Two Ballarat men have pleaded guilty at St Arnaud Magistrates’ Court for being in possession of a threatened waterbird during last year’s duck season.
Both men received $750 fines and will be required to sit the Waterfowl Identification Test again if they choose to renew their game licences.
The hunters’ ducks were inspected at Wooroonook camping ground by authorised officers on the opening weekend of the 2017 duck hunting season.
The officers found the men were in possession of a partially plucked Freckled Duck, a threatened species which is illegal to hunt in Victoria.
Game Management Authority chief executive officer Greg Hyams said the men stated they had mistakenly identified the duck as a black duck, retrieved it from the water and included it as part of their bag.
‘‘Failure to correctly identify protected wildlife or shooting or retrieving a non-game species is unacceptable and can result in significant fines, forfeiture of equipment and loss of game and firearms licences,’’ Mr Hyams said.
To ensure a higher standard of bird identification skills, the GMA is set to raise the minimum pass mark for the Waterfowl Identification Test from 75 per cent to 85 per cent next month. In addition, all protected species must be correctly identified to pass.
All hunters applying for a duck-hunting game licence will need to meet these requirements in order to obtain their licence. Hunters found guilty of an offence may be required to re-sit the WIT.