Wellington Weekly Hunting Report April 26
Significant Boost In Bird Numbers
Image right: A small Wairarapa wetland absolutely covered in waterfowl last week (Credit: Hamish Carnachan).
Staff have just finished their mallard population monitoring and the preliminary figures indicate a significant boost in bird numbers in most parts of the region.
Totals for our trend counts in 2018 are well up on the previous year, the second consecutive big boost in duck numbers.
Of note was the fact we recorded almost three times as many ducks in both the Wairarapa plains and Rangitikei hill country as last year. Manawatu counts were also up by a significant amount.
It should be noted that these trend counts are designed to give us a long-term overview of what the mallard population is doing in the Wellington Fish & Game region, and there are many variables that can affect bird distribution on a given day, but the preliminary figures suggest that hunters could reasonably expect to see more birds about this season.
Will The Weather Play Its Part?
Hunters will be hoping for unsettled weather over Opening this season for a change (Credit: Hamish Carnachan)
The ducks are there in good numbers so the next big question is: Will the weather play it's part on Opening Weekend?
Looking at the long range forecast, it looks like fine skies for much of the region over Opening but there's every chance the weather will change.
If not, there's wind predicted for Wellington and Wairarapa and there'll be a good turn out of guns in the Manawatu region to shift birds around anyway.
In the meantime, there are filthy conditions on the cards for this weekend and well into next week. This will certainly stir the birds up and play into hunters' hands for Opening whatever the weather.
Please note that next Thursday's report will feature a full weather run down for each of the sub-regions in the Wellington Fish & Game catchment.
Go For Green
If you go for green and let the hens pass you'll be helping the mallard population
This season, Wellington Fish & Game is challenging hunters to “go for green” and let the hens pass.
Recent research funded by Fish & Game NZ has shown that as little as 35% of mallard hens will survive their first year of life. Predators – cats, stoats and hawks – take their fair share of hens, ut hunters are estimated to shoot at least as many hens as predators kill every year.
In fact, it is was calculated that hunters can take approximately 30% of hens in a single season!
For each one of these hens that is shot, we lose a brood of ducklings for the following season and subsequently have fewer ducks to hunt... Think about that.
Shoot The Season Through
Remember that often the best weather for waterfowling, and subsequently the best hunting, comes later in the season.
Choose you weather -- look for approaching fronts and get yourself in position to intercept the birds that these weather systems disrupt.
Those hunters who hang their gear up after Opening all too often miss out on the best action.
The other great thing about shooting later in the season is that the pressure and hype of Opening Weekend has passed so it's a great relaxed time to take the kids hunting or introduce newbies to the pursuit.
Attention Otaki River Hunters!
Any hunter wanting to hunt on the Otaki estuary river mouth and Crystal's Lagoon must conact the Wellington Fish & Game office.
Hunters need to register for the sites and receive instructions on specific new requirements and restrictions at those sites. Please call (06)3590409.
Grab You Licence The Easy Way
If you haven't already purchased you hunting licence for the 2018 season, it's easy as - just click the image above, fill in a few simple fields on the online licencing website, and you're done. No need to rush out and buy it in a store, you can have it done in a couple of minutes from the comfort of your home.
A receipt will be issued via email and you can use this until your actual licence turns up in the mail, generally within seven days.
Rangers will be out in force this Opening Weekend - Don't get caught without one.
Eye opener shoots are great fun and good way of getting into the swing for game bird season (Credit: Hamish Carnachan)
The following 'eye opener' shoots are still to run:
- The Hutt Valley Clay Target Club is holding a 100 target shoot on Sunday, April 29.
- King and Henry, Masterton, is holding its pre-season clay target shoot at Gladstone Gun Club, Sunday, April 29.
If you know of any other events that you'd like promoted through our Weekly Hunting Report, please let us know.
Wellington Fish & Game is encouraging hunters to keep firearms safety front and centre this season.
Click on the screen shot below to check out some exceptional waterfowl hunting action and important safety tips.
Always remember the seven golden rules of firearms safety:
1. TREAT EVERY FIREARM AS LOADED
- Check every firearm yourself. - Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm.
2. ALWAYS POINT FIREARMS IN A SAFE DIRECTION
- Loaded or unloaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
3. LOAD A FIREARM ONLY WHEN READY TO FIRE
- Load the magazine only after you reach your hunting area. - Load the chamber only when ready to shoot. - Completely unload before leaving the hunting area.
4. IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET BEYOND ALL DOUBT
- Movement, colour, sound and shape can all deceive you. - Assume colour, shape, sound, and shape to be human until proven otherwise.
5. CHECK YOUR FIRING ZONE
- THINK! What may happen if you miss your target? What might you hit between you and the target or beyond? - Do not fire if you know others are in your firing zone.
6. STORE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION SAFELY
- When not in use, lock away the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately. - Never leave firearms in a vehicle that is unattended.
7. AVOID ALCOHOL AND DRUGS WHEN HANDLING FIREARMS
- Good judgement is the key to safe use of firearms.
Fish & Game Magazine is available online!
Check out the best waterfowl photography available and great duck and upland game hunting articles, along with back issues in full ‘flip-book’ format.
It’s all available on the Fish & Game Online website here.
Catch you again next week!