DUCK hunters across central Victoria are expected to turn out in huge numbers to the opening of the duck hunting season this weekend.
The number of ducks is forecast to be among the highest level in 30 years.
About $100 million would be generated this year from the three-month season and local areas Kerang, Lake Buloke and other wetlands were all set to benefit from a boost in visitors, Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said.
Mr Walsh said there would be a greater focus on security this year, with protesters warned to stay out of the water, and be within 25 metres of the shoreline between sundown and 10am.
The exclusion will apply to 227 public wetlands during the three-month duck season.
“Hunting is a legal activity and hunters should be able to do so safely,” Mr Walsh said. “Likewise, protesters equally have a right to protest, but must do so safely and legally.”
A recent court case where two protesters were ordered to pay costs totalling almost $10,000 was a reminder to protesters to adhere to the law, he said.
The Coalition Against Duck Shooting said rescuers would return to the wetlands in 2013.
The group has raised $10,000 to help the RSPCA, the Department of Primary Industries and Victoria Police to prosecute recreational duck shooters for cruelty offences.
Campaign director Laurie Levy said undercover inspectors and officers were needed on wetlands to stop people who made no effort to retrieve wounded birds.
The 2013 duck hunting season will open this Saturday, March 16, and runs until June 10.