THE first shot has been fired in the battle between Victoria's 26,000 registered duck hunters and Cairn Curran reservoir residents.
Residents have called for the cancellation of the 2015 duck hunting season, which will open March 21 and run for 12 weeks.
A petition circulating in Maldon to ban the sport has gathered several hundred signatures. Duck hunting is legal in Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.
One resident, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal by hunters, said shooters left dead and dying ducks littered around the reservoir.
"I am confronted by a constant barrage of gunfire, 150 yards from my house," he said.
The resident said he had been "confronted aggressively" by shooters in the past.
Other residents reported having dead ducks stuffed in their mailboxes after speaking out.
Another resident said shooters had come onto her property.
"It's very unnerving. It's at the point where you can't go and do anything by the water because it's terrifying for the kids; all these people running around with guns."
A third resident described the area as "a war zone" during duck season.
"There's shot and body parts and we're the ones left to clean up the mess of blood and guts and the buckets and buckets of rubbish they leave," she said.
She said the area should be turned into a wildlife reserve, which would bring tourist dollars to the area.
A spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said duck hunting contributed $106 million each year to the Victorian economy.
The spokeswoman said plain clothed government officers would carry out operations to ensure compliance with shooting regulations.
Duck bag limits have been reduced this year in response to drier conditions and lower bird numbers.
RSPCA Victoria chief executive officer Dr Liz Walker called for the cancellation of the 2015 duck shooting season.
"In 2015, the environmental conditions are dire with wetlands drying out, duck numbers are in severe decline and at an historical low level of breeding," she said.
"Overall conditions are virtually identical to those in 2008 which resulted in the cancellation of that season."
Dr Walker said close to 450,000 ducks were killed during the 2014 season.
Mount Alexander Shire councillors did not return calls.