension of the red deer season to being year-round, while two deer hunting areas have been closed – areas near Merrijig and Warburton.

Anti-hunting protesters face more stringent controls after one was accidentally shot in the face last year, an incident that highlighted how dangerous their activities had become.

“The government has moved to strengthen the regulations to draw a wider line between protesters and hunters and that decision is welcomed by every hunter who holds a waterfowl license,” Mr Drew said.

“Many protesters have been misled by protest organisers into believing what they do in the wetlands carries little or no real risk. This is absolutely wrong. The organisers who each year recruit new young people to their dangerous antics in Victoria’s wetlands should take serious note of the new regulations.

“The grandstanding and the huffing and puffing we hear from protest organisers every year simply masks a deceitful exercise in using unwary teenagers and university students to stage a dangerous stunt.”

For all the details of the new regulations, see the DPI website.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.