A Victorian MP has used the start of duck hunting season to defend the sport, declaring it a family-friendly activity and an economic boon for rural towns.
Speaking on the way to a shooting weekend at Lake Boort, Daniel Young – one of two upper house MPs from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party – said duck hunting was a family tradition inherited from his great grandfather and an activity he would welcome his daughters doing when they were old enough to use a firearm.
“I love getting out, whether it’s in a lake or swamp, wading out into it, experiencing that,” Mr Young said.
“I really like going out to harvest some wild game, cook it and share it with my family – that's really rewarding.”
Asked whether he could holiday outdoors without shooting ducks, he said: “But the harvesting of the game animal, that’s the part I enjoy doing.”
Shooting a bird gave Mr Young a “sense of excitement”.
“There is, to a degree, a sense of respect for the animal.”
Duck hunting was no more cruel than killing livestock for their meat, he said.
Instead it was a source of tourism for rural towns during the annual three-month hunting season, he said, arguing wetlands tourism could coincide with hunting and maintaining other visitors were not perturbed by the shooters’ presence.
“You've got a loud minority and they're trying to speak for the silent majority,” he said of anti-hunting opponents.
He also dismissed opponents’ claims shooting put duck populations at risk, but conceded there was a “wounding rate” – the number of animals maimed but not killed by shooters.
“The important thing is we put a lot of education into hunters to reduce that, take more appropriate shots, emphasise that we collect all of those game animals.
Duck hunting season begins tomorrow.
The Game Management Authority would permit a full, 10-duck daily limit per hunter this season, the source of “hype” among shooters.
The GMA will also protect the blue-winged shoveller duck and close several hunting sites to shooters over the next three months.
Duck hunting continues to be contentious; an online poll of Bendigo Advertiser readers attracted almost 10,000 votes by this afternoon, with 55 per cent of people supporting a ban.