Fish & Game hopeful of ‘first rate’ game bird season
Some "outstanding" hunting is in store for game bird hunters when the new season opens this weekend if the weather plays its part, according to Fish & Game.
The season kicks off on Saturday May 4, with some regions in both North and South islands anticipating their best seasons for some time.
Fish & Game Communications Advisor Richard Cosgrove says that rain that’s fallen over large parts of the country in recent weeks, has topped up dam and pond levels after a hot summer, and restored river flows.
In the North Island, Wellington Region staff are predicting one of the best seasons in years. The region includes the Wairarapa and Manawatu.
Further north in Taranaki, there are "strong" mallard populations and paradise shelduck numbers have rebounded.
In the Auckland/Waikato Region Fish and Game field staff are also reporting healthy duck numbers.
Staff in the region say that it had been a great season for mallard breeding.
"All that rain that was cursed before Christmas meant a very prolonged breeding season for the ducks in Auckland/Waikato Region," Mr Cosgrove says.
King Country paradise shelduck populations are healthy, just below the threshold used to consider holding special shelduck seasons.
Richard Cosgrove says that upbeat reports have also come in from the South Island.
In the Central South Island, staff say the latest duck counts are the second highest recorded since annual surveys began in 2007, he says.
"Wainono Lagoon is the CSI’s game bird stronghold and staff undertake individual surveys of this significant hunting ground.
"Last opening the hunting at Wainono was touted as the best in a long time but staff expect it will be just as good, if not better this year."
In Southland, duck numbers are booming, according to Fish & Game population counts.
"The extra rain that the region received in November and December meant that later nesting mallards fared well to have a very productive and successful breeding season," says Mr Cosgrove.
We also have positive reports of duck numbers from our Nelson/Marlborough, North Canterbury and Otago regions, he says.
Mr Cosgrove says that Fish & Game has made every effort to make every licenceholder aware of how they are impacted by the new firearm laws.
We have already noted, he says, that there will be no real change for the majority of game bird hunters "as a case was successfully and sensibly made to retain semi-auto and pump shotguns for game bird hunting."
Game bird hunters can use these firearms so long as their internal magazines only hold five shots.
We hope that by now every hunter is completely familiar with the new firearm laws - and what they need to do to comply, Mr Cosgrove says.
"We have used the channels of newsletters and online postings in particular to spell out to our licenceholders as concisely as possible details of the new laws.
"We have also pushed the message that hunters need to be extra sensitive to the public’s reactions - so they are super aware of how they transport firearms, and how people nearby might react if they hear shots," Mr Cosgrove says.
Follow the advice of the Mountain Safety Council, experts in the safe handling of firearms. Click here. for details and to view some safety videos.
For Police firearms information, visit their website www.police.govt.nz - click on the yellow link called Firearms Law Reform Information.
The Seven Firearm Safety Rules
Rule 1: Treat every firearm as loaded
Rule 5: Check your firing zone