Both Barrels May 2023
- North Canterbury
Above: Matthew Garrick and Whio after a successful day hunting Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.
Opening Weekend wrap up
Eclectic is how I’d describe the hunting on opening weekend for hunters; some hunters we’ve spoken to as part of the game bird hunter harvest survey did really well, whilst others struck out with zero birds harvested.
In some cases, there wasn’t much geographic distance between these groups.
Our hunter harvest data for Opening Weekend average out across the region as follows:
- Mean time spent hunting on Saturday – 6.7 hours
- Mean time spent hunting on Sunday – 4.3 Hours
- Mean greylard harvest Saturday – 4.2
- Mean greylard harvest Sunday – 2.7
- Mean paradise shelduck harvest Saturday – 2.3
- Mean paradise shelduck harvest Sunday – 1.2
Overall, this is a lower harvest on average than last season, but with better hunting weather since opening weekend, many hunters have had some great hunting.
With more winter-like weather, there will be some great hunting opportunities for North Canterbury hunters in the coming weeks.
Compliance - Public land good, but private land abysmal
Fish & Game officer Emily Craig checks the game bird hunting licences of Gary Boyce, middle, and Roger Broomhall on public land near the Waimakariri Gorge.
This year Fish & Game Staff and Rangers targeted primarily private land ponds across our region, and unfortunately, a high level of non-compliance with game bird hunting and firearms regulations were detected.
With only one offence detected on public land, public land hunters (and firearms users in general) have been let down by high levels of non-compliance by hunters on private land ponds.
In short, we have seized many firearms (17 shotguns in total) and a significant amount of shotgun ammunition (>850 primarily lead shells).
The seriousness of the offences means that we are progressing straight to preparation for court charges with all of them.
Some of the offenders will then be offered an opportunity to take up Diversion (which, if accepted, means they pay a set fine and may have to complete firearms safety training but avoid getting a criminal charge laid in court).
Others, mainly those with multiple offences or where due to the seriousness of the offence, Diversion is not an applicable option, will likely need to be prosecuted fully through the court system.
The level of non-compliance and associated issues around alcohol and abandoned firearms detected over the opening weekend has kicked off a national-level conversation around the need for Fish & Game NZ to engage with the Firearms Safety Authority, NZ Police, as well as Fed Farmers, Beef & Lamb, and Dairy NZ around finding ways to help to bring the rural community up to speed with the current firearms safety and regulations.
Upcoming dates - Pheasant shooting
The first weekends of June, July and August are when North Canterbury hunters can partake in some of the best public land wild pheasant hunting in the country.
Hunters from across New Zealand come to try their and their dogs’ skills against willy pheasants in our big, braided riverbeds.
Don't miss the opportunity to try your skills out on theses wonderful birds.
Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish and Game