Wellington Game Bird Hunting Bulletin - 12th May 2022
Mixed Start But Best Yet To Come!
May 12, 2022
Ash with a good retrieve on a fat Wairarapa green head earlier this week (Photo: Hamish Carnachan)
Opening Weekend was a real mixed bag, not just for the range of waterfowl harvested but the conditions and degree of success amongst hunting parties.
While Saturday was typically calm and sunny, it was great to see hunters generally still having a good time despite a lack of birds flying after early fog cleared.
Sunday was a different story entirely though with a good nor-wester kicking in and keeping ducks on the wing 'til well into late morning.
Rangers were generally happy with the level of compliance over Opening Weekend.
However, it is really disappointing that a handful of people still choose to flout the regulations by shooting lead over water or cheat the system (and other hunters) by hunting without game bird licence.
Subsequently, a number of shotguns were seized and several people now have Court dates.
Meanwhile, some folks didn't manage to get out on Saturday and Sunday because of other commitments or Covid isolation requirements.
If that was you, don't despair - everyone agrees there are heaps of ducks about this season and the best hunting is yet to come.
Grab your licence so you're ready to hit the wetland or pond when the opportunity arises.
And if you're able to get out, this Saturday is looking pretty good as far as waterfowling conditions go.
Here's the outlook for the weekend...
The outlook for Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings – The brighter the colour the stronger the wind (Credit: Windy.com)
Good wind is forecast to build overnight Friday and spread strong north westerlies across much of the lower North Island.
Peak gusts of 20m/s at Lake Wairarapa and 15m/s up around Manawatu later on Saturday afternoon should get ducks moving around looking for shelter.
A southerly change on Sunday morning might make for a reasonable morning shoot but conditions calm right down afterward and into the start of the new week.
Timing Is Key To Hunting Success
It is often said that the best duck hunting weather is wind or rain or preferably both at the same time.
Often, unfortunately, it's a bit more complicated than that.
Just turning up at your chosen spot when it's windy or rainy doesn't always guarantee success.
The majority of ducks are going to move as soon as the weather arrives - or for a few hours either side of an approaching front.
Afterwards, it is likely that you'll have dribs and drabs for the remainder of your hunt, even when the weather is still throwing it at you.
Turning up half a day after a gale has started could mean lean pickings, as most of the birds will already be hunkered down in a sheltered spot and they won't budge unless disturbed by other hunters or farm activity etc.
Getting into position just before the front, therefore, becomes critical. That is when you're going to get the best hunting, with more prolific flights of ducks.
Studying the weather, understanding what you're looking for, and planning your hunting around the intel you piece together will ensure more successful hunting and less time sitting waiting.
There are a heap of weather apps and websites available. On of the best is Windy.com which can be viewed on your computer but, better still is downloading the app and having it with you in the maimai to fresh live updates.
If you missed it, check out the awesome waterfowl episode of NZ Hunter Adventures on on Duke TV.
Motion Decoy Strategies
Nothing brings ducks in better than a strategically placed spinning wing decoy (Credit: Hamish Carnachan).
Getting motion into your spread with spinning wing decoys can be a game changer.
However, there are some tactics to employ to ensure that you are actually enticing birds in rather than scaring them off.
Click here to read an awesome article from Ducks Unlimited on motion decoy strategies.
- Band Returns:
Harvested ducks wearing precious metal bands? Please get the info into us and play your part in the long term management of mallard population. You can keep the band, we just need some details from you. Fill in your band return info here.
From the Team at Wellington Fish & Game, happy hunting and please stay safe this season.