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2018 duck and quail open seasons

Duck and quail hunting seasons have been approved for South Australia in 2018.

Apply online for a 2018 Open Season Duck or Quail Hunting Permit

Following an assessment of rainfall data, wetland condition and waterfowl abundance, and also considering whether hunting activities could impact on the conservation and sustainability of waterfowl populations, the South Australian Government has declared a slightly restricted duck hunting open season and a slightly restricted quail hunting open season for 2018. 

The information used in this assessment was derived from the Bureau of Meteorology, the annual DEW wetland and waterfowl survey, CSIRO ‘Pastures from Space’ landscape modelling, PIRSA agronomic data and the Eastern Australian Aerial Waterbird Survey (EAAWS).

Seasonal conditions in 2017 have been between average and above average at the local South Australian scale while average to below average for Eastern Australia as a whole. The wetland habitat condition was above average while rainfall in the Murraylands, South-East and Mount Lofty ranges were average to above average providing abundant wetland habitat in South Australia. However, the wetland habitat conditions in Eastern Australia indicate wetland extent to be below average although widely distributed.

Importantly, duck abundance from all surveys has markedly increased compared to the 2016 assessments. The waterfowl abundance recorded in the South Australian surveys was substantially greater than 2016, despite surveys being conducted at only two thirds of the target wetlands. Taking this into account, these estimates are believed to represent an underestimate of duck numbers for the purposes of comparison to previous years. This is supported by the local aerial survey which counted 370,000 ducks in South Australian wetlands – the largest number of ducks counted since the local aerial survey began in 2010.

With Stubble Quail, less is known about their biology and natural history, with knowledge restricted to their preferred areas of habitat which include pasture and cereal crop areas. Stubble Quail are highly nomadic, cryptic, and cover dependant. Recommendations for a slightly restricted bag limit and a slightly extended length open season for Stubble Quail have been based on the condition of their preferred habitat areas to infer relative abundance. Landscape condition modelling from CSIRO and agronomic statistics have been used as surrogates to help inform decision making about pasture growth rates, cover and food availability.

The 2018 duck and quail open seasons are based on 2017 data and projections for 2018. Should conditions deteriorate or circumstances change the Minister may revoke or revise the open season declarations.

Information about the 2018 hunting season

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