I read with interest the letter (Bendigo Advertiser May 18) criticising the Premier Dan Andrews for allowing duck hunting on public wetlands to take place this year under restricted conditions.
Ms Sloan makes a number of unsubstantiated assertions that reflect the largely emotional response that some people have to the practice of hunting for special foods.
I agree it is not a sport, as is asserted - it does not feature in the Olympic Games.
It is a method of acquiring special food that cannot be gained any other way - they do not sell wild duck in supermarkets.
Duck is delicious to many people, and they like to know that the food is fresh and the circumstances under which it was obtained. (Unlike supermarkets).
I would also question the assertion that the electorate (all? many? Or a specific electorate?) is universally opposed to duck hunting, or that all communities have an anti-duck hunting sentiment.
The group "Regional Victorians against duck hunting" has never released its membership numbers and probably never will.
Perhaps the businesses of Donald and Kerang are among those regional persons who are pleading for duck hunters (identified as visitors and tourists by Ms Sloan) to stay away?
This is very doubtful as they are aware of the economic benefits of hunting activities.
The number of members of FGA and SSAA and the presence of so many gun clubs in regional Victoria indicates there are many enthusiastic shooters, of which a significant proportion are also duck hunters.
The assertion that the population of native ducks and waterbirds is already decimated is not borne out by any evidence of which I am aware. Ducks fly away from areas with unsuitable habitat.
Hunters will not be silly enough to hunt where there are no ducks, nor will they venture into areas where wetlands and duck numbers have been affected by bushfires.
FGA has purchased and is restoring wetlands that have been allowed to deteriorate, and they also build nesting boxes for wetlands to assist in breeding programs.
There is also evidence ducks seek refuge during the hunting season. (Australian Wildlife Research, v.9, no.3, 1982).
You only have to look at the lakes within the Bendigo urban area during the season to see that duck numbers increase significantly.
I fully support Mr Andrews and his decision on duck hunting, and on many other issues he is currently dealing. All going well, duck will be on the menu at our home in the near future.