HUNTERS are looking forward to the upcoming duck season, as animal welfare groups protest with a "cruelty-free BBQ".
Animal welfare activists are countering by staging an Adelaide protest in Hindmarsh Square. They will rally at a "cruelty-free BBQ ... in remembrance of ducks killed and wounded by shooters".
Matt Godson, Sporting Shooters Association Australia's special project officer for pest and wildlife management, said most of the opposition to hunting surrounded wounding rates.
Mr Godson defended shooting in a fact sheet titled "Australian duck hunting - Bang ... Splash ... Yum!"
Much had changed in the past 15 years in how duck hunting was conducted, he said. Hunters were better educated, targeted single birds rather than flocks, used a different class of firearm and used non-toxic shot.
He argued wild duck was "the ultimate in free-range organic food" and said he was proud of the new cookbook Field to Fork.
"Duck hunting is like fishing," Mr Godson said. "People go duck hunting to obtain wild duck for food.
"And as with fishing, it's a recreational pastime in which people go out and spend time with nature, which is healthy - it's healthy for people to be outside, outdoors."
The State Government is satisfied most native duck populations can withstand losses from the annual hunt. This year just one species - the blue-winged shoveler - has been excluded "as it remains a species of concern". are fair game. nte
Every year the Environment Department considers the distribution and abundance of waterbirds in various habitats before deciding on bag limits and the duration of the season.
The information comes from the Bureau of Meteorology, the annual wetland and waterfowl survey, CSIRO Pastures from Space landscape modelling, crop data and the Eastern Australian Aerial Waterbird survey.
Professor Richard Kingsford Smith, from the University of New South Wales, said the most recent data showed waterbird populations had "definitely bounced back". SA waterfowl surveys provide further evidence of a recovery.
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