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Duck hunting: no justification for this barbaric ‘sport’

RSPCA South Australia needs your help to ask South Australian politicians not to duck for cover when it comes to tackling the issue of duck hunting. Tell them you want duck hunting banned.

In South Australia, it is currently legal for hunters to shoot and maim ducks during a designated season. RSPCA South Australia’s position is there can be no justification for killing and injuring ducks purely for ‘sport’.

WARNING: Below video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.
The Issues

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.1

Birds who are wounded often suffer a slow death as they are either unable to feed or escape from predators.

Duck hunting may contravene the Animal Welfare Act 1985
Based on the knowledge duck hunting using shotguns leads to serious harm to ducks, it is possible those currently involved in this activity are in breach of the South AustraliaAnimal Welfare Act 1985. Under Section 13(1) of the act, ‘A person may be guilty of aggravated ill treatment where serious harm or death results and the person intends or is reckless as to that consequence.’

Gathering sufficient evidence to prosecute an individual under the existing legislation is extremely difficult. The unpredictable nature of duck hunting in South Australia (when and where people go hunting) means monitoring by government officers is minimal.

Ministerial reluctance to introduce mandatory reporting by duck hunters
Less than seven per cent of shooters typically submit duck hunting reports at the end of every season.

Consecutive government ministers have refused to enforce mandatory reporting for duck hunters at the end of hunting season. There has not been a summary of hunting activities compiled for the past two years.

This means there is no recent data about the number of ducks killed (or the number of ducks maimed) or the efforts made by hunters to minimise suffering.

Is duck hunting out of step with modern social values?
RSPCA South Australia is concerned about the rise2 in the number of children who have received permits for the 2014 duck hunting season. We are disappointed the state government continues to allow children as young as 14 years old to be exposed to duck hunting.

Duck Hunting: what we want

The only way to protect birds from further suffering is to ban recreational duck hunting
The Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Conservation announced in December last year that the 2014 duck hunting season will go ahead. The season opened on 14 February and will run until 28 June.

At the very least, RSPCA South Australia believes an enquiry into duck hunting needs to be established. This would allow constructive debate between the state’s decision makers about whether duck hunting should continue.

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.

Duck Hunting: what you can do to save our ducks

Use the form on this page to send a message to the South Australian Government. You can simply copy the below suggestions into the form, enter your name and email address and hit submit.

Here’s how:

  1. Add a subject to the form – our suggestion: Duck hunting: no justification for this cruel ‘sport’
  2. Add a message to the form – our suggestion: Dear Minister Hunter, 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. You have the power to make this happen! By expressing your concerns, you can raise this issue within political circles to counteract government inertia.
  3. Enter your name and email address.
  4. Submit

Speak up to save our ducks

More information about duck hunting
Media Releases

MEDIA STATEMENT – Duck Hunting – Another Year of Cruelty

MEDIA STATEMENT – Ducks to the slaughter – RSPCA South Australia February 2015

MEDIA STATEMENT – Sad Anniversary for SA Ducks December 2014


1 “What are the wounding rates associated with duck hunting?” Last updated 21 March 2013.

2 Hunting permits for children rose from 26 in 2012 to 42 in 2013. From the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) Duck and Quail Hunting Permit Summary 2012 and 2013.