Central South Island Both Barrels June 2019
Many of us put the gun away after opening but there is no reason to; bird numbers are great this season and there is plenty of space to find a spot.
This is also a great time of year to get active and find your Opening Weekend pond for 2020 opening.
A great place to start would be the numerous irrigation ponds scattered throughout the Canterbury Plains between the Rakaia and Orari rivers.
Above Right: A typical mid Canterbury irrigation pond. Credit R Adams
Many of these ponds are un-hunted on Opening Weekend and it would likely improve hunting success in the area if there were more hunters to move the birds around.
Ponds can be found on google earth and other aerial imagery websites or by driving the roads.
Some door knocking at the farmers house and a polite request for access permission just may see you set up with some great hunting for years to come.
Please be respectful if your access request is turned down and move on to the next pond.
The “main” season finishes up in the Central South Island Region on Sunday the 28th of July, get out there and enjoy it while you can!
Late season options
Opportunistic hunters should be anticipating weather extremes and the hunting opportunities they provide in late June and July.
Three weather extremes to keep watch on are: Frosts, coastal fronts and wet spells, Here’s why:
Frosts: frozen paddocks and ponds restrict the comfy places for ducks to rest and access water and food sources.
Try scouting for riverbed duck camps during these times as the flowing water and sunny riverbeds attract ducks at these times.
Coastal fronts: ducks like to rest out at sea and in the middle of expansive coastal wetlands so look out for short and sharp Southerly fronts to whip up the water into a froth and move hordes of ducks into sheltered parts of coastal wetland and farmland nearby.
Wet Spells: lots or rain creates lots of surface water and flooded paddock puddles. These are great places to find fat ducks feeding up on drowned worms. Flooded rivers will also displace some bird into paddocks too.
The duck’s nuggets
If you haven’t tried duck nuggets you should.
Or any waterfowl nuggets for that matter, Swan and parrie nuggets are delicious in my experience, in fact, I can’t leave the dinner table without the kids pinching them off my plate.
Just take a breast and cut slices across its width.
The thinner the slice the better I reckon, especially on older birds.
Soak the slices in milk overnight if you can or just dip them in it at the time of preparation.
Dip your milky slices in a spiced flour mix to coat them all over and then shallow fry in oil on a hot pan until they are golden and crispy on both sides.
My spiced flour mix includes about half a cup of plain flour with a pinch or a teaspoon of the following spices: mustard, cumin, ground coriander, salt, ground pepper and paprika.
Make the spiced flour mix to your taste; even just flour, salt and pepper is good. You can buy some ‘coat n cook’ products from the supermarket that may taste awesome too.
Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer
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