GROUPS on both sides of the duck hunting debate say the government's decision to alter the duck hunting season is merely a "political compromise".
The state government announced on Wednesday the season would start two months later than previous years and there would be a daily bag limit of three game ducks a day - down from last year's limit of five ducks.
Field and Game Australia have labelled the government's decision "completely unjustified" and a "political compromise".
Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting Inc spokesperson Kerrie Allen echoed those words.
"I'd have to agree that this is a political compromise," she said. "It's cowardly and disappointing. All it has done is disappointed both sides.
"We hoped the Premier would make the right decision. Poll after poll shows Victorians want to ban duck shooting. The Premier is not listening to them."
Jackass Flat resident Julie Sloan said she was concerned Victoria was falling behind other states that had already banned duck hunting.
"This is a cop-out decision," Ms Sloan said. "It's not in line with the government's own action plans on animals and wildlife.
"The changes are dismissive of community sentiment. I can't understand the basis of why this decision was made."
Ms Allen said along with the impact to wildlife, duck hunting was also creating noise pollution in regional and rural communities, as well as putting those residents at risk.
"Families, in some cases, live within 30 metres of where people are hunting ducks," she said. "That's quite scary to children and animals. So safety is a massive concern.
"There are also particularly small rural towns who are desperate for tourism but duck shooting is not helping that. In fact, it's hindering that."
Ms Allen said the organisation had called on the Victorian government to undertake risk assessment, economic, and social impact studies to show how the practice was affecting rural communities.
A government spokesperson said the duck hunting season would provide a "much-needed boost" to local communities in many parts of regional Victoria.
The Game Management Authority and partner agencies like Victoria Police would also patrol public land and private properties to ensure hunters complied with the law.
Field and Game Bendigo branch vice president Peter McKenzie said hunters in the central Victorian region were compliant with the regulations.
"There are isolated incidents," Mr McKenzie said. "There has been a lot of pressure from people who live close to legislated state-run reserves.
"It's a bit like living near a runway at an airport and complaining about the planes.
"I think people need to understand that most people are mature and generally speaking, most people do not do the wrong thing."
Mr McKenzie said the changes to this year's duck hunting season were unnecessary.
"This is very disappointing," he said. "We do see it as a political decision.
"While we have had a dry period, it hasn't significantly impacted on the number of ducks in Victoria. We have argued for a bag limit of six birds and a normal hunting season, so we're disappointed."
The state government said the 2020 arrangements were based on analysis of habitat and waterbird surveys run across eastern Australia and other data relating to game duck abundance, habitat distribution and climate.