Northland & Taranaki regions offer special summer game bird hunting opportunities
Hunters are in the North Island are being offered some summer hunting opportunities in a couple of regions next weekend - in advance of the traditional May start of the hunting season.
Fish & Game is holding special summer hunting seasons for paradise shelduck in Northland and Taranaki over the weekend of 25 and 26 February.
Northland Fish & Game Officer Andrew Kirk says the weekend season will help the region’s farmers protect their pastures and crops from damage caused by the birds.
The birds gather in their hundreds to moult at this time of year, and the numbers congregating on farmland can wreak havoc on chicory crops and hay paddocks, he says.
The weekend hunting helps to disperse the ducks, moving them back to their home territories after this annual moult.
“It reduces the potential for mobs to cause damage to recovering hay paddocks, chicory crops and areas of new grass, before the main game bird hunting season gets underway in May."
Another special season, for pukeko and black swan, has been declared which will run over nine days from February 25 to March 5.
Mr Kirk notes that the special seasons are confined to the Northland Fish & Game Region and hunters who wanted to take part must hold a current game bird hunting licence – that can be bought either online or from a local sports store.
The daily bag limits per hunter that apply to the special seasons in February and March are 20 paradise shelduck, 15 black swan and 12 pukeko. Birds can only be hunted between 6am and 8pm daily.
Mr Kirk says the special seasons apply to the birds that have been named only, and all other game birds remained protected.
Fish & Game rangers will be out “checking licences and the other rules and regs.”
"This is a great opportunity for some enjoyable summer hunting that helps farmers – all we ask is that hunters stick to the rules,” Mr Kirk says.
"Please remember that hunters need permission to hunt on private land – don't forget to ask the landowner."
Taranaki special season
It’s a similar story in the Taranaki region, where Fish & Game has declared a special hunting season over two weekends for paradise shelduck to help farmers disperse flocks.
The first weekend is Saturday and Sunday, February 25 and 26, followed by March 4 and 5 in the Taranaki Game Management Area “C” only.
This area includes the Taranaki province north of the Waitotara River and all of the Stratford District.
Hunting hours on each of the four days will be from 6.30am until 8pm. The daily bag limit has been set at 10 parries per hunter.
Fish & Game officer Allen Stancliff says the aim is to disperse the ducks, moving them back to their home territories after they have collected together for their annual moult.
"This reduces the potential for mobs to cause damage to recovering hay paddocks, chicory crops and areas of new grass, before the main game bird hunting season gets underway in May."
Hunters who want to take part in the special season must hold a 2016 game bird hunting licence and obtain a $5 permit from Fish & Game or a local game bird licence agent. The permit’s free to land occupiers who want to hunt their own land, but they still need to hold a permit.
Mr Stancliff adds that the special season applies to paradise shelduck only, and all other game birds remain protected, they cannot be hunted. Fish & Game rangers will be out checking on compliance over the four days.
“This is a great opportunity for some enjoyable summer hunting that helps our farmers – all we ask is that hunters stick to the rules. ”