Both Barrels July 2022
2022 SEASON WRAP UP
According to our fortnightly hunter harvest surveys, harvest and hunter effort was fairly typical this season.
On average, each Southland hunter spent about 20 hours hunting and harvested 23 mallards and 2 paradise shelduck for the season.
Black swans, shoveler and Canada geese made up a small proportion of the waterfowl hunter’s bag.
For those of you that put in more than 20 hours of hunting this season and harvested 23 or more mallards, well done.
Going hunting as much as you can throughout the season is the best way to get the most bang for your buck out of your game bird hunting licence.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the Southland hunters who participated in our fortnightly game bird hunter harvest surveys – we really appreciate it.
Above Right: hunter harvest data is critical for the management of our game birds.
HUNTER OPINION ON SEASON LENGTH
Every year, Southland F&G staff field hunter comments in relation to season length.
Some hunters contend that a three-month season allows them more opportunity to go hunting, take the kids out and work with their dogs.
Other hunters firmly believe a two-month season is adequate and preserves birds whilst they are pairing up.
Both are equally valid arguments, and these differing opinions make setting the season length difficult for the Southland Fish & Game Council.
When it comes to setting the game bird hunting regulations, hunter perceptions are an element that needs important consideration alongside population data and knowledge of mallard breeding ecology.
During our recent hunter harvest surveys, we asked a group of randomly selected hunters their season length preference.
We found that 6% wanted a six-week season, 15% wanted a two-month season, 36% were happy with a 2.5-month season (the current season length), 23% wanted a three-month season and 25% of hunters either did not know what season length they preferred or did not have a preference.
This information will be provided to the Southland Fish and Game Council before they set the 2023 game bird hunting regulations in December.
The Southland Council is very committed to striking the right balance between the provision of hunting opportunity, hunter ethics/perceptions, and mallard breeding ecology.
IT’S TIME TO GET COOKING
Hopefully, you have made the most of the season and have plenty of mallards in the freezer, ready and waiting for the table.
When thinking about cooking your mallards, be adventurous – although a good roast duck is delicious, roasting is not the only option.
For example, if you have access to a mincer, this can open up all sorts of opportunities – think meatballs, meat patties and meatloaf.
Think of novel ways to eat your mallards.
If you haven’t tried pairing your mallards with a burger bun, pita pocket or wrap, that would be a great place to start and is often a winner amongst the kids.
If you need some cooking ideas, the Fish & Game cookbook is a great place to start.
Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game