Call to ban shooters around Lake Colac

Duck season ends on June 12.

A Colac resident who has woken at dawn to sound of gunshots over the past month is calling on the State Government to permanently ban duck hunting at Lake Colac.

Adam Fry, a passionate birdwatcher who lives close to the lake, said he couldn’t understand why duck hunting was permitted at Colac’s lake while bans were in place at Lake Corangamite and other neighbouring lakes.

He said Lake Colac was home to the freckled duck, which was among the world’s rarest waterbirds, and the only way to protect this protected species was to introduce a permanent hunting ban at the lake.

Mr Fry said there were less than 1700 freckled ducks left in the wild with numbers expected to continue dropping, but birdwatchers had identified 120 of the rare ducks at Lake Colac.

He said people had informed the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Game Management Authority about the presence of a significant number of freckled ducks at the lake but “there has been no end to the shooting”.

“Sometimes duck season’s cancelled at Lake Colac but I want to see it permanently shut down at Lake Colac,” Mr Fry said.

“It’s also hard to tell the difference between a black duck, a grey teal and a freckled duck when they’re in flight,” Mr Fry said, explaining it would be easy for hunters to mistake a freckled duck for a more common duck.

He said he had taken photographs of flocks of ducks which looked like one species but there were actually two or more species flying together.

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

Buy the Colac Herald print edition, which has full coverage of all the region’s news and sport. Click here to find out where to buy a copy

25 Responses to “Call to ban shooters around Lake Colac”

  1. Kerrie

    There are only 26,000 odd duck shooters Circa 0.04/: of the population. An outdated cruel practise like this is still enjoyed by very few. Conversely, 655 Million dollars a year and 6400 jobs are attributed to Philip island – nature tourism and this is set to grow. Nature tourism – in particular bird watching, is one of the fastest growing past times in the world. Victoria needs to get on it. Time our MPs put their money where there mouths are, ceased animal cruelty and backed rural towns economies.

    Reply
  2. Nevil

    Keeping our native birds alive well earn more money in increased tourism dollar than the revenue the state government is currently receiving from the 60,000 gun licences that are currently being issued every year!

    Reply
  3. paul

    Time to ban blood sports, open seasons are barbaric and cruel

    Reply
  4. Jim

    You all need to take a reality pill. Deal with the facts. Conservation status varies depending on what scale you look at it. IUCN list is international. EPBC Act conservation status is national and FFG Act listing is state. A species can have a different status based on what scale you view it from. At the state level Freckled Duck are threatened in Victoria because Victoria is at the fringe of their normal distribution range and relatively low numbers compared to other states. At the larger scales, they are viewed as more secure, because of their normal wider distribution and higher population numbers.

    Reply
  5. karen

    Its not just about the fact local residents near all these waterways have to put up with living in Beirut for three months dawn to dusk and then are left with cleaning up the broken bottles and empty cartridges, nor the fact that for these three months only shooters (less than 0.04% of the population) have exclusive rights to the shores – (so they can massacre what they like in peace?)- nor the fact that every year countless non target and threatened species are shot and that the number of native waterbirds is 74% down – the lowest ever in 34 years. Its about the proven extreme suffering caused to defenceless native waterbirds. There is no place in todays world for this cruelty. Anyone who calls the practise of falsely luring an unsuspecting defenceless animal to a place where it will be blown apart by shotgun pellets, “sport”, is mentally sick. There is no skill in this and nothing to be proud of. People who live near these waterways and pay rates to ensure the health of them, want the madness stopped – as do 87% of Victorians who abhor any form of animal cruelty. Our waterways are stunning and should be used for promoting the lucrative and growing trend of nature tourism – frankly, what towns like Colac desperately need.

    Reply
  6. Phil Alexander

    I’m just amazed at the courage of duck shooters. Here they are putting their lives on the line protecting society from those dangerous ducks who have the temerity to attempt to live in our waterways.

    Reply
  7. Paul

    For the unbiased evidence on the species true abundance and population size and trend see
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22679836/0

    The internationally recognised trend is ‘fluctuating population’ and the status has improved from “endangered” in 1988 to “least concern” (i.e. not threatened) since 2004.

    Victoria is on the southern margin of the species distribution. Hunting is not considered a threat to the species.

    So the GMA and Birds Australia should update their status for this species.

    Reply
    • Bill

      Paul, the international threatened species ratings list adult birds at less than 8,000. The document you linked to says:
      ———————————————
      Major treats: During times of inland drought, when found closer to the coast, birds are at risk of being misidentified as game species and shot by duck-hunters.
      ———————————————
      So, no the GMA and Birds Australia don’t need to update their status on this species. If hunting was allowed, it would soon be extinct or extremely threatened.
      The only reason it is considered as stable is because it is a protected species!

      Reply
      • Paul

        Adam…the population estimate is 7300-17000 adults. Given the recent wet condutions its lijely to be at the high end of tgat range now. As for the quote about misidentification rusk, you are being selective (read “biased”) again as the quote continues, ” Although no correlation between S. naevosa abundance and hunting effort has yet been identified”

        Reply
        • Bill

          Paul, your comments about bias are laughable. Here we have the law, that clearly states it is illegal to shoot freckled duck in Victoria; we have the duck listed as endangered and listed in the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act; our neighbour states SA and NSW have the species listed as vulnerable.
          Then you post that the IUCN has listed them as least concern on a global scale and ignore that it states the “Major Threat” as illegal shooting. You continue the clutching at straws by saying it says there is no correlation with decline and illegal shooting yet to be identified.
          I don’t think you really get what you are reading: it says that haven’t got the numbers on illegal shooting so they can’t draw a correlation there yet. Now unless we waste vast amounts of tax payer dollars chasing every duck shooter, we will probably *never* have those exact figures. We know that they are being illegally shot, but we can only guess numbers based on the discarded carcasses that volunteers find .
          If you bothered to read the document properly, you will see it says the population is variable, but their estimates are vary wild with a factor of 2.5 or more. They also clearly say they don’t have the statistics to say there is a clear decline or not of mature adults birds (“unknown”)

          So yes Paul, there are lots of unknowns. What is known is the current law, the current rules under which hunters are allowed to hunt. If hunters are in denial or breach of those laws then there’s a serious problem. That we know of so many being killed on the opening day alone, shows there is a real problem.

          People in denial of the facts just highlights that the situation is out of control.

          Reply
  8. Adam

    The number should read 17,000, which is from the 2016 Birdlife International survey. That’s for the whole country. Not very many if you ask me. Some of you pro-Duck Shooters have some stupid comments. Buy earmuffs or wake up early or have I passed the test? Why should I need an alarm or wear earmuffs to avoid being woken by gunshots? This is my home and some mornings when I’m not workling or going birdwatching I’d like to sleep in. I live in town and I’m sure there are a lot of other light sleepers like myself around here. Have I passed the test? Why would I even sit the test? Check the picture, do they look like Freckled Ducks to you?

    Reply
  9. Adam

    I did say law abiding duck hunters!!! Read what is put in front of you Elenor!!!! Yep there are some around that spoil it, trust me, we are no happier than you when someone does the wrong thing and tarnishes the rest of the good hunters out there!

    Reply
    • Eleanor

      There is no law that states shooters have to eat what they kill. In fact, many shooters go on about how bad some species taste and there is practically no meat on the smaller birds.

      Reply
  10. Helen Round

    How awful for Mr Fry to have to regularly be woken to the sound of the birds he loves and enjoys being shot and killed and not being able to do a thing about it. I am sure Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford would not enjoy this kind of injustice and torture for 12 weeks a year. The vast majority of Victorians do not support duck shooting and do not like animal cruelty yet the Victorian Labor Party listens only to those who do. If the Vic ALP were truly serious about tackling crime and violence in our community, they would not encourage increased gun ownership and violence towards native animals.
    Those who have actually witnessed the activities of duck shooters can attest to the cruelty, carnage, waste and unsustainabilty that duck shooting is and how little income it generates for rural communities. Country Victorians deserve better than lip service and discredited reports that falsely inflate the economic “benefits” of hunting. We want innovative thinking and policies instead of the same old, same old that isn’t working and it’s time for Daniel Andrews and Jaala Pulford to come down out of their ivory towers and to start listening to the people.

    Reply
  11. Eleanor

    For a fact check on shooter comments please see the BirdLife Australia conservation status for the freckled duck. http://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/freckled-duck

    Unlike one shooter’s claim, the freckled duck is not present in QLD and is endangered in Vic. Are duck shooters seriously contesting that it is ok to extirpate the species in Victoria?

    As for the Waterfowl Identification Test that shooters are required to take, it is ridiculously easy and not fit-for-purpose. It shows single species, up close and in daylight – none of which reflect the realities of duck shooting. It is multiple choice and only 75% is needed to pass. It’s better than nothing, but that’s about it.

    Reply
  12. Eleanor

    I have personally seen shot freckled ducks that were found stashed under rocks at Lake Colac, not to mention countless other freckled ducks and other protected species at wetlands across Victoria.

    Thank you to Adam Fry for speaking out on behalf of native waterbirds, all of which are in long term decline in eastern Australia according to studies from the UNSW Centre for Ecosystem Science. To the Adam that commented – you seriously think people don’t just shoot for fun? Have a look at what happened at the Kerang Marshes this year, just for one glaring example.

    Reply
  13. Paul

    Mr Fry is sadly mistaken. He is confusing numbers of Freckled ducks counted in a survey with the number in the population. Freckled ducks are listed as the same conservation-status (least concern) as many species most people accept as “common” such as Wood ducks , black ducks etc. As a licenced duck shooter I have to pass a test to identify birds in flight, including freckled ducks. Has Mr Fry passed the test? Does he even know what he is looking at?

    Reply
  14. Ferrari

    If there were only 1700 freckled ducks left in the world then they would already be protected, would they not? Only bogans shoot and eat their kill anyway… I say ban it..

    Reply
  15. Terry McCrickard

    Freckle duck r native to Queensland where they r in vast numbers and lake Colac is certainly not the home of them here. Mr Fry can bird watch along the south shore of the lake where hunting is banned. I would like to know the areas on Lake Corangamite where hunting is banned. Most of the shooters l know also control vermin. Hunting is that to me know enjoy it and eat what l shoot. Maybe Mr Fry could either move or purchase some ear muff. Would love to debate this with him face to face anytime.

    Reply
    • Bill

      Terry, suggest you read up on freckled duck. See the gma site or http://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/freckled-duck

      Very disappointing to see some duck hunters display such poor knowledge of the freckled duck especially when there’s been local newspaper reports of freckled ducks illegally shot on the lake in recent years.

      Reply
  16. Adam

    So Robert, you believe that we don’t eat what we shoot. Not 1 law abiding duck shooter would bother putting in the effort that we do to just go shoot ducks and leave them. Not to many places around Colac sell wild duck.

    Reply
  17. Robert

    60 years ago people shot ducks for food, the price of duck and chicken was very expensive years ago and now all that has changed and is very cheap to buy duck meat, much cheaper than buying bullets and guns, people who shoot ducks now days are not doing it for a food source they do it because they enjoy to kill wildlife, if they want to shoot anything how about they target our fox and rabbit problem that we have, it is time we banned it

    Reply
    • Trav

      Hi Robert
      The argument could also be made that vegetables are cheaper to buy now days so no one should grow their own. I like to grow my own even though it costs me more than buying as fresh is always better, I also like to eat duck that I have made the effort to hunt & prepare myself.

      Reply
  18. Brian

    What say you set your alarm an hour earlier that way you will be awake when the noise starts

    Reply

Leave a Reply