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Duck Shooting

...killing for recreation

Action Alert - The duck killing season has ended for another year. Help us to make this the last open killing season in Tasmania.

At the close of the 2010 season we handed a 3000 signature petition to the Greens to be presented in Parliament. Please write to your local member and ask them to support a motion to ban duck shooting. You can also:

  • Write to the Minister and tell him to stop duck shooting in Tasmania now.
  • Write to your local newspaper editor and your local member of parliament and express your disgust for this killing.
  • Continue gathering signatures on our petition so we can keep presenting them to remind our Government that we want an end to duck shooting.

Pacific Black Duck mother and chicksWhen killing is called "sport"

For three months of every year licensed shooters are permitted to make their way onto beautiful State public wetlands (and private wetlands) in Tasmania and shoot native ducks. Shoot dead or not … collect, cook and eat.. or not. It's all sport. Allegedly.

This may not be your kind of sport - it's not the way most Australians think of sport. The ACT has never considered this sport, it has never been legal there. It's not the way WA thinks of sport - it was banned there in 1990. Nor is it the way NSW thinks of sport, it was banned there in 1995. Queensland declared it a non-sport when they announced their permanent ban on November 1st 2006. SA and Victoria cancelled both the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Tassie?- no mate- she'll be apples, fire away.

.In spite of Ramsar status:

The Ramsar treaty was signed in 1971 when wetlands of International Importance were listed and acknowledged by 144 international signatories (including Australia). Ten of the Australian sites are in Tasmania. Until 2003, the duckshoot opened over five of these internationally important sites. Since then ONE of these sites has been closed to duck shooting. The shoot over Little Waterhouse Lake was prohibited in recognition of its Ramsar status. We will continue to push for a ban over the other four sites. To date the government hasn't acknowledged the impropriety.

In spite of endangered species, drought and poaching.

Current target species are black ducks, chestnut teal, grey teal, mountain ducks and wood ducks, and bag limits are specified. BUT other species, some protected, share these habitats and are at risk of accidental or deliberate shooting. Amongst these: blue winged shoveler, white-eyed duck, musk duck, freckled duck, pink eared duck, blue billed duck and plumed tree duck. We are assured that shooters are required to sit a wildlife identification test to ensure there is NO mistake in identifying target ducks, but whilst the pass rate is not required to be 100% and whilst every season turns up taking of non-target species, exceeding of bag limits and unlicensed shooting we can see that not all gun handlers do or can follow the rules. No small point for concern.

Further, in seasons where much of Australia has experienced serious drought and banned shooting, Tasmania, ignoring the plight of the ducks, has blithely increased the numbers of target species and stood firmly by its whole 3 month season. It happened in 2007 (minus 2 weeks, as a token gesture to the ducks), when other states recognised the dire situation for waterbirds and called moratoria. Only Tasmania held an open season on native ducks, despite experts like Professor Richard Kingsford warning that conditions were very serious for many species. It happened again in 2008, and in 2009. Despite recent rains, many native duck species are still experiencing hard times and yet another duck shooting season happening, and another is planned for 2012 unless we can harass, embarass, and generally annoy the Minister into changing his mind. It can be done, and we need your help (see the AACT Now box below).

In spite of cruelty

Shooters may only use shotguns to shoot at ducks. Each shot sends a spray of pellets towards the target, the spray disperses and pellets hitting the targeted duck may kill it. Most often they only wound it. If badly injured it will fall suddenly and land heavily in the water, if the injury is lesser it may fly on for some distance. Statistics show that shooters nearly always need multiple shots to kill outright, up to ten shots, or they may wring the birds neck. For every duck killed and retreived, another may escape wounded to die later from injuries, or starvation. See the Animals Australia website for details of scientific research on the wounding rates for ducks. This cruelty alone should be enough to have duck shooting relegated to history as another unfortunate chapter in human evolution.

Where we are up to in Tasmania:

The dwindling and ageing population of duck shooters in Tasmania enjoy both the permissive legislation AND THE COMPANY of (members of) our government and public servants. Meanwhile popular opinion favours a ban.

AACT is working to secure this ban through public education, lobbying and protest. We depend on people such as yourself to spread the word about the horror of duck shooting.

For over seven years, and particularly the past few years, we saw evidence of one of the worst drought periods in 25 years, and the lowest waterbird numbers recorded in eastern Australia. South Australia and Victoria cancelled duck seasons for 2007 and 2008 as a result. Many ducks and other waterbirds moved to Tasmania to seek refuge and have added stress with the invasion of shooters during open season.

In 2006 the shooters reported killing over 39,000 native ducks in Tasmania. In 2007, they reckoned on claiming the lives of nearly 35,000 native ducks, and about the same each year since. How many were left to die?  Thousands presumably.

Now that the kiling season is on again in 2013, we need your help to ensure the damage is minimised.  Write to the Minister now and ask him to end duck shooting in Tasmania, permanently. And join the rescue team who will be doing the real work of stopping ducks being shot.


AACT protesters at Moulting Lagoon

AACT duck rescuers at Moulting Lagoon


You can help make every day nice weather for ducks!

Join the Duck Rescue Team:

Email info@aact.org.au or phone 0408 970 359 to find out more about getting involved.

Write to:

Brian Wightman
Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage
Email: brian.wightman@parliament.tas.gov.au
Parliament House
Hobart Tas 7000

Some points to note in your letter:

  • Tasmania continues to have open duck shooting seasons despite the effect of extended periods of drought, continued habitat destructino, and scientific reports and advice to the contrary.
  • Civilised society knows the cruelty that is duck-shooting, and Tasmanians are ashamed of this kill.
  • Ban the duck shoot immediately in line with the legislation of ACT, WA, NSW and Queensland.
  • Legislate to protect our wetlands and the birds who live there.

To make things easier you can use our form letter to the Minister if you prefer not to write your own.

Write to:

  • The Editor of your local newspaper, and
  • Your local member of parliament
Download our "Ban duck-shooting" petition, get it signed and return it to us.

For more information on the cruelty of duck shooting, visit the Coalition Against Duck Shooting (Victoria) website or the native ducks page on the Animal Australia website. There is a good blog by Geoff Russell titled Shooting Ducks in 2011.

Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania

Email: info@aact.org.au Tel: 0408 970 359

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