Both Barrels April 2022

Welcome to the 2022 game bird season

Opening Day is Saturday the 7th of May, at 6:45am.

Featured image: 'It's game on for the 2022 hunting season' - credit Rhys Adams

No matter the weather, Opening Weekend of the duck season never fails to be NZ’s most cherished hunting occasion for reconnecting with mates and family in those wet and wild habitats we love.

Of course, coming home with a free-range bird or three for the dinner table, all harvested by smart hunting and retrieved by a well-trained gun dog is the icing on the cake.

If you haven’t yet purchased your licence, then grab your credit card and click here or head down to your local licence agent and grab one with your supplies.

Regulation changes for 2022

The decoy limit for Wainono has been removed. That means there is no limit on the number of decoys you can use in the Central South Island Region.

Be sure to read-up on the 2022 regulations guide – click here for the online copy.

Don’t risk your firearms licence

Remember to carry your new 2022 game bird hunting licence with you on Opening Weekend as rangers will be out ensuring all hunters are playing by the rules.

It is well worth noting too, any game bird hunting offences may be considered by police when undertaking a “fit and proper person” assessment for any firearms licence applications or renewal. 

Last Opening Weekend our ranging team covered the Mackenzie basin and Waitaki Valley and unfortunately detected a handful of offences. Our rangers issued offence notices and seized guns and ammo for those found hunting without a licence and/or using lead shot over open water.

Many birds about?

Overall, bird numbers appear to be at “normal” levels in the CSI region for 2022.  Chances are that you will encounter moderate numbers of mallards and paradise shelduck and relatively strong numbers of less targeted species like shoveler and swan. That of course depends a bit on the weather on the day.

Here’s some of the results from our annual game bird population surveys.

Wainono pre-season game survey – March 2022

BBcsi2Hamish Stevens counts game birds Wainono Lagoon credit Rhys Adams

Hamish Stevens counts game birds Wainono Lagoon - credit Rhys Adams

South Canterbury’s Wainono Lagoon and associated wetlands are CSI’s game bird strong hold and we undertake annual pre-season bird population surveys of this significant hunting ground prior to tagging day.

Mallard numbers were moderate with about 2,900 counted on the day. We think many were out in the surrounding farmland paddock puddles as there was a significant rainfall the day prior.

Swan (1,270) and paradise shelduck (750) numbers were moderate while shoveler numbers were high (820).

Canterbury Plains dabbling duck survey – March 2022

Dabbling duck or the combined count of mallard, grey duck, grey teal and shoveler counts were relatively low across the Plains, but within normal historical levels.

Paradise shelduck numbers were high in the North Otago to Rangitata section of the Plains.

Paradise shelduck moult survey – January 2022

Approximately 13,500 paradise shelduck were counted in our late January moult count at 67 sites throughout the Waimate, Timaru, Mackenzie and Ashburton districts. 

This number is relatively low but well within the historical range of counts.

Black swan summer survey – January 2022

Nearly 2,500 swan were counted, which is relatively high. The Ashburton Lakes were the only sub-area to hold a relatively low number of swan in 2022.

Looking for a place to hunt after Opening Weekend?

BBcsi3 Finn Stevens and Teal on a successful mid season hunt at Wainono Wetland Reserve credit Hamish Stevens

Finn Stevens and Teal on a successful mid-season hunt at Wainono Wetland Reserve - credit Hamish Stevens

CSI Fish & Game administer hunting at four wetlands.

In just a few easy steps, you can hunt these wetlands.

These wetlands are balloted for Opening Weekend, but after Opening Weekend these wetlands can be hunted by all licence holders, provided you obtain a permit and if required, contact the landowner prior to hunting.

Click here to Jump on our website to check out the wetland maps and info.

While there, save a permit application form, fill it in and email it in to us, or alternatively get in direct contact with the office.

CSI Fish & Game contacts: email csi@fishandgame.org.nz or phone 03 6158400.

Check out this YouTube video of what is on offer at our Fish & Game Wainono Wetland Reserve.

 

Ducks are yum

Ducks are yum and you can prepare and cook them in so many delicious ways.

Our YouTube channel has some great info to help you get the basics right and then try out some exciting dishes.

To start check out our - how-to pluck a duck video here.

Then progress to the kitchen with these recipe ideas: The best breast, Thai red curry, Duck schnitzel burgers and the high and fast roast mallard.

Bon Appetit!

Hot Barrels

Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer