Illustration: Matt Golding.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck … it still might not be the right kind of duck.
One week after duck season opened, tender documents reveal the state government is planning a series of educational videos to teach hunters how to obey the law and recognise the difference between ''game'' and ''non-game'' waterbirds.
The move comes as 100 endangered freckled ducks were illegally shot within the first seven days of the season.
According to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, the new Ducks in Sight video will be used as an education tool for the Waterfowl Identification Test (WIT), which all hunters are required to pass before they get a licence to hunt in Victoria.
An old version of the video exists, but the footage - first shot for VHS format in 1987 - needs to be updated, and will also include more information about ethical obligations, legal and safety issues. News of the revamped video comes 12 months after the so-called Box Flat massacre, in which 800 ducks were shot near Boort in the state's north-west, along with dozens of other endangered birds and non-game species, such as coots, black swans and whistling kites.
Many hunters gathered at Box Flat on the opening day of duck season last year when the shootings took place, but to date, no one has been found responsible, prompting claims of a cover-up.
Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh's spokeswoman, Deborah Cole, said most hunters obeyed the law and only a small number of offences had taken place since the latest season opened last Saturday.
''There were some 15,000 duck hunters out for the opening of the season and the vast majority of those people hunted responsibly and lawfully,'' she said.
Others, however, are unconvinced. Coalition Against Duck Shooting spokesman Laurie Levy said that by midday on Saturday, the tally of dead and wounded freckled ducks stood at 100 and counting.