Both Barrels May 2023

  • Taranaki
  • 15/05/2023

Opening morning overview

Opening morning dawned with low clouds, drizzle, and some wind for much of the region, the most unsettled weather we’ve had for an opening morning in a long time.

Some good bags of fat mallards were taken for the table, but the opening probably wasn’t as productive as last year.

Local Waimarino hunters reported a stunning sunrise on Saturday morning, and plenty of birds in the air, but the ducks were a little wary about coming into the decoys.

Elsewhere in the region, Waverley hunters reported only average bags of ducks, but hunters still had an enjoyable weekend.

Hunters on the Taranaki ringplain had the best of it, with some excellent bags of mallards and paradise shelduck taken.

Above Right: Ian Phillips reached his 15-bird limit on mallards on both days of opening weekend, using his trailer-mounted maimai parked next to a farm oxidation pond.

With all the rain we’ve had, there are ephemeral wetlands everywhere.

Puddles of water in paddocks provide great feeding areas for ducks, and they will have spread the birds out from permanent water ponds that are traditionally shot on opening weekend.

Bag limits return to normal

A reminder that the opening weekend daily bag limit of 15 mallards per person per day has now reverted to the usual 10-bird daily bag limit.

Fish & Game Rangers are still out monitoring hunting activity and will be keeping an eye on bag limits. 

Plenty more hunting opportunities

A nice mixed bag after a calm morning shoot on a farm dam.

Although the buzz of opening morning has passed, there are still plenty of opportunities left in the season to get out and put some birds on the deck.

The harvest of late-season maize seed crops will be an ideal opportunity to target paradise shelduck and mallards alike as they feed in the leftover stubble.

With all this rain we’ve had, it’s incredible how much standing water there is, providing a perfect opportunity for a quick shoot after work.

Staff have also noticed plenty of mallards on newly grazed paddocks feeding on worms and grubs, so this could also be an option.

Farms feeding out maize silage to stock will also be hot spots for hunting activity, and there are also plenty of smaller ponds and oxidation ponds not shot on opening weekend that will be holding ducks.

Day Licences are now on sale!

Day game bird hunting licences are now available via the Fish & Game website or at your local licence agent.

Day licences are a great way to introduce new people and give them a taste of what duck hunting is all about. 

Return Bands

Please remember to send in any details of duck bands.

If you've successfully harvested a duck with a band on its leg, we need your help. 

This information is crucial to our research and management - so please provide as much detail as possible, including an approximate location.

This is for our records only.

The preferred method is to fill out an online form via the link: Send in your duck bands

or else contact the Taranaki Fish & Game office at 0212700239 or email taranaki@fishandgame.org.nz

Send in your band details before August 31, and you'll go in the Banding Together draw. 

Hunting & Fishing NZ, in association with Banded Avery, have generously provided five prizes consisting of two boxes of Banded XD (extra detail) decoys.

This includes one box of mallards and one box of NZ shoveler decoys.

When we receive the weekly update of band returns from DOC’s Falcon database we try to get the information out to hunters as soon as possible.

The data we receive allows us to inform hunters of the sex and age of the bird when banded (adult or juvenile) and when and where the bird was banded.

We also include a map with the distance between the banding and recovery locations (some birds travel over 240 km!)

Warm Barrels 

Jacob Morison, Taranaki Fish and Game Field Officer.

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