Hunting regulations ruffle feathers

The latest draft of hunting regulations is already ruffling feathers, with hunters and activists both expressing concerns.

Victoria’s Wildlife (Game) Regulations are renewed close to every 10 years and cover everything from the season’s duration to the birds allowed to be hunted.

The proposed regulations were released for public comment on Monday, July 1, which included changes such as a 90-day shooting season and the hunting license fees increased to $88.

Geelong Duck Rescue co-ordinator Natalie Kopas said she felt the draft regulations were designed to allow duck shooters to have “as much fun as possible and with as little monitoring as possible”.

“We have a process to be licenced and be out there rescuing, but instead trying to change the time slots even later until we can go out and look for wounded birds,” she said.

“They’re still encouraging and putting money behind 12- to 18-year-olds shooting birds. It was an opportunity to say that guns should not be in the hands of people under 18.

“These regulations come up once every 10 years and it’s the opportunity that, if they’re serious about saying they’re conservationists and about minimising harm, this is the chance to prove that.”

Geelong Field and Game conservation officer Trent Leen said there were some “really promising things” in the draft regulations, but he still had concerns.

“It’s good to see the timing for the duck season going back to the normal start time after the initial opening week, so that’s a positive,” he said.

“We’re a little bit concerned about the immediate implementation of the non-toxic shot for quail. We would have thought a phase-in period would have been much more suitable.

“The industry hasn’t had a chance to adjust and get the right products over here, so we have got our concerns about that and think that a phase in period would have been better.”

Visit Engage Victoria’s website to provide feedback on the Wildlife (Game) Regulations 2024 and Regulatory Impact Statement by July 29.