Wellington Game Bird Hunting Bulletin - 16th June 2022
Sunday the Day to Stir Up Ducks
June 16, 2022
A small Manawatu farm pond absolutely packed with mallards (Photo: Matt Kavermann)
Just a short report this week as staff are currently absent on sick leave and out in the field.
After incessant nor-west winds we're going to get a big shift to the south/south-east coming in late on Saturday night.
For many parts of the region this will be the first southerly in some weeks so this welcome change could push the ducks around.
It has been lean shooting on Lake Wairarapa and the surrounding ponds - the ducks seemingly having moved out in search of food.
If the pictures and reports from Manawatu are anything to go by, perhaps a good portion of the mallard population has moved north.
There are now only three weekends of the waterfowl season left. That's ample time to scout out where the ducks are holding.
Make the most of the opportunities, however, as closing weekend will roll around quickly.
Here's the outlook for the weekend...
'Hotter' colours mean stronger wind (Credit: Windy.com)
Calm conditions for much of the country on Friday and Saturday with light nor-west winds prevailing.
Sunday could be the day though as a significant wind shift comes in from the south.
This builds throughout the day and becomes strong south-east early next week.
Sunday morning is going to be the best bet to catch ducks moved off sheltered possies by the wind change.
Patchy rain across the region on Friday and Saturday; the southerly change Sunday brings widespread rain.
An inflatable kayak ready for a hunting mission (Credit: Hamish Carnachan)
Anyone who caught the last duck hunting episode of NZ Hunter Adventures would have noticed the guys using some serious lay-out boats.
While many of us don't have the time, skill or money to invest in building one of these, there are some inexpensive alternatives that can open up new hunting horizons - kayaks!
These versatile personal watercraft are light and easy to handle, and more importantly they can get you into places on big water, large lagoon/wetland systems and even rivers you can't reach by foot.
I also regularly use my small inflatable kayak to drag my gear - guns and decoys - across wet grass to my preferred hunting spots.
And it has been invaluable for reaching those spots that ducks prefer to drop into just out of range of your decoys.
For hunters who don't have a dog to retrieve their game, a kayak again comes into its own for birds that fall into water too deep to wade.
Ducks Unlimited has written an excellent short article on this topic with some great tips for those interested in a kayak for hunting. Check it out here.
Set up in an inaccessible site using the kayak, ready for some ducks to drop in (Credit: Hamish Carnachan)
Decoy Setting Tips
Fish & Game field officer Ben Sowry shares some secrets to help you harvest more birds. The video covers:
- Setting decoy species that are present in your area.
- Matching decoys to natural numbers.
- Grouping different species.
- Setting largest species upwind.
- How shoveler decoys are handy but not essential.
- Tricks for parrie decoys.
- “Rangefinder” decoys.
- Wind direction.
- 'J' and 'U' shape spreads.
- Keeping decoys apart.
- Avoiding frost or dew on decoys.
- Shoreline sets.
From the Team at Wellington Fish & Game, happy hunting and please stay safe this season.