Southland Both Barrels May 2016
Mixed fortunes for Opening Day
Opening day is probably the only day of the year when I wake up and I’m upset by a lack of wind!
As you’re all painfully aware, we had one of the calmest days for weeks, which made for difficult hunting with ducks taking extra time to survey decoy spreads and setups.
I heard numerous grumblings that Fish & Game had said there were lots of ducks…where are they?
Most experienced hunters recognised there were good numbers of birds about over Opening Weekend, but the calm and settled conditions made it difficult to decoy them.
Everyone’s got stories about shots from neighbours scaring ducks just before they committed! However, the great news is there are still plenty of ducks getting around to encourage more trips to the maimai this season.
Overall harvest for the weekend was on a par with last year, seeing the average weekend bag being just shy of 11 mallards.
Right: Peter Tucker does a count up on Opening Day.
As usual, there was quite a large spread in success between ponds, with one group exclaiming it was the best Opening they’d experienced in 53 years!
Others rated it a pretty poor morning, with not many ducks seen.
Unfortunately we came across quite a few non-compliant hunters and now have a safe full of seized shotguns.
Most of these were unlicensed hunters, with a couple of lead shot offences added.
There seemed to be a bit of confusion around the owner/occupier status or privilege, or cases of hunters trying to claim many more people than an owner, his partner and one child.
Please, if you are uncertain if you qualify for this, call the office and check with a staff member; this is obviously far preferable to finding out after the fact, and potentially having your shotgun seized!
Follow us on Facebook
Southland is now keeping up with the times and has created a Facebook page: Southland Fish & Game. Get online and ‘like’ our page for regular updates on our region!
My first Opening Weekend ranging
I must still be acclimatising to Southland’s weather as I can probably almost count on two hands how many times I have worn shorts this year – but two of those days were on Opening Weekend!
As a fellow game bird hunter I thoroughly enjoyed meeting hunters over Opening Weekend and seeing different set ups and success rates around the region.
However, one thing that particularly stood out to me was the spectrum between those that shoot, and those that hunt.
Next Generation:Harry Wilson with his over and under out enjoying his Opening Weekend.
Fortunately, shooters are in the minority, (and probably only out on Opening?) but tend to be the ones picked up by the media for their antics, with the most recent example the dumping of 18 ducks on Bainfield Road.
As an organisation that advocates for hunters, we can only hope to encourage shooters to become hunters, and urge hunters to continue to contribute to wetland habitat and predator management.
I realise this is a difficult goal, as our thoughts and actions towards taking game reflects our ethics and values, which are deeply rooted in our upbringing.
So I encourage you to elbow your mate in the ribs next time there’s any suggestion of not treating our game birds as a valued resource.
We need to be very careful with how hunters are portrayed to the great bulk of the population, who don’t hunt.
On another note, I was quite surprised at the popularity of electronic callers. In fact, I’m not sure we went to a maimai that didn’t have one (or more) present.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with them. They just seem so…electronic, for lack of a better term!
I know my first attempt at roaring up a stag just got the local possum upset (or laughing) as it cackled away at me, but I am still steadfast against ever using something electronic!
But then again, it’s all what you get out of it, and I get just as much enjoyment and satisfaction from working ducks into a spread, as the actual shooting.
Overall, it was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed yarning to many of our licenceholders, although those without a licence weren’t quite as cheerful.
Remember, the season has only just started and now we’re getting real waterfowling weather! The rain we’re now experiencing will have ducks gorging on worms and potentially ignoring a fed-pond, so consider broadening your options and hunting some surface water.
Good luck and happy hunting!
Fish & Game Officer Erin Garrick
Subscribe via RSS
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- June 2014
- December 2013
- March 2013
- September 2012
- July 2012