Box Flat is our shame. The imbecilic shooting of hundreds of ducks and non-game birds in the Victorian wetland will hurt our cause, and so it should.
I don’t buy into the argument that the massive shooting was orchestrated by anti-hunting conspirators, even though I sincerely hope it was. Either way, though, the people responsible for killing such a large number of endangered freckled ducks – a species that is absolutely banned from being shot – as well as swans and the like should be put in metaphorical stocks for the whole world to pelt with filth. Let hunters have the first throw.
There is no excuse for it, and the consequences go beyond the impact on an endangered species, beyond the slaughter of protected swans, beyond the closure of the wetlands for the rest of the hunting season, and even beyond any knee-jerk laws or regulations that may be imposed.
The consequences are likely to include a body blow to hunting just when we’re on the up again.
So many good people have been working unbelievably hard to rebuild the reputation of hunters and shooters over the past two or three decades. In Victoria, they’ve succeeded to the point where the government actually praises hunting and hunters in media releases that paint a public picture of our sport’s benefits. They reinforce our right to pursue our pastime.
Now there are protests outside the premier’s office, media articles exposing the ‘slaughter’ and horrified mums and dads reconsidering whether everything we’ve been telling them. The anti-duck hunters have suddenly found their own open season on hunters and are relishing it. Even hunters are starting to say we need additional rules and regulations, and it should never come to that.
The cretins who killed those birds have committed crimes as well as damning the rest of us as hunters. They must be punished for the crimes, and they must be punished for the shame they’ve brought.
The best way we can punish them is to unite against them. Hang them out to dry, not only showing them that we won’t tolerate their unbelievably low behaviour, but showing the community that we don’t put up with it. They do not represent us and we want nothing to do with them.
Those people get no sympathy from me, and if they want any leniency I hope they’ve got a bloody good story for the judge.
If you have any information, go to the police. The number is 1800 333 000.