Last week there were plenty of outrage merchants around who suggested that an airborne Vegemite sandwich should be the subject of police investigation and that charges should be laid.

“We need an apology…disrespectful thugs… community service sentences are needed…where’s the respect…my father was in the army!!… where are the authorities?

On and on it went…

Well, today I’m calling for just that- respect, an apology and it’s about time the Victoria Police began laying charges against the mouth breathing thugs who descended on a Victorian wetland and shot the shit out of 800 ducks, many of them protected, and then just left them to rot in the water.

dead-ducks-Picture via Coalition Against Duck Shooting.

It’s reported that up to 150 hunters descended on Box Flat, near Boort this March during Victorian duck hunting season and went on a killing spree that broke a number of state laws.

According to details only now released by Game Victoria to Fairfax : “The compliance officers and police did no shoreline inspections on the Saturday. It was only when they visited on Sunday morning that they found the first of 147 dead freckled ducks, a rare species protected by Victorian law. The official tally, released to Fairfax Media by Game Victoria, included 561 pink-eared ducks and 136 grey teal ducks that hunters can legally shoot but illegally left behind.”

Well, someone knows who these bastards are!

It’s not enough for Game Victoria to be “embarrassed” and “appalled” by the indiscriminate slaughter. Word is that this new outfit – set up by Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh – has connections with the hunting lobby groups, Field and Game Victoria and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia.

What happened was unlawful. Where then, are the Victoria police? We’re told they’re on the job – how is the investigation going? Why isn’t their progress or otherwise being made public?

Above and beyond whether you think duck hunting should be sanctioned at all (and I don’t), this is a law enforcement issue. Are some Australians above the law?

Why isn’t there a dead duck flying squad with back up from forensic experts to take tyre imprints and ballistic tests; to question local business owners and land owners and then round up the culprits who have BROKEN THE LAW? How long will we wait for results?

Long time anti-duck hunting campaigner, Laurie Levy has called for the head of Game Victoria, Simon Troop to be sacked. Apparently he rejects that call. How is he able to fend off any responsibility for what happened?

Other pinheads in the shooting fraternity have suggested that it would have been protesters who shot the ducks themselves to “bring the shooters into disrepute”.

If that was indeed their cunning plan (as if), it worked!


4-9Protestors from Coalition Against Duck Shooting confront hunters.Picture: Emanuele Colombo

Right now, the entire shooting fraternity is in disrepute.  

I am one of many thousands of very angry Australians who is looking at all shooters and telling them, if they don’t want to be tarred with the same brush as these irresponsible idiots, they should come forward now and “dob in a mate”. Help the police with their inquiries.

I have friends who hunt feral pigs and foxes. C’mon fellas, you say you’re for the environment, show some backbone and help round up this rogue element who are dragging your fraternity through the mud. Surely you would at least agree that to shoot ducks and not even bother to take them home for the table is criminal.

Writing in the Independent Australian, bird lover Andrew Stafford documented the 915 waterfowl that were also killed this year in the opening weekend, many of them taking days to die.

“If an event such as this does not immediately call into question duck hunting’s future in Victoria, then the quaint notion of behaving “ethically” while killing wild birds may as well be struck out now, exposed as an absurdity and an oxymoron.

This was not a hunt. This was a free-for-all,” he said.

As NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell pushes ahead with his harebrained plan to introduce hunting into National Parks, he should be urging his counterpart Premier Denis Napthine to clean up this stinking mess. 

In the meantime, ducky, stick your confected outrage over a Vegemite sanger up your freckle!


PS: On the subject of recreational shooting in NSW Parks – here’s Tara Moss.


As requested by reader Carolyn, here’s a petition you can sign against duck hunting in Victoria, SA and Tasmania… or go to Coalition Against Duck Shooting and lend your support.

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  • Reply May 13, 2013

    Helen Errington

    This is outrageous! How did this happen. Who are the watchdogs on this issue, where were they? What mindless murderous idiots these cave dwelling knuckle draggers are. I hope someone brings them to account. And as for it being done by a protest group that just shows you what rogues they are. Please let us know if they are found and punished.

  • Reply May 13, 2013


    Bastards! That’s all I can articulate right now.
    Is there a petition somewhere we can sign Wendy?
    We cannot have hunting in the NSW National Parks. (Have already signed that one)

  • Reply May 13, 2013


    Wendy – thank you. This is the first detailed article about this slaughter since it was mentioned in the Press in March. I think more Australians would be aware of the cruel treatment of exported livestock than this. As for hunting in National Parks – I find this very scary, and I am surprised that more people are not outraged about it – or do families not picnic in National Parks much anymore?

  • Reply May 13, 2013

    Nel Matheson

    I haven’t heard anything in the news media about this at all. Where are the priorities of our journalists? I too have friends who are interested in shooting, but they are law-abiding shooters and would never do anything like this! So sad that a group of 150 people can bring down the reputation of so many others. Do the right thing and dob them in, please!

  • Reply May 13, 2013


    Good on you Wendy! – bloody disgrace!!

  • Reply May 13, 2013



    Two things I would like to mention. Firstly, a hunter tipped the authorities that this might happen. The issue lies therefore with game Victoria.

    Secondly, they have changed the type of ammunition permitted for duck hunting. The new bullets don’t kill the ducks as easily, permitting them to fly greater distances before falling. This makes it difficult to retrieve the bird.

    There is no excuse for killing more than you can eat/carry or endangered species. Please don’t tar all hunters with the same brush. We haven’t banned driving because a minority drink drive, drive recklessly or without a licence.

  • Reply May 13, 2013


    Thanks for the information about the ammunition, Naomi.

    How hunters and shooters get pleasure from this carnage is beyond me. I suspect they get their thrill from walking around with a gun more than anything.

    And what can a landowner do when a mob of hunters turn up on his property with guns. Not a damn thing.

    Scary stuff.

  • Reply May 13, 2013


    This barbaric blood sport must be banned in Victoria and nationally. Duck shooting is inherently cruel, with the spray of pellets causing extreme pain and suffering to many birds.

    These native birds are part of Australia’s wildlife heritage. They do not belong to the tiny minority of licensed duck shooters (only about 0.4% of all Victorians) or exist to be killed and wounded for their recreational pleasure.

    So far, not one shooter has been charged over the Box Flat bird massacre on the opening day (March 16) that occurred in Vic. Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh’s own electorate.

    Instead, Mr Walsh, is spending $8 million on a new pro-hunting body to manage and promote duck shooting and other recreational killing. The Victorian Premier, Dr Denis Napthine, is actually a former veterinarian and should also be ashamed.

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    Just to answer: “And what can a landowner do when a mob of hunters turn up on his property with guns. Not a damn thing.”

    In NSW, at least, It is illegal for anyone to enter your property without permission. Regardless of purpose, it’s still trespass.

    In order for recreational hunters to enter your property for the purpose of shooting, they MUST seek your permission and you MUST sign the bit of paper they present to you, and they MUST inform you when they plan to turn up with a gun.

    I’ve had a few friends/rellies ask if they can come and shoot on my acreage. I said no. When I need the feral animals removed (foxes, rabbits, hares, pigs, deer), _I_ will contact _you_ and ask for your presence. Or I’ll learn to shoot them myself, and take that responsibility on my own shoulders. (And take the edibles home to eat).

    As a landowner, I have a responsibility to keep the ferals under control, as they pose a threat to agriculture. However, that doesn’t extend to permitting indiscriminate use of guns on that property.

    I’m pretty confident of this, but would be interested to know if I am, in fact, wrong.

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    … when I say “must sign the bit of paper”, I meant “if, and only if, you approve of their presence”. That is, if you haven’t signed it, their presence is not legal.

    Just realised that it read like “you MUST sign their bit of paper if asked, regardless of whether you approve or not”. Which is not correct.

    Sorry for any confusion.

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    I cannot fathom why killing anything can be classified as either a sport or a fun way to spend your day. If people really need to get their thrills by shooting flying targets, they should be limited to clay pigeon shooting. This is the only kind of bird that anyone should legally be allowed to shoot.

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    Great to see you telling how it is Wendy!

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    Thanks for raising awareness of this abhorrent practice, Wendy. It defies belief that anyone can derive pleasure from the mindless slaughter of wildlife…I do find the fact that people enjoy shooting, killing living creatures disturbing. As Rhoda says, “Scary stuff”.

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    This barbaric practice needs to be outlawed, just like shooting in National Parks. Shooting of any animal is criminal unless there is a damn good reason for it. I always have maintained that anyone that can kill an animal would have no qualms about pulling the trigger on a human being……

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    Good onya Wendy. I love ducks~ except when I have stepped bare foot in their pooh. Only every now and then have I eaten bbq duck from a takeaway. Just extraordinary their migrations to wetlands~ which also need protection. Not sure about bullet comment above~ I wonder if the RSPCA has something to say about this cruel shooting? I had a friend who had a duck land in her suburban backyard~ poor thing did not have enough run up space to take off again. I would have like photos of the living ducks to show how beautiful they are. Meanwhile, I have not heard the expression “mouth-breather” as a pejorative before…(!)

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    Aah, humans hunting. Great sport. Should be encouraged. Box Flat, NSW National Parks, Port Arthur, Newtown.

    In our entire history humans have continuously killed. Don’t need to shoot for our food now, we have other ways of killing to do that. We still shoot to kill, but now it’s called ‘sport’.

    And we call ourselves the evolved species?

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    I too am appalled at this wanton blood sport. It’s not even as if these people need food. Killing things for fun and using shot that precludes a quick, clean kill. Well, in my book that’s torture. And those that enjoy killing for fun and inflicting as much pain and suffering over time are called serial killers when their victims have two legs and speak.

    Birds are emotional, complex little beings. As I write this my cockatoo is sitting on my right shoulder, showering me with kisses and occasionally plucking a strand of hair from my head and inserting it amongst her own feathers. in between grooming her nails. She likes to decorate herself with hair from people she loves. She screams if she gets hurt or is frightened by something. During breeding season when she goes into birdy labour and lays her [unfertilised] egg in my hand, then lays on me panting, almost unconscious from the effort and recovering like that for a few hours. Totally vulnerable and trusting. No award feels as great as her awarding me with that level of deep trust that I will protect her when she is so vulnerable.
    When I am sick, she crawls under the doona, spreading her wings either side over my feet , gently arranging my toes into a more pleasing position and then gently thrums her chest for ours. It was the single most soothing and deeply caring experience during my cancer treatment.

    When you experience one bird with so much personality, love, will power and presence packed into its tiny body and with a brain the size of a pea, you realise its not just her – its all birds. Terrorising small feathered creatures because you are bigger and have a weapon makes me weep at its wanton cruelty and pointlessness. Any ideas about how we can donate or help oppose this would be much appreciated. .

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    Apologies Wendy – I have followed your links to the anti duck hunting coalition, scrolled down the menu and found place for donations.

  • Reply May 14, 2013

    Lulu Malm

    I am also deeply outraged by this slaughter! Good on you Wendy, for alerting us to this. These murderous bastards should be penalised.

    Many years ago, my partner and I rented a farmhouse on a property in Duffy’s Forest. I was eight and a half months pregnant when I arrived home from shopping and found a guy shooting ‘my’ beautiful wild ducks on the dam. Dropped the shopping, held up my baby-belly, and raced screaming like a banshee down the paddock towards this guy who turned the rifle on me. I still charged at him, and he dropped the gun and fled. I raced into the dam and pulled eight poor floundering darlings out of the water … they died in my lap. As I sat there crying, the owner’s wife came out and admitted she’d been hiding under the bad. She’d allowed him to “test her husband’s rifle”. She gave me the guy’s address. I rang the police, knowing it was illegal to use a firearm on a private property.

    I put the ducks into a cardboard box and went to pay him a visit (still wet and muddy). His wife answered the door and wasn’t too pleased to know that the police were joining me there. The bastard was charged. My son was born a couple of days later.

    I will definitely lend my support to stop this mindless killing!

  • Reply May 14, 2013


    Hear hear!!

  • Reply May 15, 2013


    Oh Lulu, I had to laugh sorry. I guess if you don’t laugh you cry. How wonderful of you to front this dropkick like you did. Can honestly say I wouldn’t have. Am fearful of bullets. But would have rung the police. For sure and for certain.

    These shooters are pretend men and gutless. They let loose on ducks for heaven’s sake. Where’s the decency in that.

  • Reply May 15, 2013


    If they were real “sporting hunters”, they would use a camera. Now, there’s a challenge!

  • Reply May 15, 2013


    Us humans have lived alongside birds for millennia. Very touched by stories here on our relationships with birds. I heard a beautiful piece by Eric McCrumb, a W.A. naturalist explaining and reproducing the different calls of ravens on local breakfast ABC radio(720) a few weeks ago. Look, listen and learn people.. treasure what is in your own front or backyard.

  • Reply May 15, 2013


    Disgusting, inhumane and callous treatment. I’d like to do a reverse Elmer Fudd and ping one up their behinds. They could then feel what these creatures go through.

  • Reply May 16, 2013


    Thanks, Wendy Harmer.
    It’s very hard for animals, nature and us, sharing this jewel of a planet with mindless, psychopathic thugs.

  • Reply May 22, 2013


    The freckled duck is not rare. Its listed as ‘Least concern’ on the UICN red list. Just because CADS say its rare, doesnt mean they are telling the truth. Of course CADS had armed protestors willing to attend shooting locations. Laurie Levy openly admits that his supporters were prepared to break the law to achieve their goal. So heres an alternative hypothesis. CADS descended on the (officially) unattended, unmonitored Box Flats, and chose to make martyrs of several hundred birds to further their cause. It doesnt take a rocket surgeon to understand that that is just as plausible a situation as a rogue hunter.

    • Reply May 22, 2013

      Wendy Harmer

      Yes, and you are about as far from being a “rocket surgeon” as anyone who has ever graced this site.

  • Reply November 5, 2013


    Coco and Lulu: thank you for your stories about our precious birds. —- leigh: see for instance Parks Victoria online – the Freckled Duck is indeed “one of the world’s rarest waterfowl”. In Victoria, it is also listed as ‘threatened’ and classified as ‘endangered’. It is absurd to suggest that only one shooter was responsible for killing so many birds. Your hypothesis that ‘armed protestors’ shot these birds shows a total lack of understanding of people’s motivations in helping to rescue wounded birds and expose the cruelty of an outdated blood sport.

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