Wetland closures for hunt opening

CHANGES: Duck hunting will not start around dawn as in previous years. The official starting time will be 9am tomorrow.

CHANGES: Duck hunting will not start around dawn as in previous years. The official starting time will be 9am tomorrow.

A NUMBER of district wetlands will be closed to hunting this weekend.

The Game Management Authority has announced that nine wetlands will be closed with restrictions applying to another four.

The following wetlands or parts of wetlands will be closed from the start of the 2018 season to protect or provide refuge for significant numbers of threatened birds:

• Koorangie State Game Reserve (First, Second and Third Marsh and Lake Bael Bael near Kerang) will be closed to hunting due to the large number of Freckled Duck and Blue-billed Duck.

Alternate nearby duck hunting areas include: Lake Elizabeth, Racecourse Lake, Cullen's Lake and Lake Charm.

• Hird Swamp State Game Reserve (near Kerang) will be closed on the western side only over the opening weekend only to minimise disturbances to Australasian Bittern. 

An alternate nearby duck hunting area: Gunbower Creek.

• As in previous years, Kow Swamp, near Gunbower, and Reedy Lakes (Reedy, Middle and Third Lake) at Kerang will be closed for the entire season to reinforce their status as wildlife sanctuaries where hunting is prohibited.

Game Management Authority chief executive officer, Greg Hyams said closing wetlands during duck season ensures that threatened species are protected.

"Government officials will monitor the closed wetlands throughout the season. If the reason for the closure no longer exists, they will be recommended to be reopened for hunting," he said.

"The future of duck hunting depends on the actions of hunters, so it is part of our shared responsibility to ensure that hunting in Victoria is conducted respectfully and responsibly."

Victoria's 2018 duck season opens on Saturday and closes on Monday, June 11.

The bag limit is 10 birds per person per day and the hunting of the Blue-winged Shoveler is prohibited in 2018 due to the continued low numbers of the species.

Hunting will start at 9am across the State tomorrow and 8am on Sunday. New regulations requiring immediate recovery of downed birds and the minimum salvage of duck breast meat have been introduced.

For more detailed information on the wetland closures please visit www.gma.vic.gov.au

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