Where to Hunt Game Birds

Hunting in Central South Island Public Lands



Many of Central South Island’s larger riverbeds and lakes are public lands. It is still important to advise the adjoining landowner when you wish to hunt these areas. This common courtesy often results in the farmer providing useful information and better access.

Game bird hunting on Department of Conservation managed land is available in certain areas and to hunt there you require a DOC game bird hunting permit. Unlike big game hunting permits, DOC game bird hunting permits are not available from the website, instead you must obtain them and any other localised information by directly contacting or visiting the relevant DOC office. The permits detail unique restrictions and conditions to the DOC district issuing the permit. Be sure to abide by these conditions as this will ensure hunting continues to be available on DOC land in future.

DOC District Office Contacts:

• Raukapuka / Geraldine District Office: ph. 03 6931010, email esienquiries@doc.govt.nz

• Te Manahuna / Twizel District Office: ph. 03 4350802, email esienquiries@doc.govt.nz


The Rakaia Riverbed is not within the CSI Fish and Game Region. The northern boundary of the region adjacent to the Rakaia River extends along Acton Road, Rakaia Barrhill Methven Road and Rakaia River Road.


Hunting along the Rangitata Diversion Race is possible but strictly with permission from RDR Management Ltd (ph. 03 3080828) and the adjoining landowners.


Wainono Lagoon is near the township of Waimate and some 35 km south of Timaru. Adjacent to the coastal shingle beach barrier, the lagoon (lake) at its normal water level (1m above sea level) covers about 350 hectares. The beach barrier, lagoon, and surrounding wetlands provide habitat for some 57 different bird species, many resident and others migratory. Wainono Lagoon is a ‘Conservation Area’ managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Hunting is permitted and DOC game bird hunting permit is required. This can be obtained free of charge by phoning 03 6931010 or esienquiries@doc.govt.nz There is no ballot system for the lagoon and many of the existing stands are reserved for traditional hunters. Other than possibly during Opening Weekend, there is still plenty of opportunity for visiting hunters

Access to the lagoon:

• North side – via Hook Beach Road and then a 4WD track along the beach

• Middle – via Wainono Lake Road; a track opposite Waimate turnoff on SH1

• South side – via Foleys Road and then Poindestres Road over the Dead Arm Bridge to the beach and then a walking track along the beach past Maori Lake and the Wainono Wetland Reserve.


Depending on water levels, CSI Fish & Game has between 11 and 15 stands available for hunting the Opening Weekend on wetlands it owns or manages. Ballot information, maps and application forms are available here or by contacting the CSI Fish & Game Office in Temuka. Ballot applications are accepted from 1 February to 1 March and the ballot is drawn on the next working day.  


Any game bird licence holder wishing to hunt Fish & Game managed wetlands after Opening Weekend are required to obtain a permit from the Central South Island Fish & Game Office in Temuka. Permits can be obtained here or by contacting the CSI office in Temuka. Obtaining a permit will ensure you have up-to-date information on access requirements and rules. 


Wainono Wetland Reserve adjoins Wainono Lagoon at its southern end and is separated by a stop bank. CSI Fish & Game Council owns the reserve and administer a ballot for nine hunting stands each Opening Weekend. You can find more information here.

To hunt this wetland after Opening Weekend you must obtain a permit from CSI Fish & Game. Access to the Wainono wetland reserve from State Highway 1 is via Foleys Road, Hannaton Road and then Poindestres Road over the Wainono Lagoon outlet creek bridge to the beach and then a rough four-wheel drive or walking track heading northwards.


This small coastal lagoon, 11 hectares in area, is located 15 km south of Oamaru on the Kakanui-Waianakarua coastal road. The area was purchased by CSI Fish and Game in 1989. A natural sandbar acts as a weir and provides a small lagoon habitat for both waterfowl and wading birds. The sandbar forms and washes away with changing environmental conditions. At times the lagoon is drained and will only refill once the natural sand bar reforms. The lagoon and its birdlife are readily observed from the road. Visits from the occasional white heron or royal spoonbill are not uncommon and add to the scenic attraction of the area. All Day Bay Lagoon is also protected by a QE II National Trust Open Space Covenant.

Three hunting stands are balloted annually by CSI Fish and Game Council for Opening Weekend, you can find more information how to hunt All Day Bay here. To hunt this wetland after Opening Weekend you must obtain a permit from CSI Fish & Game.  


Owned by the Meikle Family Trust, this 15-ha lake and associated wetland is situated on Devil’s Bridge Road some six kilometres north west of Oamaru. By agreement between the owner and CSI Fish and Game, the area is managed by the Devil’s Bridge Management Committee. Three stands are balloted each year by CSI Fish and Game for Opening Weekend, you can find more information how to hunt this wetland here. To hunt this wetland after Opening Weekend you must obtain a permit from CSI Fish & Game and contact the Trust representative Aaron Meikle Ph 0274 989 703 or aaron.meikle@gmail.com 


In February 2005, a two-weekend summer duck hunting season was trialled, on condition that it was monitored to ensure there was no adverse impact on the traditional May duck season opening. The season is now well established and provides opportunities to hunt mallards and paradise shelduck that congregate around grain and green feed crops in February.


When hunting on or near public land be aware of two relevant sections of the Arms Act 1983. Section 45 states “Every person commits an offence who, except for some lawful, proper, and sufficient purpose carries; or is in possession of…any firearm.” And “…the burden of proving the existence of some lawful, proper, and sufficient purpose shall lie on the defendant.” Section 48 states “Every person commits an offence … who, without reasonable cause, discharges a firearm … in or near:

(a) a dwelling house; Or

(b) a public place, - so as to endanger property or to endanger, annoy, or frighten, any person.”

The message is clear – be careful and considerate around other people and their property.

Chukar Hunting

Chukar hunting is by permit only. Permits are available on request from the Fish and Game office in Temuka, phone 03 6158400.


Central South Island Hunting Spots