Lawlessness Still Pervades Victoria's Wetlands
Despite record low numbers of shooters and millions more taxpayer dollars subsiding regulatory efforts, lawlessness continues across the state.
Australian Pink-eared Duck, unique to Australia, forms life-long pairs. One of several shot and left to die at Kerang, opening weekend, 2019.
Picture Creative cowboy films.
YESTERDAY; An article by Andrew Jefferson, Senior reporter, Geelong Advertiser, March 31, 2019 11:33am, reported;
"Police are investigating after a duck rescuer was allegedly struck by a car driven by a duck hunter at Lake Connewarre.
..The duck rescuer was left in shock with bruises to her legs and was taken to hospital.
Another woman who witnessed the incident was taken to hospital for shock.
Speaking from hospital, the woman who was struck by the car,.. said she had no doubt it was a deliberate act.
This incident follows that reported just last week in the Ballarat Courier;
"Camper's Terrifying Night at Lake Burrumbeet". ..."I couldn't let me little dog out for a wee. I wasn't even game enough to go outside. I thought 'you know, you're going get pegged'." When he woke up the next morning he said there was a dead wallaby that had been shot in the head lying just a few metres away from the entrance to the tent. Mr Convery said he called the police twice to let them know about the problem."They said they'd try and get someone out," he said. "..."But the shooting just went all night. I don't know if the police had come out or not."
These were not isolated events.
At more than one location across the state, residents say gunfire pierced the sky up to half an hour earlier than the legal start time on the first day of Victoria’s duck shooting season.
At Barmah, distressed residents complained of having to tell shooters to move away from areas where they would be shooting over private properties and near horses.
At Lake Tyers, one concerned member of the public reported a group of men had lit a campfire (during fire restrictions) at the end of a pier under a gumtree.
At Bolac there were authorities but they apparently finished at 6pm, more than two hours before shooting ended.
Concerns at Cairn Curran that toxic blue-green algae may prevent shooters from retrieving downed birds, led locals to attempt to contact absent regulators. “The GMA 13 number was unattended all weekend and we had a reply to our online complaint more than two days later" a resident said. "Are these people interested in enforcing hunting rules?"
A futile call was made to a GMA officer’s mobile Saturday morning who advised; “we have no resource to get there”.
“What were shooters shooting across Victoria? How many birds did they bag? Where were the regulators?
(report & photos supplied by witnesses)
Every duck shooting season there are incidents of non compliance from around the state– many only brought to the public’s attention by members of the community who happen to witness it. It is logically only the tip of the iceberg of what really happens on our waterways because the vast majority are not monitored and see no witnesses.
The risk to public safety and to our struggling native wildlife - many species unique to our country - is simply not worth it.
Whilst Mr Andrews has never accepted invitations to visit wetlands to witness duck shooting, we appeal to him to follow the lead of other states and ban this unpopular activity as a matter of urgency.
There's a better way for our waterways.