Duck hunting. Photo by Leon Wright
Pic: Leon Wright

Victorian duck hunting ban rejected, 2024 season to go ahead

Science has won out over emotion and ideology, with the Victorian Government confirming it will not implement a duck hunting ban and that the 2024 season will go ahead.

The Select Committee on Victoria’s Recreational Native Bird Hunting Arrangements report, championed by the Animal Justice Party and the Greens, recommended duck hunting be banned in the state.

However, the government plans to implement stronger penalties for hunters doing the wrong thing, introduce stricter game laws and adopt a hunter training program modelled after that used in some European countries, with a goal to reducing wounding rates among hunted duck.

Victorian Environment Minister Steve Dimopoulos told the ABC that the state government recognised duck hunting was not only a legitimate activity, but also supported regional communities and economies.

“Duck hunting is a legitimate activity — but more than that, it supports regional communities and economies,” he said.

“There are many things that I don’t enjoy personally — duck hunting is one of them.

“But I can’t sit here and tell Victorians how to live their lives.” 

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Victorian Upper House MP Jeff Bourmann has been a vocal campaigner for duck hunting in Victoria and said he was very pleased it would remain legal, acknowledging the hard work put in by numerous groups and organisations to reach this outcome.

“The reality is we will be hunting in the 2024 and 2025 seasons,” he said.

“The government must also be thanked for not giving in to the anti-hunters and giving us a season. I know some will not like the changes but if it’s what we need to do to continue to hunt, then so be it.”

Shooters Union president Graham Park said he was glad duck hunting would continue in Victoria, and that the government had “listened to the grown-ups” on the matter. 

“I’m glad the ALP have seen sense on this issue, and listened to the reasoned, fact-based arguments in favour of continuing an important traditional cultural practice that contributes millions of dollars to Victoria’s economy,” he said.

Mr Park said he believed the trade unions getting involved with the debate, and threatening to walk off projects should duck hunting be banned, had almost certainly helped keep waterfowl on the menu.

“I also think the ALP have realised they’re not going to gain any votes from banning duck hunting, since the people calling the loudest for it to go are rusted-on Greens and Animal Justice Party voters anyway, and their preferences tend to flow towards Labor,” he said.

“The combination of watching construction projects grind to a halt as a result of trade union action, alienating the wider traditional Labor voter base by interfering with an established and legal recreational activity, and depriving regional communities of millions of dollars in business and tourism would have been political suicide.

“We look forward to duck hunting remaining part of the Victorian recreational calendar for many years to come.”




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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.