Protesters are being urged to abide by new laws governing this year's duck hunting season in Victoria.

The season starts today with protesters, hunters and police gathering at Lake Cullen in the state's north-west.

High rainfall has meant record duck numbers this year, and the Coalition Against Duck Shooting is calling for the sport to be banned.

But new laws mean protesters and the media are not allowed to go within 25 metres of the lake's edge.

Laurie Levy from the Coalition Against Duck Shooting has questioned the purpose of the newly-introduced exclusion zones, saying he does not think they are designed for safety, but to protect shooters.

"Game Victoria's role is as the gamekeepers," he said.

"They look after duck shooters and we have to be out there to look after our native waterbirds, because there isn't anyone else doing it.

"We're not protesters, we see our role as being similar to the Red Cross.

"We go into a war zone to help the innocent victims.

"We're not out there protesting - we're out there opposing duck shooting, yes - but we're also helping the innocent victims that duck shooters leave behind."

Mr Levy added the coalition's constant campaigning has dramatically reduced the number of duck hunters.

"If you go back 20 years there were thousands and thousands of them, and public opinion has reduced duck shooters by 75,000-80,000," he said.

The CEO of the Sporting Shooters Association, Wayne Holdsworth, insists safety is their main priority.

The Victorian Government predicts good conditions will allow for a full 12-week season.


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