Victorian hunters can look forward to a bumper season next year after the Victorian Coalition Government today announced a full duck and quail season.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the recent wet conditions and abundance of food had resulted in bird numbers increasing to levels not seen for almost two decades.
“The reason for the early announcement is that duck season has a positive impact on many rural and regional communities, including many townships in East Gippsland and today’s declaration of a full season gives certainty to both hunters and local businesses,” Mr Bull said. The duck season for 2012 will open on Saturday 17 March and close on Monday 11 June, 2012 while the stubble quail season for 2012 will run from Saturday 7 April to Saturday 30 June, 2012.
The duck season will open at 7:10 am in the eastern zone, 7:20 am in the central zone and 7:30 am in the western zone, with hunting to cease half an hour after sunset on opening day.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Peter Walsh, said duck numbers and the condition of wetlands across Victoria would be monitored in the lead-up to the season.
“Locations accessible to duck hunters and those to be excluded will be determined following the normal assessment of concentrations of breeding waterbirds and threatened species before the season opens,” Mr Walsh said.
In a separate announcement, responsibility for game management has been transferred from the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
The announcement today by Minister Walsh signals a new era for game management in Victoria with the creation of Game Victoria within the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
Mr Walsh said the creation of Game Victoria delivered on the Coalition Government’s election commitment to give Victoria’s game hunting community a stronger voice and better enable the promotion and growth of the game sector.
“Victoria has world-class game hunting opportunities and is the envy of game hunters across Australia,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government encourages people to make the most of the opportunities to hunt and fish and enjoy recreational activities that form part of our heritage. “More than 40,000 Victorians are licensed to hunt game, an increase of 30 per cent since 1996. That number is likely to keep growing as game populations and their habitats recover from years of drought.”
Game Victoria will operate in a similar way to the successful Fisheries Victoria model in supporting the development of recreational fishing.
Mr Walsh said Game Victoria would focus on working with the peak game groups to:
• promote game hunting as a popular recreational activity, an important traditional pastime and generator of jobs, • develop improved hunting opportunities, • develop new opportunities for game guides and similar businesses, support conservation projects, including habitat rehabilitation and invest in game species research, • improve education and advisory programs for hunters, and • develop a longer term strategy for sustainable game management and improved compliance.
Mr Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government recognised the enormous support game hunting provides to local economies in regional Victoria.
“The activity generates more than $70 million each year and supports jobs in hospitality, the supply of vehicles, boats, firearms and ammunition, plus camping and hunting equipment,” Mr Walsh said.
“The hunting community also works tirelessly to restore and improve habitats and control pest animals across the state.”
Other changes announced today include the creation of a new standing council on hunting and game to provide advice to the Minister, particularly on the development of a Victorian Game Hunting and Management Strategy.
Game Victoria will call for nominations for the council in February next year.