How To Go Hunting And Camping In VIC
There are lots of reasons to love hunting; sustainable food, removing pests and sports. Regardless of whichever decision you choose – hunting can be a lot of fun and remains a beloved past time for many Australians.
While this blog will focus on hunting and camping in Victoria, the same principles apply in any state or territory.
If you’re new to hunting, we’ll show you want you’ll need before heading out and if you’ve been there and done that, then we’ve got some great camping and hunting spots you haven’t even heard about.
Before You Go Hunting
First things first, don’t think about doing anything until you have yourself a licence.
For an Australian resident to go hunting, you’d need a game licence at the very minimum.
Can I hunt any kind of animal with a game license?
– No, only a select few species listed as game or pests. These are covered a bit further down.
On top of a game license, there are two tests: a waterfowl ID test and the hound hunting test. You can’t hunt waterfowl like duck or quail or use hounds for hunting without passing these tests.
How long does a game license last for?
– 3 years
Can a child gain a game license?
A person between the age of 12 to 17 can apply for a game license free of charge.
If you’re looking to renew or gain a game license, then you can follow this link for the downloadable file. Just send it off via post or email. Easy peasy.
A firearms license is very different and needs to be issued by your state police. With both a game license and firearms license you can hunt many different animals. However, there are many restrictions as to when, where and how many you can hunt.
What You Can Hunt
In Victoria, you can hunt the following animals:
– Game birds
– Pest animals
There are seven species of deer in Victoria that can be hunted.
1. Chital deer – brown coat, white spots with tall, thin, pointed antlers
2. Fallow deer – brown coat, white spots with curved, leafy looking antlers 3. Hog deer – brown coat with short stubby antlers and stumpy legs
4. Red deer – furry brown/red coat with curved antlers and a scruffy neck
5. Rusa deer – greyish/brown coat with sharp antlers and a long thin tail
6. Sambar deer – brown coat with short curved antlers and a hairy neck
Deer is one of the most popular and iconic animals to hunt for in the world and Victoria is no different. The thought of seeing a deer from your very own campsite is probably what many hunters dream of and that reality is possible with one of the campgrounds we suggest further down.
This gets a bit confusing, so pay attention here. Duck hunting in Victoria is controlled and regulated to ensure conservation efforts. A duck is considered game species if it appears in large numbers. Although, one species might be regarded as game in one state and not in the next. Some duck species may be classified game one year and not game the next.
It can get damn confusing, so always be sure to check the latest regulations before hunting.
Typically, 8 species of duck may be hunted in Victoria:
– Blue-winged Shoveler – slender, blue/green feathers with orange feet – Grey Teal – blue beak, with white, brown and grey feathers
– Chestnut Teal – black face, green neck with an orange chest – Hardhead – medium sized with dark brown feathers
– Mountain Duck – largest duck with grey, yellow and green feathers
– Pacific Black Duck – black eye-stripe with brown feathers
– Pink-eared Duck – long bill with white and black feathers
– Wood Duck – long neck with a white body spotted with brown dots
The Pacific Black Duck is likely the image of a duck you’re thinking of when it comes to Australian birds. It’s the ones you think of when you imagine feeding bread to a duck – perhaps you even did it when you were younger.
To hunt for pest animals, you don’t need a game license, but if it’s on private property then you’ll need to apply for a ‘registration of interest to hunt pest animals on Crown land’.
There are 6 species of pests in Victoria:
– European rabbits – small and brown with a short white tail
– European hares – longer body and limbs, tall ears with a brown coat
– Foxes – orange body, white underside with a long bushy tail
– Goats – can range from white, black to brown in colour
– Pigs – can range from white, black to brown in colour
– Wild dogs – dog and dingo-dog hybrids
While these species are considered pest animals, there are still many regulations governing how to hunt them.
– Gun dogs can be used to retried or flush out animals – but not to kill.
– Hounds and horses may be used to hunt foxes but need to be approved by hunting organisations.
– Ferrets may be used to drive rabbits from burrows – but not to kill.
It might seem cruel to hunt some of these animals, but they are pests, and many of them damage crops and livestock. Also, be aware that these animals are often feral and wild so they can be a danger to you even though they might look harmless.
There are only one species of quail that can be hunted as game in Victoria– the Stubble Quail.
The Stubble Quail is a small bird with dark brown and sometimes orangey brown feathers with cream stripes going down its side.
Several other species of quail may be mistaken from the Stubble; these include the brown, king, painted button and little button quail – all of which are protected species.
Quail is a favorite bird for hunting and camping as many campers choose to prepare and cook the animal onsite in the bush. It’s a rather unique experience that if you’ve never done before, we recommend. While you may take every measure to hunt the right animals.
Always be mindful that when and where you hunt them is just as regulated as the animals you choose to hunt.
When And Where
One of the most common issues hunters face is being fully equipped to hunt the right animal but not in the right spot or during the right time of year. You should always make sure you check the latest updates on game hunting before setting out on a camping and hunting trip.
There are two hubs for hunting deer in Victoria, the Rockland Reservoir area to the west, and most of the eastern side of Victoria past Melbourne.
Here are our favourite places for camping and deer hunting:
1. Tara Range Park There’s a great caravan park called Fernholme; it’s one of the oldest caravan parks in Victoria. In the park, you’ll find Sambar, Hog, Rusa, Chital and Fallow Deer.
The Tara Range is a landscape full of sweeping open lands and dense hilly vegetation. It’s the place to go for campers and hunters looking for a variety of hunting and camping environments.
2. Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park Camping in Nooramunga requires a permit. However, there are many sites in the park that’ll get you right in the heart of Hog Deer country.
The habitat is coastal, so you’ll find long beaches and swampy marshes moving inwards. The Nooramunga is one of the more difficult locations to hunt for deer – which for some is the reason they love it.
Finding duck can be rather easy if you live near a body of water, but for places where you can hunt game, you’ll have to go out to locations like the Murray River or Cape Conran for the best duck hunting spots.
1. Murray River
The best place for duck hunting is on the southern banks of the Murray River – areas near Lake Mulwala and Lake Hume – where during duck hunting season you can find plenty of game.
Both Lake Mulwala and Hume are great spots for camping, not just for hunters but for lovers of water sports and the open landscape of the country here.
Camping amongst the tall trees of Lake Hume fees like something out of a film and the Lake Mulwala camps offer open land separated by different streams; almost like a maze of hunting areas.
2. Cape Conran Coastal Park
The Cape Conran Coastal Park feels more like a playground for animals than a place for campers – which is precisely why many duck hunters choose to go there.
There are plenty of birds and ducks in the coastal park, so make sure you’re hunting the right species of duck.
The Banksia Bluff Campground is just off the coastline and is the perfect location for walking to the beach for a swim and heading inwards for duck hunting.
Hunting and camping for pests can be done almost anywhere in Victoria, so long as the grounds permit it, however, the two most popular locations are Cobboboone and Otway.
1. Cobboboonee National park
Cobboboonee is one of the more isolated places for campers and hunters to travel to in search of animals to hunt. The expansive national park means you’ll have plenty of campsites to stay and hunt from.
Within the one national park, you’ll find open grassland, dense forestry areas and gooey swampland to hunt all manner of Australian pests.
2. Great Otway National Park
Otway National Park is less of a park and more of a jungle. The tropical like forest can be a new experience for even the most senior and veteran hunters out there. It can be difficult tracking and stalking the animals, but when you finally catch them, it’s a rewarding experience.
There’s plenty of campsites in the Great Otway National Park to choose from. We recommend Aire Crossing or Cora Lyn as the campsites for hunting due to their secluded locations.
Quail can be a tricky bird to hunt because of the limited places you can find and hunt for them. The largest area to hunt for quail is the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, and another spot for quail is Mount Cole Sanctuary.
1. Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park
The Gippsland area is a popular location for hunting of many types of animals including quail. The long strip means there’s plenty of options for camping in the coastal environment and it offers a rather unique hunting experience.
The trees and natural environment of the Gippsland area are sporadic and dense. You’ll come across small pockets of open fields and then dense areas of roots and trees. There’s a ton of hidden ponds and openings for hunters to catch prey.
2. Mount Cole Sanctuary
A sanctuary might seem like the last place you’d expect to hunt, but there are many in and around Victoria that offers hunting within.
In fact, sanctuaries like Mount Cole are one of the preferred locations for hunters and campers due to the almost untouched environment that it offers.
Mount Cole offers one of the most quintessential Aussie outback experiences with small creeks, running rivers, lots of tall, thin trees and steep slopes to explore. This sanctuary is one of the more accessible options for camping and hunting.
You don’t go hunting with a knife and spear so why should you go camping with equipment and gear that’s not suitable for the job? Here at Mars Campers, we’ve got camper trailers for camping and hunting that’ll get you to anywhere in Victoria and back again without a hitch. Contact the Mars team for any questions or assistance for your next camper trailer.