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End the massacre of ducks

We'd love to see the end of the violence and cruelty inflicted on our native waterbirds during duck shooting season.

This brutal activity claims hundreds of thousands of waterbirds, including protected ducks, every season.

Since the introduction of this ‘sport’ in Victoria, millions of waterbirds have been killed. South Australia is the only other state in Australia that also holds an annual duck shooting season. Other Australian states including QLD, NSW and WA have banned duck shooting, while the ACT never allowed it in the first place. 

Game Management Authority Submission

Duck shooting is an annual event, taking place over a 12-week period. Every year, we can expect the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of native waterbirds including protected ducks across Victoria. 

The Game Management Authority (GMA) puts forward its recommendations to the government every year as to whether the duck shooting season should go ahead.

We were asked to submit evidence-based reasons why we shouldn't have a 2016 duck shooting season.

You can view our submission here.


Duck shooting interferes with the delicate ecosystems of Victoria's wetlands. Sadly, bird populations have not had an opportunity to replenish following many years of drought. Additionally, until lead shots were banned in the 1990's, duck shooting was responsible for leaching 350 tonnes of poisonous lead into Victorian waterways. These lead deposits will remain for 100 years, poisoning wildlife and damaging flora.

Duck shooters have also been found to pollute waterways, leaving behind spent cartridge shells and rubbish.

Endangered species

Although Waterfowl Identification Tests have been introduced in Victoria, these tests don’t go far enough in protecting endangered species. Plus children and overseas hunters are not required to take the test. Hunters are only required to sit this once, the pass rate is not 100% and evidence shows, despite this 'test', many hunters fire at birds before they have sufficiently identified the species. Hunters fire into flocks and the spray of pellets can easily wound birds flying with the target. Many non-game species such as swans, ibis and spoonbills are often fatally injured.

Chestnut Teal Duck image courtesy of Ashley Herrod, Birds Australia

Meet Penny, a dedicated duck rescuer

Victoria’s duck shooting season is a barbaric and senseless attack on our native waterbirds. For three months of the year, ducks are unprotected and shot from the skies, all in the name of ‘sport’. With research indicating that one in four ducks that are shot do not die instantly, but rather are left to suffer a slow and agonising death, these defenceless animals rely on dedicated rescuers who risk their own lives to protect our ducks.

“Along with all other animals ducks have no voice, so they need people to defend their rights”, says Penny, a passionate animal lover who dedicates her life to the welfare of animals. “They are peaceful creatures that deserve to be able to live an undisturbed life in their natural habitat. How would we like it if we were in our homes and an army of men with guns invaded?”

In 2011, after learning about the cruelty inflicted on native waterbirds, Penny became a rescuer with the Coalition Against Duck Shooting, determined to help wherever she could. ”When I first learned of this I thought it was a great thing that people were doing and left it at that. It wasn’t until I dug deeper and learned more about the surrounding issues and the plight of our wildlife really struck me; the combination of how the ducks and other native wildlife are left to suffer, the dependants of these animals who are left to either starve or be preyed upon, and the environmental issues that arose from these activities.”

During her two years as a duck rescuer, Penny has noticed some dramatic changes – the most notable being the decline in the number of hunters who are out on the wetlands. “From my first time out rescuing ducks to now, the most noticeable change I have seen are the numbers of hunters. There has been a dramatic fall in the number of hunters in comparison to last year. In my discussions with other rescuers who have been out on the wetlands since the 1990’s, there has been a steady fall in numbers of hunters.”

In 2012, Penny spent the opening weekend at the beautiful, and normally serene, Lake Buloke near Donald, where many hunters gather for the opening weekend of the duck shooting season.

“At the official opening time, hearing all the gun shots go off at the same time was nothing compared to last year; a true indication that hunter numbers were well down. I remember clearly the 2011 opening day - it sounded like a war. It almost brought me to tears watching the ducks fly up and then a number fall, followed by cheers from the shooters.”

As well as being a duck rescuer, Penny is also dedicated to teaching the younger generation about the importance of animal welfare, working as an Education Administration Officer at the RSPCA. Being such a passionate advocate for animals means that Penny will be out rescuing ducks and other waterbirds caught in the crossfire each and every year until this barbaric ‘sport’ is banned. “I have a passion for the wellbeing of all animals and believe they deserve the same respect we would expect to receive ourselves.”

If you would like to learn about becoming a duck rescuer with the Coalition Against Duck Shooting please visit their website.

Penny, duck rescuer

Penny, duck rescuer

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