birding-aus Duck hunting (moderately long)

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: birding-aus Duck hunting (moderately long)
From: "Terry Pacey" <>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 09:28:38 +1000


I have been following the duck-shooting debate over the last few days. I deplore the so called Duck Hunting Season. The word "hunting" does not describe what happens. I would like to put a number of comments to the subscribers of birding-aus.

Half of my almost three score years have been spent in very small communities far from the capital cities and the coast. A number of years were spent in Queensland communities noted for their isolation. Bedourie springs to mind as one example.

Living in those areas on a permanent basis is vastly different to visiting them on holidays and birding expeditions. The local grazing and farming communities are generally reserved with visitors but open up after you have been living with them for a while. I have found these people to be, generally, well informed on all forms of wildlife and, contrary to popular belief, conservationists. The difference between the words "conservationist" and "preservationist" is the key to this statement. Some of my "lifers" were found after telephone or radio calls from some of these property owners. A number of breeding records for the first Atlas were found the same way. I have been called from home in the middle of the night to identify unusual snakes that have crawled into the house. These were always alive when I arrived and were released away from harm. In one area, a pure white wallaby was not reported to the media and access to the property for shooters denied to protect the creature. An albino(?) Kookaburra was treated the same way.

It is noticeable that these same property owners would shoot certain species if they felt justified. In far-western Queensland during the 1960’s, the red kangaroos were in plague proportions. This had been caused by the rapid spread of bore drains during the fifties. These provided lots of permanent water and food for these animals. I read during that time, that the population of red kangaroos had increased by 400% over the population at the time of white settlement. Was the culling of this species to protect the grazier’s income contrary to conservation principles?

In the Upper Burnett Valley (Queensland) in the 1950’s, the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo population exploded with the introduction of a new food source (Milo). The numbers were unbelievable and flocks numbering hundreds stripped paddocks within days. For farmers recovering from a severe drought, this was the last straw. Were they wrong to shoot birds that were multiplying because of new food sources to protect their own families?

In the 1980’s, I was called by a lucerne farmer on the banks of the Burnett River near the Goodnight Scrub (Queensland again) to inspect his lucerne crop and the destruction being caused by Wood (Maned) Ducks. One paddock of 25 acres was completely destroyed in one night by thousands of these ducks. Although this farmer had shown me nests of a number of species in the past and continually monitored the river for rarer species, he proceeded to shoot large numbers of the offending birds to try to protect his only source of income.

My point is this: Although the slaughter that is wrapped up in pretty clothing as a Duck Hunting Season is to be fought at all costs, do not place all those who shoot in the same category.


Terry Pacey
Toowoomba Qld
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • birding-aus Duck hunting (moderately long), Terry Pacey <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU