Victoria has some of the best game hunting opportunities in Australia. There are open seasons and bag limits in Victoria for game deer, duck and quail; these allow for great hunting while also ensuring the sustainable management of species.
The Game Management Authority is responsible for regulating all game hunting activity in Victoria. Visit their website www.gma.vic.gov.au for all information regarding hunting in Victoria, including licences, where and when to hunt and all regulations.
Duck Season 2018 - opens Saturday 17 March, closes Monday 11 June
Changes to the Wildlife (State Game Reserves) Regulations 2014 now allow the hunting of certain pest animals on State Game Reserves during the open season for duck hunting, subject to various conditions. See 'Recent changes to hunting in State Game Reserves' below.
Closed or further regulated hunting areas
Prior to, or during the duck season, hunting areas can be further regulated or closed through a legal notice. Further regulation or closure can occur for a number of reasons, including to protect rare and threatened species or to avoid disturbance to colonially breeding waterbirds. The list of closures is here.
General hunting information for Parks Victoria locations
Parks Victoria is responsible for managing national, state, wilderness, coastal, regional and metropolitan parks and other conservation areas, such as State Game Reserves.
Is hunting permitted?
State game reserves (SGR)
Game species may be hunted, but only during the open season. Sixteen State Game Reserves are available for quail hunting and six for Hog Deer hunting. Generally, pest animals may not be hunted at any time, unless specifically authorised. However, from 2 May 2018, recreational hunters can hunt foxes, hares and rabbits only on State Game Reserves while hunting for game duck during the duck hunting season.
See list below.
Melbourne water catchment areas
Hunting of any type is not permitted at any time.
A number of catchments and reservoirs in the outer metropolitan and central highlands area are controlled by Melbourne Water and are part of the metropolitan water supply system. Public entry to these areas is prohibited.
Flora and fauna reserves (FFR) and nature conservation reserves (NCR)
Hunting of any type is not permitted at any time. Carrying and using firearms in these areas is prohibited.
National parks, state parks, coastal parks, wilderness parks and regional parks
Generally, hunting of any type is not permitted at any time, but there are some exceptions. See list below.
|Lake Reserves, Bushland Reserves, Streamside Reserves, Heritage Rivers, Highway Parks,|
Generally hunting is permitted but there are some exceptions and some restrictions. Game species may be hunted only during the open season. Pest animals may only be hunted as specifically authorised by Parks Victoria.
Hunting is permitted in some Wildlife Reserves but not others. Please check directly with Parks Victoria to confirm the status.
State Game Reserves
All State Game Reserves are available to duck hunting during the open season. However, some State Game Reserves may be closed as part of seasonal arrangements. If this occurs, notices will be placed in major newspapers before the opening weekend.
Tower Hill Reserve, near Warrnambool, is closed to hunting every day between 9am and 5pm.
Jack Smith Lake, Dowd Morass, Ewings Morass, Clydebank Morass, Heart Morass and Lake Coleman State Game Reserve are open for Hog Deer hunting during the Hog Deer season.
Stubble Quail may be hunted in the 16 State Game Reserves listed by the Game Management Authority within Stubble Quail Hunting Locations.
Foxes, hares and rabbits may be hunted on State Game Reserves during the duck hunting season, subject to various conditions . Other pest animals, such as feral pigs and goats, or other non-game species, such as sparrows or starlings, may not be hunted on State Game Reserves. A Registration of Interest to Hunt Pest Animals on Crown Land does not entitle you to hunt pest species on State Game Reserves.
Recent changes to hunting in State Game Reserves
Changes to the Wildlife (State Game Reserves) Regulations 2014 now allow the hunting of foxes, hares and rabbits on State Game Reserves during the open season for duck hunting.
The regulations prescribe various conditions that hunters need to be aware of before hunting pest animals on State Game Reserves -
- Hunting pest animals is only permitted during the open season for duck hunting, from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
- Hunting pest animals is not permitted in an area of a reserve where hunting has been prohibited or in a reserve that has been closed for duck hunting as part of seasonal arrangements.
- You are permitted to hunt pest animals on State Game Reserves if you are:
- A holder of a game licence that allows you to hunt duck.
- A member of a traditional owner group with an authorisation order made under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 who under that order is authorised to hunt duck.
- The prescribed hunting method is limited to the use of the same shotguns and non-toxic shots permitted for duck hunting at State Game Reserves.
More information is available from the Game Management Authority (GMA) www.gma.vic.gov.au
National, State, Wilderness, Coastal and Regional Parks
Most national, state, wilderness, coastal and regional parks are closed to hunting at all times. However, you are allowed to hunt in the parks listed below, subject to various conditions.
The list below is accurate according to regulations but always check the individual park page for change to condition notices which will list any road or other closures due to fire, flood, tree damage or other works which may affect your plans.
Hunters must not possess a firearm in, or transport a firearm through, a park (except in some instances) when hunting is prohibited. Also, where hunting is allowed, firearms must only be those calibres or gauges permitted for the species available for hunting in that park.
Where permitted, firearms, bows or crossbows cannot be fired for any purpose other than hunting deer. Firearms and bows must not be used (and must remain unloaded) within 100m of any designated camping area or designated picnic area.
For further information, contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963.
Alpine National Park and Avon Wilderness Park: All deer species may be hunted by stalking only in parts of the Alpine National Park and in the whole of the Avon Wilderness Park from 15 February to 15 December. The use of dogs to hunt deer is not permitted in these parks. Pest animals and other species must not be hunted in these parks. Note for Alpine Resorts: All alpine resorts are closed to hunting at all times. However, you are allowed to transport a dog and firearms through a resort, providing the dogs are in a vehicle and the guns are in a safe and locked compartment.
Baw Baw National Park: All deer species may be hunted by stalking only in the area east of Thomson Valley Road from 15 February to 15 December each year. The use of dogs to hunt deer is not permitted in this park. Pest animals and other species must not be hunted in this park.
Cape Conran Coastal Park: On Sydenham Inlet in the park, game duck may be hunted during the open season. Dogs are allowed for the flushing or retrieval of ducks during the open season.
Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park: In certain sections, game duck, Stubble Quail and Hog Deer may be hunted in season. Dogs are allowed for the flushing or retrieval of game ducks during the duck season. Check with Parks Victoria for details. Pest animals and other species must not be hunted in this park. Hunters must have a permit from Parks Victoria to erect a hide or to cut vegetation or a hide in the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park.
Lake Albacutya Park: The hunting of pest animals (rabbits, foxes or cats) is allowed, as is the hunting of game duck during the open season. Dogs are allowed for retrieval of game ducks during the duck open season. Hunting is not permitted in part of the park at the Western Beach visitor facilities, including near the boat ramp.
Lake Eildon National Park: In certain sections in the south-east of the park, Sambar Deer may be hunted from the first Saturday after Easter until 30 November. The use of dogs to hunt deer is not permitted in this park. Pest animals and other species must not be hunted in this park.
Mitchell River National Park: Sambar Deer hunting by stalking is permitted east of the Mitchell River and south of Hortons and Calvi Tracks from 15 February to 15 December. The use of dogs to hunt deer is not permitted in this park. Pest animals and other species must not be hunted in this park.
Tara Range Park: All deer species may be hunted by stalking only from 15 February to 15 December. The use of dogs to hunt deer is not permitted in this park. Pest animals and other species must not be hunted in this park.
Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park: Hunting for Hog Deer and game duck is permitted in certain sections in season. Pest animals and other species must not be hunted in this park. Snake Island: Hunting for Hog Deer is permitted on Snake Island via a ballot. Details regarding the trial two-year ballot are available on the GMA website.
Duck hunting and the Murray River
The southern bank of the Murray River, including the original location of that bank beneath impounded waters such as Lake Mulwala and Lake Hume, is the State border between Victoria and New South Wales. South of that border, game ducks may be hunted during the open season on any area open to duck hunting. This includes flood waters that have flowed over the southern bank of the Murray River into Victoria.
If you are hunting ducks on Lake Mulwala or Lake Hume during the open season, it is your responsibility to be aware of your location on those lakes. The hunting of ducks in NSW is not permitted, unless as part of the NSW Game Bird Management Program. For more information, phone the NSW Game Council on (02) 6360 5111.
Recent changes to deer stalking in parks
Parks Victoria released the Greater Alpine National Parks Management Plan in August 2016 following extensive community consultation. The plan makes improvements for recreational deer stalking that include expanding the area available, the species of deer that may be hunted and a providing a consistent season across several parks. A notice under the National Parks Act 1975 has now been published in the Government Gazette (link to map/Gazette notice) bringing these changes officially into effect for Baw Baw National Park, Alpine National Park, Tara Range Park, and Avon Wilderness Park.
Deer hunting area additions in Alpine National Park
The deer hunting area within Alpine National Park (PDF) has been expanded by the addition of approximately 90,000 hectares in the eastern alps including areas surrounding Suggan Buggan, Limestone Creek, Native Dog Flat, Charlie Creek; Buckwong Creek, Willis and to the east of Tubbut. No firearms signs are being removed in these areas to avoid confusion. Several areas nearby remain off-limits for deer hunting including the areas surrounding Tom Goggin, Mt. Pinnabar Surveyors Creek; the Tingaringy, Cobberas and Indi wilderness zones; all reference areas; and Snowy River National Park.
Hunters exploring the new deer hunting areas must ensure they are fully aware of where they can and can’t hunt or travel with a firearm. The GMA are currently updating deer hunting maps that will be added to the GMA website in the future. In the interim, hunters are advised to familiarise themselves with the additions included on the scheduled plan for the Gazette Notice (PDF).
Change to the deer hunting season in Baw Baw National Park
The deer stalking season within Baw Baw National Park was formerly from 1 May to 25 October each year and has now been changed to 15 February to 15 December each year.
Change to the species of deer which may be hunted
Previously, only Sambar were permitted to be hunted within the Alpine National Park, Baw Baw National Park and Avon Wilderness Park. Now, all species of deer may be hunted, including Sambar, Red, Chital, Fallow, Rusa and Hog deer.
The Game Management Authority (GMA) is an independent statutory authority responsible for the regulation of game hunting in Victoria. More resources including maps, regulations and licensing are available from the GMA website
Information about the areas open to hunting is available from a wide range of sources, including the GMA website, the DELWP Customer Service Centre 136 186, hunting organisations, parish plans, up-to-date maps, private landowners and Victoria Police.