Wellington Game Bird Hunting Bulletin - 13th May 2021
Waterfowling Weather Finally Arrives
May 13, 2021
Ash retrieving a fat Lake Wairarapa mallard drake last weekend, one of many harvested on a blustery Sunday evening (Credit: Hamish Carnachan)
Typically, now that Opening is behind us, the duck hunting weather has arrived.
Last weekend the forecasters finally got it right and a good blow came through on Sunday.
This pushed birds off the big water, where they had been seeking refuge, and forced them to search for shelter in the smaller ponds and backwaters.
Hunters in Wairarapa and Manawatu reported excellent afternoon and evening shooting as the front passed through.
More blustery weather, including a gale nor-wester, ripped through on Tuesday followed but a stiff southerly yesterday. Those lucky enough to be out got some excellent shooting in, particularly when the strong winds shifted.
The first decent rain in many weeks also saw big mobs of mallards out on old stubble and fodder crop paddocks, presumably feeding on worms.
For the weekend ahead we haven't got the same intensity of wind but it will be strong and shifty enough to move ducks. And with more rain thrown into the mix too there should be some good hunting on offer as the ducks take to the wing looking for food or shelter.
Get into it. Here's the outlook...
Click here for updated weather information from MetService.
Timing Is Everything
Wild weather like this on Lake Wairarapa doesn't always guarantee great hunting unless you are in position early (Credit: Hamish Carnachan)
Every waterfowler knows 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, and just turning up at your chosen spot when it's windy or rainy doesn't always guarantee ducks are going to fall out of the sky into your decoy spread.
The majority of ducks are going to move as soon as the weather arrives. This might mean a good two- to three-hour shoot ahead of a gale that is forecast to blow all day, with only dribs and drabs for the remainder, sometimes if at all.
So, turning up half a day after a gale has started is going to leave lean pickings as most of the birds will already be hunkered down in a sheltered spot and they won't budge unless disturbed.
Getting into position just before the front, therefore, becomes critical because that's when you're going to get the best hunting with more prolific flights coming through.
What this means is studying the weather, understanding what you're looking at, and planning your hunting around the intel you piece together.
There are a heap of weather apps and websites available now and over the next few weeks we'll run through some of these, and hopefully help teach you how to plan a hunt by what you glean from the information available.
2021 Opening Highlights
Click on the screenshot below for a cool short video put together by Wellington Fish & Game field officer Nathan Field.
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- Erindale Forest, Wairarapa, pheasant hunting:
Due to issues with the availability of cock pheasants of appropriate maturity from the breeder, we have been unable to procure enough birds to supplement the wild population for sustainable hunting and harvesting for this season. Consequently, hunting in Erindale Forest for the 2021 season has been postponed.
The good news is we have secured a reasonable number of hen pheasants and we hope that a viable, robust population of wild birds for hunting will establish in years to come. It is our intention to secure more cock birds for release in the near future. We will keep you up to date on the opening of the hunting block for next season.
In the meantime, we’d encourage you to pursue other upland game bird hunting opportunities in the Wellington Fish & Game region and are happy to advise on where to find these. Please call us on (06)3590409 for more info.
- 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.