Duck hunting. Photo by Leon Wright
Pic: Leon Wright

Science backs calls for nine-bird bag in 2024 Victorian duck season

Two of Australia’s major national recreational shooting organisations are backing calls for a 2024 Victorian duck hunting season with bag limits of nine birds per day, following the release of a report penned by respected waterbird ecologists.

The report, entitled Using duck proxies and surface water to inform hunting arrangements for 2024, recommends the Interim Harvest Model published in 2021 — in this case being a 2024 duck hunting season with bag limit of nine birds per licensed hunter per day.

Both SSAA Victoria and Shooters Union Australia have thrown their support behind the call, with SSAA Victoria’s hunting development manager David Laird saying it was important for decisions about hunting bag limits to be based on “facts, data and evidence”.

“By using the Interim Harvest Model, the government can give the community confidence that sustainability rather than politics is driving government decisions,” he said.

Mr Laird said the Eastern Australian Waterbird Survey and the Victorian Aerial Survey both showed a significant increase in game duck populations in 2023. 

“Waterbird numbers are booming; it is important for the public to understand that game hunting seasons are set using robust science to ensure sustainability is not jeopardised,” he said.

Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park said the Interim Harvest Model proposal had his support, as it was properly researched and would provide certainty to duck hunters not only in Victoria but elsewhere in Australia. 

“We’ve always said bag limit decisions should be based on scientific fact and not the feelings of people who hate hunting, and right here we have scientific data saying there should be a season with a proper bag limit,” he said.

“The ducks which can legally be hunted are not endangered, and shooters are tired of a centuries-old tradition being used as a political football, especially when the opposition is coming from people who have probably seen more ducks in cartoons than they have in the wetlands.

“A significant number of hunters come to Victoria from other states each year to harvest ducks, which requires organising travel, accommodation, hunting permits, and purchasing supplies. 

“It’s a significant investment and a benefit to Victoria’s economy, so we’d hope the state government would want to keep that benefit coming by ensuring interstate hunters can plan a hunting trip with confidence and know it will be worthwhile.”




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Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.