Both Barrels May 2022
OPENING DAY WRAP UP
We had two teams out on what was a very typical top of the South Opening Weekend – fine and calm.
One team in Marlborough focussed mostly on public areas, including at Grovetown Lagoon – a place where hunting takes place next to a popular public walking track.
The team caught up with 14 hunters here, all were fully compliant, with no issues between walkway users and hunters.
Some private ponds were then inspected but had no one shooting them.
More hunters were spoken with at Para Wetland – all were fully compliant as is often the case with public land hunting.
Hunters had moderate to good bags, reflecting our March mallard counts which showed a ~30% increase in birds for the Marlborough sub-region.
The Tasman based team focused on the Motueka/Wangapeka catchment.
The day didn’t start well with the first pond having two un-licenced hunters, both also using lead shot.
This pond is well known to staff and generally holds high numbers of parries offering very good hunting, though is a place where we have caught unlicenced hunters in the past.
One or two hunters were then checked on the Motueka River before the team called in on a number of private ponds in the lower Wangapeka Valley.
There were some fairly happy hunters here with some good bags of birds.
All in all, not a bad start to the season as evidenced by what the compliance teams witnessed, and also feedback from other hunters elsewhere.
Above Right: It was great to see hunters of all ages enjoying the day.
MAIMAI MATTERS - MARLBOROUGH ENVIRONMENT PLAN APPEAL UPDATE
Marlborough hunters will be interested to learn that technically no permanent maimai are permitted within the Marlborough Region on public land currently.
There is a rule within the Marlborough Environment Plan (MeP) stating that temporary maimai only are permitted activities, and any permanent structures require a resource consent.
Until recently the Council have never enforced this rule but in more recent times this was attempted in relation to the Grovetown Lagoons hunting area, where the installation of a public walkway has made the Council nervous around the ongoing activity of hunting in this area, despite it being able to safely co-exist with the walkway into the future in Fish & Game’s view.
At the time maimai removal was sought by Council staff, Fish & Game considered a High Court injunction may have been required as we had a live appeal point seeking permitted activity status for permanent maimai within river and lake beds in Marlborough within the MeP at that stage.
Fortunately the maimai removal did not proceed at that time.
We are however still working through this appeal point with Council, within mediation on the plan and hope to come to a resolution around permitted activity status subject to conditions, which is provided for by most other Councils around the country.
If we are unable to find common ground with Council here, we will unfortunately need to spend a considerable amount of licence holder funding on formal Environment Court hearings on this issue, as existing permanent maimai are a fundamental requirement for successful hunting in many public land areas within this region.
If we do not challenge the current plan rule, in effect by default, the council will be able to close down hunting wherever it sees fit throughout Marlborough by issuing abatement notices to maimai tag holders requiring them to seek a resource consent for permanent maimai or remove them.
Hunters may also be interested to know that one of the permitted activity standards for permanent maimai within Tasman, states the floor area must not be greater than 2m2.
This provision will also be submitted on by Fish & Game on behalf of hunters once the Tasman Resource Management Plan is notified in 2024, as 6-10 m2 is a more realistic standard in our view.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR UPLAND OPPORTUNITIES
Tasman Pine Forests Ltd hunting
After a very successful first year, we have been given the go-ahead again this year and have six forestry blocks within Tasman Pine Forests estate that you can book every weekend of the game season.
The hunting is mainly for quail, though some blocks hold pheasants and ducks too.
Check out this webpage for more information and to book yourself a hunting block.
OneFortyOne forests quail hunting
We have secured vehicle access to large areas of OneFortyOne forest estate for quail hunting over four weekends of the game season.
The deal is that hunters apply to us for a hunting permit to one of four forest areas, these are Golden Downs (max 20 hunters per month); Northbank Wairau (20 hunters), Ngaruru (4 hunters), Bannochburn (4 hunters), then once you have your permit you can fill your boots on the selected weekends, using your vehicle to drive around the vast quail rich forests locating and hunting birds.
If this sounds like you, email here for more info and to go on the list.
Jacob Lucas, Nelson Marlborough Fish & Game Officer.