There is absolutely no scientific justification or reason for recreational duck shooting. It is purely an activity from a bygone era which takes place to accommodate the bloodthirsty enjoyment shooters derive from shooting live birds.
Recreational duck shooting is purely a recreational shoot – killing for fun, and an excuse for grown men to drive out into the bush with their mates, light a camp fire, over indulge in alcohol, dress up like soldiers and pretend to be tough. They cheer and shout when innocent small birds drop out of the skyand then drive home often leaving behind wounded birds, mounds of feathers, guts and other bird parts, shotgun cartridges, human faeces, toilet paper and general rubbish.
Spent shotgun cartridges littering wetlands
Whenever possible, the Coalition Against Duck Shooting rescuers clean up after the shooters by collecting and disposing of their rubbish and spent cartridges.
CADS rescuers value and respect native waterbirds, oppose recreational cruelty, and stand up against a legally sanctioned barbaric and outdated injustice.
The #MeToo campaign also highlights how important it is that young men be taught the virtues of compassion and empathy for victims. Yet some shooters take their children to shooting wetlands to teach them to ignore the suffering they witness and be ‘tough’, resulting in a culture of violence, callousness and brutality which is then passed on from father to son.
ILLEGAL AND UNREGULATED
The Game Management Authority (GMA) has been the regulator of hunting in Victoria since 2014 but one of its main roles is to promote duck shooting.
Because duck shooting can take place on around 20,000 wetlands across Victoria, it is impossible to keep track of shooters and regulate their behaviour with just a small number of compliance officers.
CADS’ rescuers repeatedly witness illegal behaviour by duck shooters such as:
failing to immediately kill wounded birds
not bothering to check if birds are dead
not collecting a downed bird before targeting another bird
killing above the bag limit
burying birds shot above the bag limit
shooting protected and threatened species
shooting outside the legal times
stuffing live, wounded birds into bags or
hanging live, wounded birds on their belts
shooting into flocks
shooting out of range
using wounded birds to blood dogs
using boats to flush birds up into the air
littering the wetlands with spent cartridge shells, general rubbish and human excrement
attempting to kill birds by twirling (see below).
All of this has been captured on camera but very few shooters are ever prosecuted.
Duck rescuers witness this illegal shooter behaviour because they venture onto the shooting wetlands to help the birds. Much illegal shooter activity goes unseen by GMA officers who, because of Occupation Health and Safety regulations cannot approach duck shooters unless accompanied by an armed police officer.
GMA officers are more interested in prosecuting rescuers, who are there to help the innocent, suffering birds, than on regulating duck shooters because the GMA’s role is to promote duck shooting. Some of the GMA officers are duck shooters themselves (including the Board Chairman) which poses a huge conflict of interest.
If not for CADS’ rescuers, the illegally shot, threatened and protected birds left on the wetlands by duck shooters would go unknown. It is not in the GMA’s interest to recover these birds since it highlights their regulating failures.
In practice, very few duck shooters are actually active on the wetlands. Nevertheless, they still manage to cause havoc and disobey hunting laws.
Duck shooters attempt to hoodwink the public by posing as conservationists – erecting nest boxes on wetlands across Victoria to encourage breeding (so that more birds can be shot). Then paradoxically, when the numbers increase they say birds are in plague proportions, are destroying crops and must be shot.
However, aerial surveys of waterbird numbers across eastern Australia conducted since 1983 by Professor Richard Kingsford from the University of NSW show that waterbird number have declined by 90%.
If farmers have problems, we believe they should sue the shooters for erecting nest boxes
In the unlikely event that farmers think they have a problem, destruction permits can be obtained. But in Asia farmers encourage ducks onto their rice farms to eat the real pests such as blood worms and the invertebrates which destroy crops.
In reality, the shooting groups want to retain duck shooting and they will do anything to achieve this.