A number of concerned members of our community have contacted my office regarding opposition to duck hunting. My office has raised your concerns with the Minister who has provided me with the following advice:
An open season for duck (and quail) is only declared if environmental conditions permit. The decision is based on a set of open season conditions which include measures to minimise the impacts to animal welfare. Due to different environmental conditions, this year’s South Australian duck and quail hunting seasons will be restricted. There will be a total bag limit of 10 ducks per hunter per day, as it was in 2014. The Blue-winged Shoveler will once again be excluded from hunting as it remains a species of concern. In addition, the season is also closed for the Hardhead as data shows that populations are below levels that would support sustainable hunting.
In addition, there are numerous stringent regulatory conditions which apply to all hunters before they can participate in duck hunting. These include mandatory waterfowl identification tests, which assess a hunter’s competence at species identification in order to reduce the risk of endangering other species. They also require a proven knowledge of firearms legislation and compulsory use of non-toxic shot to minimise the off-target impacts to wildlife. All hunters are also required to comply with the Standards for the Humane Destruction of Birds by Shooting.
During open season, officers from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources regularly monitor hunting activities to ensure compliance with these conditions.
Failure to comply can result in harsh penalties. Under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 and the relevant Regulations, hunting without a permit, or hunting on land without permission from the landowner, can incur a penalty of up to $1,000. In addition, a penalty of $1,250 applies for being in possession of lead shot when hunting waterfowl.
The maximum penalty for the illegal taking or possession of protected fauna is $10,000, or two years imprisonment.
If you would like to discuss this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact my office.