Lake Elizabeth State Game Reserve reopened to hunters today.
The State Game Reserve was closed on the eve of Victoria's duck season due to the presence of threatened Blue-billed Ducks. With regular monitoring and surveying being performed throughout the season, the circumstances and populations at Lake Elizabeth have changed so that it may now be opened for hunting. With just four weeks of the Victorian duck season left, there is still a chance to get out to this iconic wetland and connect with nature, and bring home some birds for the table.
There may be other protected species present on the wetland, so as always, if you're not sure, don't shoot. Make sure you positively identify your quarry before pulling the trigger.
Field & Game Australia encourages all hunters to enjoy their hunt and to get a weekend away to bag some great game food for the table, but also suggests it is likely that animal rights and anti-hunting extremist groups will be present. As we have seen from certain anti-hunting campaigns, the likelihood of hunters being filmed without permission or knowledge is high. Field & Game Australia would like to remind its members, and all hunters, that you are ambassadors for the tradition and culture of hunting. Whether you are heading out to Lake Elizabeth or elsewhere, Field & Game Australia encourages all hunters to act respectfully, hunt ethically, and dispatch their birds humanely.
With the rain over the last few days, the tracks in and around Lake Elizabeth may be a little worse for wear. Be sure to take care and show some thought for those that follow you.
With Lake Elizabeth State Game Reserve finally open for hunting, it seems apt to mention that Victoria's State Game Reserve system has two purposes: to conserve and improve habitat to offset the loss of breeding, nesting and feeding thanks to wetland drainage, agricultural and/or residential development, and for controlled hunting in the highly-regulated season. The original closure was unprecedented and made use of mechanisms outside of the usual. To see it finally reopened will give a boost to the region's economy through hunter tourism. Better late than never? That remains to be seen.