Both Barrels July 2023

  • West Coast
  • 17/07/2023

Both Barrels July 2023

Above: Alex Stewart has had some successful late-season evening shots.

Only Two Weekends Left!

With a stable forecast between now and closing day, birds should be predictable, and scouting will be very beneficial.

The frosts forecasted should help concentrate birds and create some good hunting opportunities.

Late-season hunting can bring mixed results, with paired birds being antisocial while lone drakes’ decoy especially hard.

For management purposes hunting the excess drakes rather than pairs is great, so take them if you can!

Like last year, pukeko harvest is right up again on the West Coast, so be sure to fill in your days out hunting by giving them a nudge also.

Scouting makes all the difference when targeting feeding areas such as this wet paddock.(Photo Baylee Kersten)

Lastly, good mobs of swans have been observed around our larger waterbodies and farmers will often readily give access to those wanting to target them.

A great way to round off the season is bagging some big birds!

Opportunities beyond July

Closing day is Sunday the 30th of July, following that, game bird hunters will have to wait till summer to hunt game birds again.

This is allowing the birds to go undisturbed over the breeding season.

Come Summer, from the 1st of January to the 17th of March 2024 hunters will be able to target pukeko (daily bag limit of 20).

Paradise shelduck can be hunted between the 24th of February and the 17th of March 2024 (daily bag limit of 15) at locations 200m away from open water.

Swans can also be hunted between the 24th of February and the 17th of March 2024 (daily bag limit of 4).

You may notice summer bag limits are higher than in previous seasons.

This is to maximise opportunities for licence holders and simplify regulations with consistent bag limits for each species in both winter and summer seasons.  

Alex, Keegan, Dan and Shawn utilising the 2023 summer season. (Photo Baylee Kersten)

The intent of the summer pukeko season is to create additional hunting opportunities for the abundant game birds benefiting both hunters and landowners alike.

It is also hoped that with the longer day length experienced during summer hunters might be able to get out more and take the opportunity to introduce someone new to the sport.

As for the paradise shelduck and swan summer season, this is to aid landowners in dispersing large mobs of post-moult birds off agricultural land.

While you wait for the summer season - Local Clay Bird Target Clubs are always keen to have additional numbers at their events.

Club members are full of knowledge when it comes to shotgun shooting and are more than happy to share it.

Next season you will shoot much better as you will have kept your eye in during the offseason and might have even got rid of the odd bad habit or two.

Organised Hunts

Hunters enjoying the Karamea pukeko drive. (Photo Baylee Kersten)

Organised hunts are completed for the year and were a big success.

Hunter's bagged plenty of birds and had a great time doing so!

Attendance levels were very high this year with more than twenty hunters at all three events.

It's likely we will have to start turning away hunters as twenty hunters is the optimum number for our drives.

West Coast licence holders are given priority to all events, therefore if you’re planning on doing any hunting in the West Coast Region ensure you grab a West Coast licence as we’d hate for you to miss out.

If you are interested in future events and want to be added to keen hunters lists email bkersten@fishandgame.org.nz or contact the office.

There are still a few important dates on this year's calendar so be sure to have a look below.

Event

Date

Location

Closing Weekend

29th & 30st July 2023

Everywhere

Opening of Summer Pukeko Season

1st January 2024

Everywhere

Opening of Summer Paradise Shelduck & Swan Season

24th February 2024

Locations 200m or more from open water for Paradise Shelduck

Closing of Summer Seasons

17th March 2024

Everywhere

 

Get amongst it!

Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer

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