Our Hunting FAQs cover the answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions about game bird hunting in New Zealand. The questions are split into useful topics so it should be easy to find what you are looking for.
If you can't find what you are looking for, or for more information on any topic, please contact your local Fish & Game office or the New Zealand Council on (04) 499 4767 or by email.
To find out the latest licence information, including prices, please click here.
Reporting a bird band
If you have a banded bird in your bag, please report it by writing, emailing or ringing the National Banding Office (details here) or complete an online band reporting form available through the link below.
Bands allow researchers and conservation managers to study the life cycle (births, deaths, age of breeding), habits such as bird behaviour, breeding activities and what they eat, and also the movements of birds. Each metal band carries its own unique prefix and number.
The Online Form for Game Birds can be found here. Use this form if you have a band from a game bird. Game birds include: mallard, grey and paradise ducks, black swan, pukeko, pheasant, and quail.
Hawk status changed
The 2012 Wildlife (Australasian Harrier) Notice still allows landowners to take necessary steps to protect their domestic animals and/or domestic birds from hawks, however, there are some important changes. The new law means you can take the necessary measures to protect your domestic birds. Read the full article here.
The grey teal - to be a game bird or not to be a game bird?
The fight to have the grey teal given game bird status continues, though after 40 years are we any closer to a resolution? Read the full article here.
Lead poisoning in game birds
Game birds ingest grit to aid the physical breakdown and digestion of the food they eat. If lead shot is available, they may ingest that too. Read the full facts sheet here.
We have many other answers to frequently asked question regarding to hunting in New Zealand on our general Frequently Asked Questions section.
It is hunting for birds such as ducks, swans, pheasants, partridges and quail. The species available to game bird hunters are defined in the Wildlife Act 1953. Some of these birds are native to New Zealand (such as the paradise shelduck and the grey duck), while others were brought to New Zealand for hunting.
Fish & Game NZ is not responsible for any other kinds of hunting. We do not cover deer hunting (try the Deerstalkers Association).
Game Birds: The Wildlife Act 1953 schedule 1 defines the following species as wildlife declared to be game birds:
- Black swan (Cygnus atratus) (except on Chatham Islands)
- Chukar (Alectoris chukar): except on Chatham Islands
- Australasian shoveler (Anas rhynchotis)
- Grey duck (Anas superciliosa) and any cross of that species with any other species, variety, or kind of duck (except on Chatham Islands).
- Mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) and any cross of that species with any other species, variety, or kind of duck (except on Chatham Islands).
- Paradise shelduck (Tadorna variegata)
- Grey partridge (Perdix perdix): except on Chatham Islands
- Red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa rufa): except on Chatham Islands
- any bird, not being a domestic bird, of the genus Phasianus and any cross of any such bird with any other species, variety, or kind of pheasant: except on Chatham Islands
- Pukeko (Porphyrio melanotus) (except on Chatham Islands).
- Bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus): except on Chatham Islands
- Brown quail (Coturnix ypsilophora): except on Chatham Islands
- California quail (Callipepla californica): except on Chatham Islands
An adult game bird hunting licence costs $100 and a junior’s $22. You’ll find all the information on hunting licences and fees by clicking here.
These are found in the First Schedule section of the “Game Bird Hunting Guide” supplied free with your licence. Or else visit our page here, which has a short Q and A .
Each Fish & Game region has its own set of regulations working in conjunction with the national regulations. Details of all the hunting regulations can be found on our Hunting Regulations page here.
On that page you’ll also find links to the latest North and South Island hunting guides. They are a mine of information covering seasons, bag limits and much more. You should have received one when you bought your hunting licence, but you can download them here.
If you are setting out to build a maimai there is plenty of more detailed ‘how to’ advice here, including construction guidelines and plans.
Mastering duck calls will improve your success rate significantly. Adequate calling is not difficult, but requires some practice. You will find some general advice here
To learn more, there's a very good chapter on calling on our 'Introduction to Duck Hunting' DVD, available from your nearest Fish & Game office. And if you want to hear how the experts do it, click here to watch a video with Kiwi calling champion Hunter Morrow’s tips .
Firstly, gut your bird as soon as possible. Putting a good meal on the table begins the moment you shoot a duck, parrie, or other game bird. It’s essential that once you’ve gutted or breasted the bird, that you keep your game meat cool. Click here for lots of advice on plucking, gutting, breasting and cooking.
Every hunter who sends in their band details by August 31st can go in the draw. One hunter can have multiple entries but it’s only one entry per duck band. There are other conditions – click here for details.
You can win one of five great decoy packages from Hunting & Fishing.