In South Australia, it is currently legal for hunters to shoot and maim ducks during a designated season – this year’s season will run from 18 February to 25 June, extending to 13 August for the shooting of quail. RSPCA South Australia’s position is there can be no justification for killing and injuring ducks purely for ‘sport’.
Shooting ducks in flight with a shotgun will not kill every bird instantly. Shotgun cartridges create a spray of pellets, which often miss a bird’s vital organs. Some estimates suggest up to 20 per cent of ducks who are shot do not die instantly. Other estimates are significantly higher.
Birds who are wounded often suffer a slow death as they are either unable to feed or escape from predators.
This video shows duck hunting as it is – cruel and unnecessary. Ducks are defenceless and can suffer horrific injuries resulting in a slow painful death. WARNING: contains graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.
Three States have already banned recreational duck shooting; Western Australia in 1990, NSW in 1995, and Queensland in 2005. When Queensland Premier Peter Beatty announced the ban on duck shooting more than a decade ago, he said it was “not an appropriate activity in contemporary life”. Yet, this activity continues here in South Australia.
Permits require shooters to abide by rules that include bag limits of ten ducks per hunter per day, the passing of a waterfowl identification test, the use of non-toxic shots and compliance with the Code of Practice for the Humane Destruction of Birds by Shooting.
However these rules are meaningless unless officials are present in the field to enforce them on shooting days, and suffering is unavoidable because hunters use shotguns that spray clusters of 120 or more pellets at flying birds. Sometimes the bird being targeted is killed but often it falls injured to the ground.
Duck Hunting: what we want
The only way to protect birds from further suffering is to ban recreational duck hunting.
Duck hunting was outlawed in Western Australia in 1990, in New South Wales in 1995 and in Queensland in 2005.
The inclusion of a new regulation under the South Australian Animal Welfare Act would be a quick and easy way to make duck hunting illegal.
How you can help
Call or write to your local MP and ask them to support a ban on duck hunting in South Australia. Here is some suggested wording:
Duck hunting cannot be justified as it causes unnecessary suffering to thousands of ducks due to the injuries caused and subsequent slow painful death of those not killed outright. There is no place for this in a compassionate society. Duck hunting needs to be banned in South Australia and the sooner the better.