Game bird hunters ‘first step’ towards promising new season
Keen game bird hunters will soon take the first step towards bagging some wild game when the new hunting season opens - with game bird hunting licences for the 2019 season on sale from today.
Nixon Martin duck calling on his first hunt with family members.
For thousands of hunters, buying a hunting licence means they can hunt waterfowl including ducks, along with upland game birds such as pheasants, from Opening Day - Saturday, May 4.
Licences are available at many sports stores or online through the Fish & Game website www.fishandgame.org.nz (click on ‘licences’).
New Zealand Fish & Game Council Chief Executive Martin Taylor says that harvesting game birds for the dinner table is a time-honoured Kiwi tradition.
“Game bird hunting is just as relevant today as increasingly, people seek out unprocessed whole foods.
“Wild game meat is a good source of lean protein, free range meat without chemical additives or hormones.”
Mr Taylor says those who hunt create a smaller environmental footprint by bringing their own food to the dinner table.
Fish & Game is a statutory body funded and governed by licenceholders with predictable spinoff benefits for other wildlife from creating and improving wetlands around the country, Mr Taylor says.
All hunting licences are required to display a game bird habitat stamp on them with the money raised used to enhance wild life habitat.
Through this game bird licence income, hunters have protected and maintained wetlands throughout the country.
“This has benefited overall biodiversity by providing habitat for native fish and birds,” Mr Taylor says.
“Projects to enhance or restore wetlands in different parts of the country have benefited adult whitebait for example, and birds such as the endangered Australasian bittern and rare black stilt.”
The general public are also encouraged to buy the stamps. Martin Taylor reminds people that anyone, not just hunters, can do their bit to help fund various wildlife restoration projects.
Prospects for the coming game bird season starting from the first Saturday in May are looking good.
Fish & Game staff say that while many areas have suffered from a dry start to the year, a reasonably damp spring through much of the country provided ducks with good breeding opportunities.
Some regions have good numbers of pheasant and California quail, with the bonus for upland game bird hunters, that the season runs all the way to near the end of August.
In Nelson/Marlborough, for the first time in years, chukar partridge are back on the licence, offering the dedicated upland game hunter a rare opportunity. The chukar is the game bird of the year on this year’s habitat stamp.
Native to the Middle East and southern Asia, chukar are found in many South Island high country regions.
- For more information and to buy a licence, click here
- Game bird licences are also available at sports and outdoor stores.