Duck shooting #2
Debbie Lustig <>
Sun, 10 Jun 2012 13:10:18 +1000
More on the judgement in the recent trial of the 'Kerang Five', handed down on
Thursday. Five rescuers were charged on the closing day of last year's season
with various offences including 'operating noise producing equipment, being a
whistle, in a manner likely to cause unreasonable inconvenience or nuisance to
any person contrary to the Wildlife (SGR) Regulations 2004'.
Bright clothing is worn, whistles are blown and flags waved to divert ducks.
Each of the five rescuers was found guilty of only one of their five charges -
hindering hunters or blowing whistles. All charges of harrassing hunters were
not proven. Magistrate Peter Mealy awarded $18,000 court costs against the
Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), with the Department of
Primary Industries (DPI) prosecuting, because of the heavy-handedness of DSE
wildlife officers in arresting rescuers. He criticised the wildlife officers
for continuing to question a rescuer with mild hypothermia before allowing her
to seek help.
He said that it is legal for rescuers to be on the water.
He expressed surprise that the Department did not provide care for injured
birds at the wetlands and indicated that it appeared to hold rescuers
responsible for the provision of vets, when the Department should be
responsible for the welfare of wildlife. No rescuers were convicted or fined.
All accepted three-month good behaviour bonds.
The DSE no longer administers the duck hunt - this is done by DPI - but its
wildlife officers were again on duty at this year's opening weekend.
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