Hunters have expressed their disappointment about a delayed duck hunting season announcement and reduced bag numbers for next month’s opening.
Late last month the Game Management Authority announced the 2016 season between Saturday, 19 March and Monday 13 June, 2016 – a time frame normally set in late December.
A season bag limit of eight birds on opening day, four birds for every day after and a ban on blue-winger shoveler was also defined.
Field and Game Sale spokesman Gary Howard said the reduced bag limit and postponed announcement would affect local businesses preparing for the season.
“The reduced bag number may potentially make some hunters consider the value in going and travelling vast distances to go hunting,” Mr Howard said.
He said it was disappointing government had taken so long to announce the season, making it more difficult for hunters to take time off.
Mr Howard said many businesses related to the sport may also encounter issues providing stock, with many products such as non-toxic cartridges imported from overseas.
“A vast majority (of equipment) is imported from Europe and America and the lead time getting that here is quite some time,” he said.
A report commissioned by the State Government showed in 2013 hunting contributed $439 million to the Victorian economy.
RSPCA chief executive Liz Walker said she was appalled by the decision to allow a full 12-week duck hunting season.
Dr Walker said duck and waterfowl populations were already dangerously low, breeding was almost non-existent and the habitat had shrunk dramatically.
“Forecast weather conditions for the remainder of summer represent a dire risk to the already embattled species,” she said.