Both Barrels June 2023
Above Right: Small flooded hollows like this don’t look much but can provide good evening hunting.
July is the time to do some scouting and find quiet spots where mallards will be hiding away.
These could be willow-covered ponds, river backwaters, or sheltered coastal areas, which mallards tend to favour this time of year.
Small ephemeral ponds or flooded hollows in paddocks don’t look like much but can be productive right on dark…earlier if there is wind and rain.
If you find a refuge area such as this, take note of how many birds are using it and where they are positioned, and return in the morning and try and replicate the scene with your decoy spread – you generally only need a handful of decoys for hunting this time of year in this region.
July is also drake month, a time of year when single drakes are frequently flying and easily swayed into your decoys with a lone hen call. Hunters' Feedback indicates plenty of drakes around this year, so harvesting these over hens will also benefit the mallard population next year.
Local Catchment Groups are Doing Great Work
In this region, there are a string of catchment groups that are all undertaking great environmental initiatives, with assistance from NZ Landcare Trust, local Councils, and other groups.
Opportunities abound to get involved in local conservation projects.
Recently there has been a huge upswing from farmers and landowners who want to do something positive on their land, as well as plenty of great mahi getting done on public land areas.
Initiatives such as building wetlands, native planting projects, weed control, and predator trapping are all currently booming across the region, and it is exciting to see this momentum build on the already excellent work done by many of our farmers to date.
The great thing about local catchment groups is how they involve the general public, and opportunities abound for everyone who wants to get involved.
Most hunters and anglers are conservationists at heart, and it would be great to see more of us volunteering our time towards these important environmental projects.
Here are links to a few of them, and you can always contact the Nelson Fish & Game office to get more info:
Tasman Environment Trust: responsible for many local planting/trapping initiatives. https://www.tet.org.nz/get-involved
Te Hoiere/Pelorus Restoration: There’s an open invitation to anyone who wants to join Te Hoiere Project efforts to revitalise the catchment through fencing, planting, weed and animal pest control and community action. Email Catchment Coordinator, Aubrey Tai Aubrey.Tai@marlborough.govt.nz | https://www.facebook.com/TeHoierePelorusRestorationProject/
Motueka Catchment Collective: organises a host of planting days, information evenings, and more: https://www.tet.org.nz/projects/motueka-catchment-collective/
Moutere Catchment Group:
Register for Pukeko Drive at Wakapuaka
We are still looking for hunters to join us on the Wakapuaka Pukeko drive on Sunday, 9 July. If you are keen to join, email me here.
Jacob Lucas, Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game