Both Barrels April 2022
2022 Game bird season in the Eastern Region
The game bird season kicks off on the 7th of May. Our prediction is that the opening weekend will be similar to the last three years.
The mallard population in the Eastern Region is influenced by a number of factors including total winter and summer rainfall.
The previous year's population size and how many mallards get harvested during the preceding season are also important factors.
Above Right: Staff banding mallard, grey duck and paradise shelduck on the East Coast.
This last year, winter rainfall was below normal and summer rainfall above normal (we use the Whakatane weather station).
So, a mixed bag for the breeding season, as far as the weather goes.
Nevertheless, the adult female population is still relatively low.
Despite this, our trap sample showed that the ratio of juveniles to adults was better than in the last few years and it is the juveniles that predominately get shot over Opening Weekend so perhaps a good start for some hunters.
Black swan numbers are still excellent while paradise shelduck are similar to previous years as are shoveler duck.
Upland game populations appear to have started the summer off well and we think most of the young birds would have been big enough to tolerate the wet weather later in the summer.
Pukeko are still numerous and pose a nuisance to some landowners so make the most of the long season for this species.
Check your 2022-2023 game bird regulation guide as there are two special black swan seasons with the aim of reducing the Tauranga harbour population.
Finally, there is a mistake in the regulation guide for black swan in Management Area A2.
It should read the season for black swan in A2 is 7 May – 3 July 2022.
Matthew McDougall, Eastern Fish & Game Officer.