Duck hunting photo courtesy Field and Game Australia
Photo courtesy Field and Game Australia

Short, low-bag and “boring” duck hunting season opens in Victoria

Victoria’s shortest duck season in recent memory kicked off yesterday as hunting organisations encouraged hunters to make a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the regulation of native game bird hunting in the state. 

Duck season in the state is running from 8am until 30 minutes after sunset every day from today (April 26) to Tuesday, May 30; with a bag limit of four birds per hunter per day. 

Pacific black duck, mountain duck, chestnut teal duck, grey teal duck, pink-eared duck and wood duck are all on the approved game list for this year.

The short season and low bag limits have attracted considerable displeasure from the hunting community, especially considering last year’s Victorian duck season ran from 16 March to 13 June.

In an official statement, Field and Game Australia (FGA) expressed disappoint at Victoria’s Labor Government and legislators choosing to ignore the science, and reducing the season’s length and bag limit, describing it as a “a dramatic departure from Labor’s previous position of supporting safe, responsible and sustainable duck hunting”.

“Leading Australian waterfowl scientists have repeatedly stated that habitat availability and breeding in 2022-2023 has been exceptional. 

“FGA will seek clarification as to why the government has cited low bird numbers as a reason for season length and bag limit reduction,” the statement said.

This assertion appears to be backed up by reports of high numbers of birds as well as the 2023 duck hunting seasons in South Australia and Tasmania, which are much longer and have higher bag limits than Victoria’s.

South Australia’s duck hunting season began on 18 March and runs until 25 June with a bag limit of eight birds per hunter per day, while Tasmania’s began on 11 March and runs until 12 June with a bag limit of 10 ducks per hunter per day.

Wild ducks are a problem in several parts of Australia; a few weeks ago a flock of more than 100 ducks completely obliterated a bok choy crop at Peninsula Fresh Organics in a mere four hours, having put a serious dent in the farm’s crop of baby cos lettuce the previous night. 

Shooters Union national hunting co-ordinator Craig Golding said state governments needed to put aside political point-scoring and look at the science and the reality of the duck issue.

“Recreational duck hunting is a valuable management tool in controlling duck numbers within the carrying capacity of their various ecosystems,” he said.

“Government can no longer ignore the need for sustainable wildlife management.”

Field and Game Australia is preparing its own submission to the Select Committee on Victoria’s Recreational Native Bird Hunting Arrangements and has a web page that includes information as well as a link for submitting your own comments. 

The Shooting Industry Foundation Australia (SIFA) backed FGA’s calls for hunters to make submissions.

“It is important that all businesses and shooters who may be affected by changes to Victoria’s duck season, put in a reasoned and polite submission following the guidelines from Field and Game,” SIFA CEO James Walsh said. 

Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MP Jeff Bourman, who sits on the Select Committee, said he and other members of the committee attended open day.

“There was no shooting till 8.01 and, to be frank, it was boring,” he said.

Duck hunting isn’t the free-for-all the activists tell everyone it is and is highly regulated and policed and quite sustainable. 

“This should have been evident to everyone who was willing to open their eyes this morning.”

For more information on Victoria’s 2023 duck season, including wetland closures, visit




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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.