Anti-duck hunting protesters say they have discovered pits containing nearly 200 dead ducks at the Koorangie State Game Reserve, just a week after Victoria’s duck hunting season opened.
Footage shot by the Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS) shows piles of ducks being dug up from the pits.
They say that the discovery shows that some hunters are shooting above their 10-bird a day bag limit.
7.30 visited the site in Victoria’s north with the protesters and asked the Coalition Against Duck Shooting’s Luke Milroy how he would respond to claims the bird-pit find was merely a stunt by activists to try to close down the industry.
“I just know the truth so I just try to ignore it [the counter-claims] really,” he said.
“It happens every year, where the hunters blame botulism or rescuers killing birds. Which is just ridiculous, because we’re all animal lovers and we love our native waterbirds so much.”
Game Management Authority to review hunting licence arrangements
The CADS allegations come a week after Victoria’s Game Management Authority discovered around 100 protected birds had been killed and countless others injured at the Koorangie reserve during the first weekend of the official duck hunting season.
That led the Authority to announce on Friday that the Koorangie reserve would be closed to duck hunting.
In an interview with 7.30 the Game Management Authority’s Brian Hine also revealed that the dead and injured birds had prompted his organisation to review duck hunting licence arrangements.
“Our responsibility as a game management authority is to ensure that hunting in Victoria remains sustainable and responsible, and this indicates clearly neither,” he said
‘Totally unacceptable behaviour’
7.30 also asked Mr Hine to review the footage of the bird pits shot by CADS.
He said while it was not illegal to bury whole birds, it was clearly unethical.
“It’s possible there were a number of hunters there who shot their legal entitlement of birds who don’t value the bird and don’t value the meat and then buried them,” he told 7.30.
“It’s also a likelihood that they have potentially shot 10 birds on the day, their legal bag limit, and these birds have been above their bag limits.”
Mr Hine said, either way, it was extremely concerning.
“The majority of hunters certainly would agree that ethically, that is totally unacceptable behaviour,” he said.
Entire hunting community tarnished: duck shooters body
The body representing duck shooters, Field and Game Australia (FGA), declined an interview but said it had not heard of any shooters exceeding the bag limits.
But in a statement, FGA said it condemned the irresponsible and illegal hunting which happened at Koorangie and that it had tarnished the entire hunting community.
As part of its review, the Game Management Authority will consider implementing more testing for identifying bird species, and marksmanship.
The duck hunting season remains open in the rest of the state until June.