Both Barrels May 2020
Welcome to the season
We are predicting that the 2020 game bird hunting season will provide excellent hunting, but due to Covid-19, not quiet in the normal way.
Central South Island duck numbers are healthy this year!
Right: Time to set your sights on the 2020 game bird season - Credit R Adams
2020 mallard counts are the highest recorded at Wainono Lagoon in our annual drone survey.
We estimated a Wainono Lagoon and wetland populations of 5,183 mallards (including hybrids and grey ducks).
Across the Mid and South Canterbury and North Otago Plains duck numbers are looking great.
Moderate numbers of mallards were observed in March across the plains in CSI in our annual survey and more than normal were seen on our riverbeds.
We suggest you interpret ‘moderate numbers’ as enough to provide some of the best hunting action in New Zealand.
Our annual telephone hunter harvest survey, you know, the phone calls you get through the season, consistently reveals that Central South Island hunters have some of highest harvest of birds for every hour spent in the maimai hunting.
Our second most targeted game bird, paradise shelduck numbers are looking great this season too.
We are predicting that will mean some fantastic shelduck hunting in 2020.
Back in January during our annual shelduck moult count of traditionally used sites, we observed healthy numbers region-wide but there was notable decrease in numbers in the historical moulting stronghold of Wainono Lagoon.
The rest of the traditional high country and coastal moult site had moderate numbers of moulting shelduck.
It was observed that some non-traditional moult sites, irrigation ponds on the plains, not included in the survey, were holding hundreds of birds.
The observation of good numbers of birds on the plains was backed-up in March during our annual plains survey as we recorded the second highest numbers of shelduck on the since the survey began in 2007.
Regulation changes for 2020
There was only one regulation change made for the 2020 season in the Central South Island Region.
The daily bag limit for black swan in ‘Area A’ is now 5.
The regulations change is an increase from 2 to 5 birds at ‘Area A’ and brings all areas within Central South Island in-line to a black swan daily bag limit of 5 birds.
Black swan bag limits in ‘area A’ are based on population counts undertaken at Wainono in summer.
If the population remains at 750 birds or above for two consecutive years, a 5-bird daily bag limit will be notified.
The population has now been above 750 birds three years consecutively.
To read-up on your 2020 game bird hunting regulations including the definition of ‘Area A’ and the new black swan bag limits.
Wainono Lagoon access notification
Hunters who access the northern end of Wainono Lagoon need to be aware that the Waimate District Council has temporarily closed Hook Beach Road for bridge repairs.
Hunters are advised to use the two alternative access option available.
Access is available at Wainono Lake Road (locally known as the Clay Cutting or the Nosh Café access) or the Wainono Lagoon (beach) track off Poingdestres Road (Southern end of lagoon through Fish & Game land).
The bridge repairs were due to be completed prior to the first Saturday in May, however the lockdown has delayed works.
Once repairs are started the work is scheduled to take two to four weeks but given the current situation no start date has been confirmed yet.
Opportunities for you after opening
Opportunities for all licence holders to hunt balloted wetlands owned and/or 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer