On the opening weekend of the 2013 duck shooting season, the Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS) received a tip-off that a massacre of native waterbirds, including some 200 threatened Freckled Ducks, had taken place on a private wetland called Box Flat, in northwest Victoria.  

CADS also received information that sales staff from gun manufacturer Winchester had taken crates of ammunition to give away to shooters.  With invited shooters only, free ammunition, and no outside eyes watching, except for two wildlife officers who were forced to stand on shore away from the shooting due to department Occupational Health & Safety Regulations, it wasn’t surprising that a massacre had taken place. 

Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh responded by announcing that Box Flat would immediately be closed to shooting and an investigation was to take place over the next few months. 

CADS waited a week while the inspectors investigated the massacre site.  But when our rescue team eventually entered the Box Flat wetlands, they very quickly recovered 40 threatened Freckled Ducks that had been illegally shot the week before, during the massacre.  How did the investigating officers miss recovering this crucial evidence?  Alarm bells were starting to ring in regard to the investigation.  

Consequently, it was not surprising to learn some months later that no shooters would be prosecuted. 

We were informed that another massacre had taken place at Box Flat the year before, which had been hushed up.  But this time CADS had the information to release the story to the media. 

Follow the story below in The Age and Weekly Times newspaper articles. 

13 May 2013, The Age
13 May 2013 The Age – Melissa Fife (1)

14 May 2013 – The Age editorial

3 July
2015, Weekly Times
3 July 15 Weekly Times

Box Flat was closed to shooting

Illegally shot, threatened Freckled Duck

Illegally shot, protected Grebe

Illegally shot, threatened Freckled Duck

Some of the wounded birds taken to veterinary care

Wounded cropped(1)

Display outside the Premier’s office