Duck hunters look forward to more rain after season opening
- Richie Cosgrove
Fine weather and light wind has again favoured the ducks on opening day of the game bird season in Otago.
Duck hunters came from as far away as Perth, Australia, and throughout New Zealand for the region’s season opening on Saturday (May 7).
“Many harvests were in light to average numbers and dominated by paradise shelducks,” Otago Fish & Game officer Bruce Quirey said.
“As always, there were notable exceptions as some hunters on rivers and large ponds bagged their limit of mallards.”
Rain on Sunday improved hunting conditions by encouraging the waterfowl to move about and fly low. Hunters will welcome the forecast for rain and southerlies on Monday and Tuesday.
Above Right: Duck hunters (from left) Craig Hayward, of Mosgiel, and brothers James Mason, of Winton, and Michael Mason, of Milton, bagged a feed of mallards at Ashley Downs, in South Otago, on Saturday. PHOTO: IAN HADLAND, OTAGO FISH & GAME
Fish & Game rangers patrolled across Otago on opening day, in many cases with support from police.
Rangers found 95% of hunters were compliant with regulations, Mr Quirey said.
“We are pleased the vast majority of duck hunters are following the rules this season,” he said.
“However, we’re also disappointed in a small number of hunters who have let others down.”
Rangers accompanied by police seized a total of four firearms for regulation offences on Saturday.
Firearms were seized from two hunters for leaving loaded shotguns unattended in a maimai and for shooting with lead near water.
Two other hunters had firearms seized and were issued infringement notices for hunting without game bird licences.
The season for mallard, grey and shoveller ducks and, in some areas, black swans continues for three months.