Eastern Both Barrels April 2018

Healthy prospects for Opening Day?

With only days to go before the new game bird season kicks off, we’re feeling pretty optimistic for our Eastern Region’s 3,500-plus game bird hunters.

Right: banding in full swing near Te Puke.

As we’ve noted, mallard populations are generally on the way up in the region. This summer we trapped more mallards as part of our banding work, than in any other year.

Nearly 2000 birds were trapped and banded. You may recall that last season we predicted populations were increasing and for some hunters it was their “best season ever.”

But really good hunting was not widespread and most hunters had an average sort of a season, with calm fine weather a key factor. Let’s hope the good hunting this season will be far more widespread. 

Click here to read up on our latest monitoring results – including information on parries and black swan. 

It’s an old saying but a goodie: the joy is in the doing not the getting. Don’t be too hung up on how many birds you harvest, focus on the pleasures of an enjoyable time outdoors with family, relations and friends.    

Eastern GB 4 2

Fish & Game's John Meikle passes on some decoy tips.

Tips & reminders

  • Don’t leave buying your licence until the last minute – if you haven’t got yours, get one now.  Click here to snap one up. The $94 for an adult licence (juniors $21.00) buys you nearly four months of hunting in Eastern if you take advantage of the longer season for upland game birds, pooks and swans that runs to nearly the end of August.
  • Know your bag limits – in Eastern that’s 8 mallards or greys across the region except for the Reporoa-Broadlands area where it’s 4, with an earlier close of June 3.
  • Remember you have to carry two licences with you – your game bird and firearms licences. To be safe, take photos of them both with your cellphone (don’t forget your phone!) to save embarrassment when the rangers come along.  
  • Three-shot rule – no excuse for not complying with this magazine restriction that applies not only in Eastern but in our neighbouring regions of Auckland/Waikato and Hawke’s Bay.
  • If you’re hunting on private land with the owner or occupier’s permission, remember to leave things exactly as you found them –don’t leave any spent cartridges (the topic of plastic wadding left behind has already made headlines!) and shut gates behind you.

Send in duck band details!Banding Together jacket

Don’t forget that Hunting & Fishing is putting up a prize pack worth nearly $600 if you return your duck band details and get in the draw. You can win a top quality duck hunting jacket plus a six-pack of state of the art decoys. Five names will be drawn out – one entry per duck band only.  Remember, we don’t need the band – only the details – click here for our banding form !     

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