Both Barrels June 2020

Opening report

Mixed but dry weather with light swirly wind was the order for opening weekend; bloody good for socialising and introducing new folks to duck hunting but pretty difficult to hunt!

As always, we could have done with a few more hunters about to keep the birds moving.

Right: Introducing the next generation to the sport - Allan Gillespie showed his grandson’s Harry (16) Jack (11) the ropes this year - credit J Gillespie.

Take note nomadic North Island hunters – in Mid Canterbury there are numerous un-hunted irrigation ponds – you just need to be willing to go door knocking to seek access permission.

Mixed-bag results were received from around the region and from rangers out in the Timaru area, some spots hunted poorly and some hunters had their best opening ever.

However, our opening weekend harvest survey data is in (thanks for participating) and we can smooth out the information to get a good gauge on the 2020 opening.

The “statistically average” CSI region hunter harvested a wee bit more than 10 mallards and 2 paradise shelduck for the weekend. A few hunters secured shoveler, swan and pukeko too.

This is a moderate level of harvest, not quite as good as the last season – which was a bag of 14 mallard and 2 shelduck.

Safe to say though, plenty of birds out there for the rest of the season!

Compliance

BB CSI 2 Aaron Sinton was stoked to be on opening morning

Aaron Sinton was stoked to be out on opening morning

Rangers targeted the Timaru area this opening.

It was disappointing to encounter several hunters without a game bird licence and in possession of lead shot within 200 metres of open water.

These offenders now face hefty fines, criminal conviction, forfeiture of gear and the offences may be considered for the ‘fit and proper’ persons test regarding holding a firearms licence.

Serious stuff indeed.  

Overall, most hunters were complaint, had immaculate firearms safety, were in good spirits and enjoyed their brief visit from the rangers.

New maimai success

BB CSI 1 Ralph Bullock L Neville Alexander with Rooster the labrador hunting at Wainon Reserve on Sunday credit R Adams2

Ralph Bullock, left, with Neville Alexander and Rooster the labrador hunting at Wainono Reserve on Sunday credit R Adams

Our brand-new scrubbed-up maimais at Wainono Wetland Reserve have been a success.

Historically, to hunt these balloted stands you had to set-up your own maimai pre-season and removed them at the end of the season.

That was simply too hard yakka for most hunters and as a result they were underutilised.

This year we went to the effort to build and scrub-up permanent maimais.

Thanks to local hunters John Stevens and Hec Ottley for helping out.

The new permanent maimais give hunters the opportunity for quick and easy “just add decoys” hunting opportunities.  

One of the stand was hunted by Neville Alexander and Ralph Bullock.

On the opening day of the season they harvested 31 mallards, 2 shoveler and 2 black swan.

An impressive harvest for the CSI Fish & Game owned wetland.

On Sunday the birds flew ‘high and shy’ but they managed a handful more.

The annual ballot for these stands is advertised on our website in February – mark it in your calendar.

You can register and hunt these maimais through the remainder of this season – see next article for details.

Register and hunt

Opportunities for all licence holders to hunt balloted wetlands owned and/or part-managed by Fish & Game Central South Island exist after opening weekend.

These wetlands: All Day Bay Lagoon (Kakanui), Devils Bridge (Oamaru) Wainono Wetland Reserve (Waimate) and Ealing Springs (Rangitata) offer a range of hunting opportunities. 

Game bird licence holders wishing to hunt these wetlands after opening are simply asked to contact the Fish & Game Office in Temuka to register their interest to hunt for the season.

Registering is a quick and easy task and means you will receive up to date information on access requirements and rules.

At the completion of the season the registered hunters will be contacted and asked to provide a record of their hunting effort, game bird harvest and general observations from the wetlands.

CSI Fish & Game contact: PH - 03 6158400, Email - csi@fishandgame.org.nz.  

Traditional season-end

The 2020 game bird regulations were revised due to the re-setting of the opening weekend dates.The last Sunday in July marks the traditional closing to the game bird season in CSI.

Other than the delayed start date, no changes were made for the CSI Region.

click here to link to the updated online version of the game bird hunting regulations and check out what you can still hunt once the “main” season closes.     

Late season options

BB CSI 3 Steve Robertson hunting the Waitaki River Credit David Hay

Steve Robertson hunting the Waitaki River - Credit David Hay

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.

Attention 20-gauge owners!

This 2020 season hunters can not use lead shot in shotguns with a bore smaller than 12 gauge (including 16, 20, 28 gauge, and muzzle loaders) within 200 metres of waterways and wetlands on all Department of Conservation and Fish & Game administered lands.

In 2021, it will become mandatory across all land types – public and private.

For more detailed information on non-toxic shot regulations click here.

For some helpful information on 20 gauge steel load testing click here.

Hot Barrels

Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer