Report on the opening of the 2024 Victorian duck rescue season.

This was the quietest opening the Coalition Against Duck Shooting had experienced in the 38 years of our campaign.

After our newly appointed Premier, Jacinta Allan, ignored the findings of Labor’s Parliamentary Inquiry to ban duck shooting, she made a captain’s call to continue with the unpopular activity.

Labor MPs who wanted duck shooting banned decided to close an incredible 32 of the main shooting wetlands, just two days before opening (and then two more soon after). This hit the shooters hard as their favourite wetlands were closed.

On the wetlands left open, we saw only handfuls of duck shooters.

Duck shooting is definitely on the way out!

However, at tax-payers’ expense, 130 compliance officers were out in force this year, even brought in from other states (where duck shooting is banned). They appeared to focus primarily on booking as many rescuers as possible for being within 25m of shorelines prior to 10am.

10 April 2024:  Channel 7 news

The opening of the 2024 duck shooting season and possible union involvement

13 April 2024Channel 7 news

AJP MP Georgie Purcell and Laurie Levy booked for rescuing native waterbirds

16 April 2024:  Channel 7 news

Display of dead birds outside Premier Jacinta Allan’s office

We’d like to thank the Wildlife Victoria team (who were accompanied by Greens MP Katherine Copsey) for once again attending in force and doing a magnificent job caring for the wounded birds recovered by rescuers. They also provided large photographs of some of the euthanased birds at the display outside the Premier’s office. The surviving birds will be released back to the wild once the season ends.

A rescuer recovers a dead, threatened, female Blue-winged Shoveler from Lake Wooroonook on the first day of the Victorian recreational duck shooting season

With duck shooting coming so close to being banned, we thought the shooters would be on their best behavior, however, we still had reports from irate residents of shooters

  • firing very close to houses, people and livestock;

  • using boats to flush birds into the air; standing in a boat to shoot and shooting from a moving boat.

On the few wetlands that Coalition Against Duck Shooting rescuers covered we saw

  • shooters failing to collect wounded birds before targeting more birds

  • shooters with their families, setting up camps and toilets within 25m of the shoreline;

  • a large amount of ammunition illegally left unattended;

  • spent cartridge shells, rubbish and toilet paper littering the wetlands;

  • a shooter pointed his gum at a rescuer and then fired close by;

  • a shooter exposed his backside to two female rescuers;

  • a high profile supporter had three severed duck heads and six wings dumped outside this Kerang resident’s home,

  • and we recovered illegally shot threatened species, illegally shot protected species, and so called ‘game species’ illegally left uncollected on the wetlands.

Just some of the media that the duck shooting issue generated:

ABC Drive time – 9.4.2024
Ali Moore interviews Laurie Levy prior to duck opening

Weekly Times 17.4.24
MP Duck Hunt Ban

Anti-duck hunting groups send message to Premier with grim display

Dozens of dead birds have been left on display outside Jacinta Allan’s office as protesters push for an end to duck hunting in Victoria. Warning: Graphic images.

Imogen Bailey

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting protesters outside of Premier Jacinta Allan's office.

Dozens of dead birds illegally shot and left on wetlands during the opening of the duck shooting season have been left outside Jacinta Allan’s office in protest by anti-duck shooting groups.

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS) and Wildlife Victoria laid outabout 40 dead ducks outside the Premier’s Melbourne office on Tuesday morning.

Although all Victorian licensed duck shooters must pass the Waterfowl Identification Test, illegally shot threatened blue-winged shovelers were still recovered by rescuers in the first five days of the 2024 duck shooting season, CADS claimed.

The protesters outside Jacinta Allan’s office on Tuesday.

About 40 dead ducks make up the grim display.

In January, the Victorian government announced that blue-winged shoveler and hardhead could not be hunted in the 2024 season due to their threatened status.

Speaking at the demonstration, CADS campaign director Laurie Levy called for the Victorian government to ban duck shooting.

“Duck shooting is a terribly violent activity that brutalises Australia’s beautiful native water birds,” he said.

“The government can very easily ban duck shooting today in Victoria, as it has in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

“Once duck shooting comes to an end, Victoria could have a thriving First Nations nature-based wetlands tourism industry,” he said.

Coalition Against Duck Shooting campaign director Laurie Levy holds a dead duck.

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting wants duck hunting banned. Levy added that through the 38 years of campaigning, public opinion had changed on duck shooting, and it was a very subdued start to the 2024 season.

“This has been the quietest opening of the Victorian duck shooting season that we have ever experienced,” he said.

“All of the media coverage over the past 38 years has changed public opinion.

“The number of duck shooters has fallen from 100,000 down to no more than 5000.

“With the Labor government closing 34 of the shooters’ favourite wetlands due to large numbers of threatened species, we expected large concentrations of shooters on the remaining wetlands around Kerang and Donald.

“Instead, our rescuers struggled to find many shooters anywhere, but the few shooters we did see still shot threatened and protected species,” Levy alleged.

CADS claimed there were 130 regulating officers patrolling the wetlands, with a large number brought in from interstate.

According to Levy, issuing rescuers with banning notices to prevent the recovery of illegally shot threatened and protected species and wounded birds, seemed to be the officers’ main focus.

Coalition Against Duck Shooting protesters outside of the Premier’s office on Tuesday.

It comes just months after the state government announced its response to the parliamentary inquiry into Victoria’s recreational native bird hunting arrangements, confirming that recreational duck and quail hunting would continue with some changes.

The views of more than 10,000 Victorians and organisations were heard during the inquiry, the most a parliamentary inquiry has ever received.

Minister for Outdoor Recreation Steve Dimopoulos said in January that duck hunting is a legitimate activity that supports regional communities and economies.

“Our position has not changed and we’re supporting recreational duck and quail hunting to continue in a safe, sustainable and responsible way with minimal harm to our environment,” he said.

From 2025, changes to recreational duck and quail hunting will be brought in, including:

• Improving hunters’ knowledge and skill by making education and training for hunters mandatory

• Stricter compliance levels, including further penalties for hunters breaking the rules

• Banning the use of lead shot for quail hunting