Both Barrels May 2023
Above: A fine start to the season for Wairarapa’s Mitchell family, who hunted public land over Opening Weekend.
Season Off To A Great Start
The season has got off to a good start with plenty of ducks around, as was expected ahead of Opening, with our trend counts showing a solid increase in bird numbers.
As is often the case, the Opening Weekend hunt was limited by the weather, but most parties encountered by rangers had reasonable mixed bags of birds.
What followed the next Thursday though – a big southerly ripping up the lower North Island – really set things alight!
Those who could get out on the water for Thursday and Friday had exceptional shooting, with the wind whipping the big water into waves and forcing the ducks to move around looking for cover.
It just goes to show that the best hunting coincides with the worst weather, so we encourage hunters to get out as much they can when the conditions deteriorate and maximise the value from your game bird hunting licence.
If you haven’t yet got around to buying a licence, don’t worry – the best hunting is still to come as we head into winter. Grab you licence [link to buy licence page]and get back into the action.
Plenty More Hunting Ahead
Hopefully, we’ll see more rugged weather in the weeks ahead, as there’s plenty more hunting to be had yet.
At this time of the season, it requires a little more of a rethink when setting decoys – less is more with ducks already starting to pair up – so natural-looking spreads will pay dividends.
Also, look to target some swans this season.
Like most waterfowl populations in the lower North Island, swan numbers are up and, particularly around the bigger waterways like Lake Wairarapa, the build-up can create problems for adjacent farmers when they move onto pasture and start grazing.
Now that Opening weekend is behind, and we can take a more relaxed approach to our hunting, it’s also an ideal opportunity to take a mate out and introduce them to this awesome pursuit!
Grab them a licence and partner up one of these weekends.
Weekly Hunting Intel
If you’re after the ultimate in hunting intel for the season, sign up for Wellington Fish & Game’s weekly Game Bird Hunting Bulletin.
Every week we’ll send you updates on what’s happening, the latest weather alerts for the weekend ahead, tips, videos and other useful info to help you get the most from your season.
We’ve even got competitions we run throughout the season with some great prizes up for grabs.
Get Those Band Details Back To Us And Win
We’re happy for hunters to keep the bands; we just after the info about where the duck was taken.
There's been a brilliant response to our call for hunters to get duck band info back to us – hundreds of bands have been recovered so far!
Thanks to everyone who has been in touch - you'll be automatically put in the draw for one of two $500 Hunting & Fishing vouchers from Simon and the team at Manawatu Hunting & Fishing.
If you've got a band yet to be registered, ring the free phone number 0800 BIRD BAND (0800-247322).
Alternatively, there's a ready-made form to fill out on the Fish & Game website here (Note: prizes may vary from what is advertised on the website).
Hamish Carnachan, Fish & Game Officer/Senior Communications Officer Wellington Fish and Game council