"It hurts. I feel it in the gut"
Adaptive Harvest Model - Shooters' "Alternative News"
As part of a 2018 election promise to hunt clubs (at least one of which is chaired by the owner of a gun store), the Victorian government now relies on a fairly recent "Adaptive Harvest Model" (AHM) to inform hunting arrangements.
It appears hunt clubs wanted this new model (funded by taxpayers, 99% of whom do not hunt), because the long-term science (EAAWS) continues to show our native duck populations are declining in abundance and breeding even in the case of significant rainfall. We are confident that if the long-term science was showing healthy duck numbers, there would have been no request from shooters for the investment into AHM.
The AHM appears to attempt to justify continued hunting in the face of damning science.
It claims "large numbers of waterfowl travel large distances". However in 2019, DPI NSW found many ducks did not travel far at all.
It also mentions the old assumption that duck populations are linked to rainfall when the last few years have proven this is not the case.
To the author's credit, it admits shortcomings including that:
the model is "only a tool which should be used with due diligence"
the model is "too inaccurate" to be able to predict per species
"the number of ducks in Victoria and SE Australia is unknown"
the model did not account for social / economic or ecological impacts
the land based duck count is only performed at 37 "priority" waterways (- far too small a number to be in any way an accurate state-wide estimate when there are tens of thousands of shooting waterways around Victoria.)
The "independent" Victorian hunting regulator whose key staff have been long time holders of bird shooting licenses themselves, says that the AHM has been the basis for last years recommended record 90 day shoot. However nowhere in the AHM - nor any other documentation - can we see any recommendation for a 90 day shoot. In fact the average season for the last 30 years has been 70 days. Where did GMA get the additional 20 days (call it three weeks) from?
We also note that a 60% reduction in bag limit and a full season length, (the 2022 season allowed four birds per shooter per day) resulted in only a 20% reduction in overall harvest.
Therefore, if the regulator is at all concerned with sustainability, or social/economic impacts of hunting to the 99.99% Victorians who do not hunt, or to protected/threatened species, it is entirely fitting that the regulator should drastically reduce, if not cancel entirely, the next shoot.
An interim adaptive harvest model, by Klassen / Kingsford - Curiously this document is not on the GMA website.