During the upcoming duck hunting season, members of the public will be blocked from going near Lake Buloke and other wetland areas until 10am.
During the three-month season, non-hunters will not be allowed within 25 metres of the shoreline under new state government provisions.
Environmentalists say the restrictions will deny the majority of the public access to wetlands in favour of a small minority of shooters.
Goulburn Valley Environment Group president John Pettigrew said the rules were undemocratic.
“Duck shooters make up only 0.4 per cent of Victoria’s population and certainly don’t have support for exclusive prime time access to these public wetlands for 25 per cent of the year,” he said.
The state government brought in the new laws in a bid to head off clashes between animal rights protesters and hunters.
Duck hunter John Cowan McCartney was charged with assaulting a female protester at Lake Buloke on the opening weekend of the 2012 duck hunting season.
He was issued with a $750 fine in Ballarat Magistrates Court.
Anti-duck hunting activist Laurie Levy said the Coalition Against Duck Shooting would again be out in force to protest against acts of cruelty to native waterbirds.
He said the group had raised $10,000 to help authorities monitor and prosecute shooters.
The 12-week duck hunting season, beginning on Saturday March 16, will be one of the biggest in 30 years because of above-average rainfall, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said.