Both Barrels July 2022
If you’ve been driving through the country recently, keeping an eye on likely spots, you will have noticed just how many mallard pairs there are.
This is very encouraging to see. More recently, all the recent rain has resulted in serious flooding.
There is a theory that these early water level rises caution ducks to retreat further back onto higher, drier land where their peak-nesting-season eggs, in the next few weeks to come, will be safer in the event of any bigger floods to follow.
Those early birds caught out can also second nest if they lost their first nest in its initial stages.
One problem is that many landowners have grazed and sprayed down to the water’s edge, so there often isn’t any cover left standing higher up.
We’ve seen successful nests in cover that has already been sprayed, for instance, so it simply won’t be there for ducks in future.
It’s also true that many landowners now fence off and plant their waterways and also less productive or erosion-prone corners of the land, which we fully encourage.
Pheasants and quail breed later in the year, and so they continue to be on the licence along with pukeko in July and August.
Above Right: First of this season. There are plenty of pheasants about in suitable localities
Just keep a close eye on your dog in the swamp to make sure it is a rooster they’re after, not a sitting duck.
Take care, too, in any flood waters you encounter.
An inflatable lifejacket that you’ll hardly notice unless you need it may be prudent in some scenarios.
In our recent Gamebird Harvest Survey of randomly selected hunters, many reported they’d sent their bands for this season in.
Reach over and pat yourself on the back if you too, have already done so.
We also heard a range of excuses by some who hadn’t, usually involving bands hanging on nails in sheds, still in the glove box or on top of the fridge.
If you can send in your band/s before the end of the game bird season, 28 of August, you’ll still be in the draw for some well-worthwhile prizes.
If the bands are from a previous year, be sure to tell us as this is important.
You will still be entered in the prize draw, as it is the date of reporting that determines if you are eligible for prizes each year.
The odds are as good as the prizes, so get onto that today.
It's a great time too, to make a to-do list of the stuff that needs repair or replacement before next season.
Check the expiry date on your firearms licence too.
It’s currently taking fully a year for many renewals and two years for any new licence.
Yet passports take just 22 days to renew and, in emergencies, can be replaced in a mere 24 hours.
If your firearms licence expires through no fault of your own, you’re being told that you are now in illegal possession of your own firearm/s and have to move it/them into another licensed gun owner's safe, assuming they’re not in the same boat.
Fish & Game have expressed their serious concerns over such poor service to the previous Police Minster.
Please be polite to local district Arms Officers who are not responsible for this mess.
The new Police Minister, Chris Hipkins, is promising to address this fiasco.
Any improvements he might make can’t come soon enough in our opinion.
John Dyer, Auckland Waikato Fish & Game