Both Barrels June 2021
Many of us put the gun away after opening but there is no reason to; bird numbers are healthy this season and there is plenty of space to find a spot.
And you do not have to go to the effort of lining up a farm pond; there are some great public hunting opportunities available after sourcing a permit easily from either DOC or CSI Fish & Game.
For example, a teachers-only day in early June for Finn Stevens provided a great opportunity for his dad Hamish to take him for a hunting lesson down at Fish & Game’s Wainono Wetland Reserve.
Above Right: Finn Stevens making the most of his teachers-only day at Wainono Wetland Reserve’ photo Hamish Stevens.
Hamish said there were “mallards galore” and reckoned if they were set up in a slightly better spot, they would have had even more success.
Hunting through until 11 am, the father and son team bagged eight mallards.
Permitted to hunt “Wainono”
Wainono Lagoon and the adjoining Wainono Wetland reserve offer an expansive area for public access hunting.
To hunt the entire area, you simply need to obtain two free permits.
The main Lagoon (lake) is managed by DOC and can be hunted under the generic Raukapuka/Geraldine Area game bird hunting permit.
You can only get the DOC permit by ringing: 03 6931010 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
To hunt the adjoining Fish & Game owned Wainono Wetland Reserve you also need a permit.
Permit info including wetland maps and applications are now online: click here.
To obtain the Fish & Game permit directly ring our Temuka office: 03 6158400, email email@example.com
Late season options
The “main” season finishes up in the Central South Island Region on Sunday the 25th of July, get out there and enjoy it while you can!
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 is 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, swans, and geese into sheltered parts of coastal wetland and farmland nearby.
Wet Spells: lots of 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 wet spell recently experienced by South and Mid-Canterbury is a case in point for this type of hunting.
Think ahead to 2022
This is a great time of year to get active and find your Opening Weekend pond for the 2022 opening.
A great place to start would be the numerous irrigation ponds scattered throughout the Canterbury Plains between the Rakaia and Orari rivers.
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 farmer's 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 duck’s nuggets
If you have not tried duck nuggets you should.
Or any waterfowl nuggets for that matter.
Swan, parrie and pukeko nuggets are delicious in my experience, in fact, I cannot 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 one-quarter cup of plain flour with a pinch or a teaspoon of the following spices: cumin, ground coriander and mustard, salt, ground pepper and paprika.
This season I have added panko crumbs to my mix; next level nuggets.
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, Fish & Game Officer