Victoria’s Game Management Authority (GMA) confirms it has seized an airboat allegedly illegally used during the closing weekend of the 2018 duck hunting season.
Footage taken by the Coalition Against Duck Shooting was released to the ABC last month that appeared to show a group of hunters using the watercraft to push ducks into the sky.
The GMA said it had taken possession of the airboat featured in the video taken at Cundare Pool, an open waterway beside Lake Corangamite, west of Geelong.
“The boat was allegedly used in contravention of the Wildlife Act 1975,” the GMA said in a statement on its Facebook page.
“One person [has been] interviewed … and others are expected to be interviewed in the coming weeks.
“A number of witnesses are assisting the GMA with the ongoing investigation.”
On its website, the GMA states that shooters can “hunt duck from a boat under power up to a speed of five knots on waterways such as rivers, creeks and streams.”
The website states that hunting duck “from a motor boat with the boat running [whether it is in gear or not] on open water such as lakes, dams or swamps” is specifically prohibited.
Anti-hunting groups accused of using media to ‘push their agenda’
The Hunting Development Manager for the Sporting Shooters Association in Victoria, David Laird, said it was critical that due process was followed in the course of the investigation.
“The video that was put up [on the ABC website] was obviously edited. It’s very easy to take things out of context,” Mr Laird said.
He said he was concerned claims being made by activists were being picked up without enough questioning.
“Our association is totally opposed to illegal and inappropriate behaviour when hunting, but we just need to be careful the anti-duck hunting groups aren’t just pushing their agenda and using the media to do that.
“If people have done the wrong thing, report on it, condemn the actions of those individuals.
“But I don’t think the hunting sector should be castigated and vilified over the actions of certain individuals, which certainly seems to be what happens on a regular basis.”
Coalition Against Duck Shooting campaign director, Laurie Levy, said rescuers had given statements and evidence to the Game Management Authority in good faith.
“If they didn’t believe what we were saying, I doubt very much whether they would’ve confiscated the airboat at this point in time,” Mr Levy said.
Mr Levy said raw footage had been provided to the Authority that had been taken by three separate activists.
“I would say this will be going to court, and we’ll be happy to test our argument and our video [there].”