Game Season 2020

Here's what you need to know for the new Game Season in the Eastern Region.

For a start, here are some key dates and checklists and at the bottom are some helpful info links for you.

The Eastern Region game bird season begins on Saturday, May 4, and the mallard season runs until June 3, 2019.

March 14 – licences went on sale - click here to buy one! Adult $96, Junior $22

Stake a claim – Pegging Day (aka tagging, marking) from 10am, Sunday, April 7

Rules & regs - The daily bag limit for mallard and grey duck is eight birds (only 4 in the Reporoa area).

The upland game bird season allows birds including pheasant (daily limit 5) and pukeko (daily limit 10) to be hunted until August 25.

For details of other species’ seasons and limits in Eastern, Refer to your Game Bird Hunting Guide 2019 booklet or click here to read it online.  



2019 Game Bird licence image4

  • A game bird hunting licence - click here
  • Regulations booklet that applies to your region (or click here)
  • ‘Non toxic’ ammunition


  • Confirm access with landowners (say ‘thank you’!)
  • Get permits to hunt on Fish & Game, DOC and forestry lands


  • Claim your hunting spot with the tag that comes with your licence
  • Fix any leaks, rotten boards, seating
  • Finish camouflaging maimai with camo net or vegetation Find tips on building a maimai or camouflaging here
  • Make sure vegetation isn’t blocking your firing zone or where the ducks will land
  • Make sure your access path is cleared and safe to use


  • Clean & rig decoys – get a few new ones if needed
  • Ensure your shotgun is in tip-top condition
  • Make sure your shotgun magazine complies with the rules – look here for how to put a plug in your magazine
  • Check and double-check that you don’t have any lead shot ammunition in your duck hunting bag
  • Make sure your boots and waders are still waterproof
  • If you are using a kayak or rowboat, ensure it’s shipshape
  • If you are hunting on open water, check your lifejackets
  • Continue your dog’s fitness regime, check vaccinations & worming


  • Practice your shooting – organise a clay bird session with your mates before the season starts
  • Pattern your shotgun – get to know the ammunition and chokes you are using
  • Practice your calling – make sure you know what you are doing with your duck call.  For tips from NZ duck calling champ Hunter Morrow, click here
  • Practice with your dog – reinforce the basic commands and have a refresher on retrieving. Remember to keep your dog on a leash when moving through farm stock, or meeting up with other people and their dogs.

Hunting away from home? Check the regulations for the region you’re going to: (click on the region's link for regional hunting info).


  • Carry hunting and firearms licence at all times
  • Be safe with firearms and on the water - know the seven rules for safe firearm handling - click here
  • Be an ambassador for hunters - hunt ethically & responsibly
  • Clean your game bird harvest quickly to ensure the best quality meat for your table
  • Bury waste after cleaning your birds
  • Follow the rules


  • Drink & hunt
  • Leave rubbish at your stand
  • Be unethical – respect your quarry and the hunting regulations


Eastern Hunting Spots