DESPITE new laws for duck shooters this season, widespread non-compliance was witnessed across the state, according to Regional Victorians Against Duck Shooting.
The group said illegal campers blatantly disregarded no camping signs, fires were lit during total fire ban, toxic shot was used, shots were fired from moving boats and non game species shot with remains of animals left strewn across the waterways for other recreational users to find.
“This was just the first day of the three month long season,” spokesperson Kerrie Allen said
‘‘When shooters continually display low regard for laws, how can we know our endangered birdlife is safe?
“How can we give our children assurance they and their animals are safe? It only takes one incident of a camp fire gone wrong or a wayward individual with a gun for there to be a catastrophic outcome"
Ms Allen said there were several questions being asked about the viability of duck shooting and it’s impact on other recreational waterway users, especially over the Easter break.
‘‘How can other recreational users, let alone money generating tourists possibly get enjoyment out of these areas over the shooting?” she said.
“Why are a handful of duck shooters allowed to take over our waterways for three months, particularly when dangerous disrespect for laws, animals and community is continually shown?”
“It is likely the illegal incidents reported this weekend are just the tip of the iceberg as the vast majority of waterways where shooting occurs are not monitored and see no witnesses.”
Ms Allen said the shooting should be halted immediately, before someone gets hurt or farmer’s livelihoods are wiped out by recklessly lit campfires.
“Duck shooting controls are just not working. It’s time we embraced a better way for our waterways,” she said.
“The Pegasus Report (a report about illegal hunting) should have been enough to convince the state government to follow other state leads and ban duck shooting.
"Other state’s rural towns aren’t dying economically because of a lack of duck shooting.
“According to an Auditor General’s report followed by SGS Economics and Planning analysis, they’re doing better than ours".