This year’s 15 week Waterfowl Hunting Season has a daily bag limit of seven magpie geese and 10 ducks per person. All waterfowl hunters are required to have a waterfowl hunting permit. Hunters in possession of a valid waterfowl permit can hunt on:
• Parks, Wildlife and Heritage hunting reserves (Lambells Lagoon Conservation Reserve and Howard Springs Hunting Reserve until 23 December 2019; and Shoal Bay Coastal Reserve and Harrison Dam Conservation Reserve until 6 January 2020);
• Designated Crown Land provided they also have a permit issued by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics; and
• Private property (which includes Aboriginal land) if they have the prior written permission of the landholder and can meet the setback conditions under the Firearms Act. Daily start and finish times are available at www.nt.gov.au/waterfowl.
Hunters are reminded that the use of lead shot is prohibited. The ban is monitored as lead shot residue in wetlands poisons waterfowl which in turn causes health issues for those who eat them. This ban is in line with the national strategy to combat this problem. Not having a permit or breaking permit conditions may result in legal action being taken. Permits are issued from the Parks, Wildlife and Heritage Permits Office at Jape Homemaker Village, Millner, between the hours of 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, or online at https://nt.gov.au/ leisure/hunting-andshooting/ magpiegeese- and-waterfowlhunting permits. Applications must be accompanied by the $20 annual fee or $80 fee for a five year permit and evidence of a valid Shooter’s Licence.
The Permits Office can be contacted on telephone 8999 4486 for more information. A waterfowl survey undertaken by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in April and May this year found magpie geese numbers had increased by 60% on last year’s figure and doubled in comparison to the 2017 population estimate. “Poor nesting in 2013 and 2016 after unfavourable wet seasons was the biggest contributing factor to 2017’s record low population,” said the Department’s Dr Tim Clancy. “This year’s waterfowl survey shows magpie geese numbers have increased to 1.48 million which is double the number estimated in 2017. “Whilst we are not expecting further increases in 2020, due to the poor recent wet, we are hopeful that numbers will remain above a million and with a reasonable run of seasons should keep increasing in the longer term. “Whilst the population is close to the longer-term average, the number of nests recorded was down from 77,000 last year to 10,500 this year, so a cautious approach to management is still warranted.”
Dr Clancy said this year’s waterfowl surveys were conducted by air over floodplains across the Top End between the Moyle River and Murganella Creek, and also included the Arnhem Land floodplains. “During the survey, we flew a total of 8,043km of transects in a light plane 61m above the ground,” Dr Clancy said.“There were three observers in the plane who counted the number of magpie geese in a strip 200m wide on either side of the plane “We also counted the number of nests, which can be seen from the air as flattened grass and sedge platforms. “These aerial surveys use a long-established scientific method and give a very robust estimate of the total magpie geese population,”
Dr Clancy said. “There have been aerial surveys of magpie geese intermittently since 1983 and annually using a standardised approach since 2011. “Data on population size and trends, as well as information from hunting returns, are used to set a sustainable level of harvest each year. “It is important that we have accurate information on waterfowl hunting effort so I would encourage all licensed hunters to fill in their hunting return paperwork at the end of the season,” Dr Clancy explained. Go to https://denr.nt.gov.a /land-resourcemanagement/ magpie-goose-management for more information about this year’s aerial survey. https://nt.gov.au/leisur /hunting-and-shooting