2013 Duck Hunting Season
The 2013 duck hunting season
The 2013 duck hunting season opens on Saturday 16 March and closes on Monday 10 June 2013.
A hunter may take a maximum of ten (10) game ducks, which may include no more than two (2) Australasian (Blue-winged) Shovelers, on each day during the open season.
From 2010-2012, widespread flooding occurred in many parts of eastern Australia associated with record rainfalls. April 2010 to March 2012 was Australia’s wettest two-year period on record. As a result, waterbird habitat has increased dramatically throughout eastern Australia.
The inundation of wetlands following a long, dry period has resulted in abundant food availability and optimum habitat for waterbirds, stimulating extensive breeding and a significant increase in game duck populations. Game duck populations are at the fourth highest level recorded since 1984.
Opening times - opening morning
On opening morning (16 March 2013), Victoria will be divided into three zones (see map), each with different opening times.
The season will open at:
- 7:10 am in the eastern zone
- 7:20 am in the central zone
- 7:30 am in the western zone
Hunting ceases half an hour after sunset on the opening day.
Opening times - rest of the season
For the remainder of the season, duck hunting is permitted from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset See the 2013 Victorian Hunting Guide for details on how to calculate this or the free Game Hunting Victoria App which can be downloaded from the iTunes Store or Google Play. The App automatically calculates hunting start and end times for every day of the season.
Where can I hunt ducks?Duck hunting is permitted throughout the state in state forests, unoccupied Crown Land and State Game Reserves. Hunting is also permitted on leased Crown Land, licensed Crown Land or private land with permission of the leaseholder, licensee or land owner/manager respectively.
There are only three parks (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, Cape Conran Coastal Park and Lake Albacutya Park) where duck hunting is allowed in designated areas.
Wetlands may be closed to hunting at certain times to protect concentrations of rare or threatened species or colonies of breeding waterbirds. Hunters should contact their local DPI Office or look for the latest information on the DPI website.
Make sure you have your licences?All hunters, including juniors (12-17 years), must hold a valid Game Licence endorsed to hunt duck. People less than 12 years old are not permitted to use a firearm to hunt or take game.
When hunting duck, you must:
- carry your current Game Licence endorsed for duck
- carry your Firearms Licence
To obtain a Game Licence endorsed for duck, a hunter must first pass a Waterfowl Identification Test.
No shooting of non-game species
- identify the target as a game species
- make sure the bird is within effective shooting skills distance
- single out a bird and do not fire into flocks (this may injure other birds including non-game species).
Unless you are dispatching a downed bird, do not fire at birds on the water, as ricocheting shot could injure non-game birds or other hunters. If it is necessary to dispatch injured birds on the water, you should first make sure your line of fire is clear.
Hunters should also be alert for Freckled Duck (appearance in flight is similar to Black Duck) as there is a total ban on the take of this threatened species.
Compliance with game laws
There are heavy penalties if you breach the law, which may include losing your Game and Firearms Licence and/or your firearm. Make sure you obey the laws that are in place to protect you and the game that you hunt.
Improve your chances
To improve your chances of bringing birds home and reducing the risk of wounding, practice the following:
- Pattern test your gun to ensure you are using the correct choke and shotshell combination to take the birds you are hunting
- Only shoot at birds within your shooting skills distance
- Don’t hunt in areas where it is difficult to recover downed birds
- Make sure you practice regularly to improve and maintain your shooting skills.
Important regulations to remember
The use of lead shot for duck hunting is prohibited throughout Victoria. This includes duck hunting on all wetlands, waterways and dry lands on public and private land (there are some exemptions).
Compliance officers actively test hunters’ shotgun ammunition during the season.
Hunting from a boat
On waterways (such as rivers, creeks, streams and channels), you are allowed to hunt duck from a boat under power, up to a speed of five knots. On open waters (such as lakes or swamps), you are not permitted to hunt duck from a motor boat if the motor is running, whether in gear or not.
Retaining a fully-feathered wing
To ensure compliance officers can quickly and accurately identify all waterfowl in your possession, you must leave a fully-feathered wing on any harvested duck until immediately prior to cooking or the duck has been taken to your ordinary place of residence.
Where do I get more information?
For more detailed information about game hunting, refer to the 2013 Victorian Hunting Guide which will be mailed to all licensed game hunters, visit DPI’s website or download the free Game Hunting Victoria App.