The latest 2021-22 winter aerial duck survey from the NSW Department of Primary Industries has found that waterfowl populations have doubled from the 460,000 they counted last year.
This is excellent news if you are a duck hunter, as the government bodies have been using this count to restrict duck hunting seasons. For example, the 2021 season in Victoria was cut to 21 days, many of which people could not travel due to COVID.
“We know waterways that are breeding meccas are full and (given) the count has doubled we should get a full (12 week) season in 2022,” Field and Game Australia chief executive Dean O’Hara said.
The Weekly Times reported “the survey results also bode well for South Australia’s and Tasmania’s seasons, given the migratory nature of waterfowl”.
“NSW DPI normally sets the Riverina cull quota at 10 per cent of the population, which means hunters should have access to more than 100,000 ducks this season”.
“But growers won’t be able to draw on the regular pool of hunters from Victoria, South Australia or even some parts of NSW, due to Covid restrictions”.
Mr Bull said growers should be able to draw on shooters from within the border bubble, but he had no idea whether duck shooters from further afield could gain access to the Riverina, given the ever changing state of border rules.
In the meantime he said more than half the rice crop was set to be deep drilled into paddies, out of the reach of hungry ducks.
“There’ll be a big window for sowing for different varieties from October to some short season varieties in November,” Mr Bull said. “The critical thing is there’s a range of deterrents devices (growers can use) – lights, scare guns.”