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Topics > Plants & animals > Abundant species > 2019 duck & quail open seasons

Additional general information for hunters

Hunting near barrages

No hunting or fishing is permitted within 150 metres either side of any barrage structure (River Murray Waters Act 1971).

Approved shot

Lead shot must not be used for duck hunting in South Australia. Nor may you have it in your possession while hunting. Several wetlands in South Australia are known to have high densities of spent lead shot in the surface mud of the areas favoured for hunting. This lead is ingested by some types of waterbirds and can cause varying degrees of lead poisoning.

Hunting with steel shot

Hunters should take care with the guns they use, as not all guns are suitable for steel shot. You should check with the firearm manufacturer or distributor before using steel shot.

Hunting with bismuth

Bismuth may be used in any shotgun that can use commercial lead shot.

Safety for shooters

Please respect the rights of other hunters. It is generally accepted that the first hunter to a position has precedence and no hunter should approach closer than 50m without the other hunter’s permission. Avoid accidents – please don’t shoot low.

Important information

  • Open season hunting of duck and quail is permitted under the National Parks and Wildlife 1972 Act and subordinate regulations subject to declaration by the Minister for Environment and Water. All hunters should familiarise themselves with the legislation and comply with their permit conditions.
  • Duck shooting is prohibited from half an hour after sunset to quarter of an hour before sunrise the next day during the open season.
  • You will need an open season duck hunting permit or an open season quail hunting permit to hunt declared protected game. You are required to carry the permit with you at all times and produce it on the demand of a warden.
  • Do not exceed eight (8) ducks per hunter per day and fifteen (15) quail per hunter per day.
  • Open season duck hunting permits and open season quail hunting permits do not permit the use pump action and self-loading shotguns.
  • Duck and quail may only be taken with a smooth bore firearm that has a bore no larger than 1.9cm (12 gauge), firing shot no larger than BB (4.1mm in diameter).
  • Shooting is not permitted on any Reserve other than a Game Reserve.
  • Lead shot must not be used in the taking of ducks throughout this state. Non-toxic shot such as steel or bismuth is to be used.
  • Pre-feeding of hunting grounds is prohibited. 
  • Any person entering a Game Reserve must not have lead shot in his/her possession.
  • Shooting or taking any protected bird, mammal or reptile other than the species listed as available in the 2019 open season is prohibited.
  • In 2019 Australasian (Blue-winged) Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis) are not allowed to be hunted due to sustainability concerns.
  • You will need written permission to hunt from all landowners for all land, including Dedicated Crown Land such as (but not exclusive to) drains and waterways dedicated to the South Eastern Water Conservation and Drainage Board. This includes the backwaters of the River Murray where it floods private land, and the lakes of the South East. The Minister for Environment and Water has not approved open season hunting on some unalienated Crown Lands.
  • The taking of duck eggs or quail eggs during the open season is prohibited.
  • Hunting without a current hunting permit and/or failing to obtain the written permission of the landowner prior to hunting on any land may incur a penalty of up to $1000.
  • The penalties for the illegal taking of, or possession of protected fauna range from $2,500 or six months imprisonment, up to $10,000 or two years imprisonment, depending on the type of animal involved. Therefore, please identify your species before shooting and do not exceed your total bag limit.
  • A penalty of up to $1,250 applies for being in possession of lead shot or shot containing lead whilst within any Game Reserve, or for possession of lead shot whilst hunting waterfowl anywhere in the state.
  • Duck shooting is prohibited from a boat that is moving or under way.
  • All hunters must comply with the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Humane Destruction of Birds by Shooting in South Australia
Hunters must have passed the Waterfowl Identification Test (WIT), hold an approved hunting permit, posses a current firearms permit for a shotgun and have the written permission from the land holder to go duck hunting. Contact DEW on (08) 8124 4972 for details.
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