Wellington Game Bird Hunting Bulletin - 19th May 2022
Weekend Hunting Weather 'As Good As It Gets'
May 19, 2022
Decoy and dog set for a quick hunt at Lake Wairarapa on a stormy morning this week (Photo: Hamish Carnachan)
If you haven't dipped your toe into the duck hunting yet, grab your licence because over the next few days we've got the best conditions so far this season.
While the full moon has made hunting tough this past week, allowing birds to fly late or very early morning, it is now on the wane.
Throw into the mix some foul weather setting in tomorrow, and more gale force winds, and we've got some great waterfowling on the cards.
From tomorrow and right though the weekend there are forecast strong shifty winds, rain and electric storms - this system should really get birds moving around!
Ducks have still been taken for the persistent hunter but habits are noticeably changing and mallards are now dialed in on the late-harvest crops in Wairarapa and Manawatu.
With that in mind, it could well pay to do some scouting after work and try to locate recently dropped crops.
If you recce turns up the goods, door knock the farmer and politely ask if you can shoot there, or look for where land has been harvested beside public water that is safe to hunt.
There's plenty for hunters to be excited about this weekend - make sure you get amongst it!
Here's the outlook for the weekend...
The 'hotter' the colour, the stronger the wind (Credit: Windy.com)
Strong west to nor-west gales are going to persist right through Thursday evening and into Friday.
This is accompanied by periods of heavy rain, thunder and lightening.
Around midday tomorrow a good southerly front rips up the lower North Island from Cook Strait, bringing more rain and sending temperatures plummeting.
With the big wind and dramatic swing in direction, the hunting tomorrow evening could be superb if the rain and cloud cover remains to block out the waning moon.
Another big blow back to the northwest early on Saturday morning will lend itself to another great hunting session too.
The wind dials right back on Saturday evening but then builds back to gale nor-west from midday Sunday.
As good as it gets!
Help Our Region's Wetlands
Consultation is now open on the long-term visions and values for wetlands and rivers in the Horizons Region.
We need hunters to make their views known and highlight the importance of waterfowling and pheasant hunting.
Please make a quick and easy submission to Horizons Regional Council, ensuring your voice is heard and helping protect our wetlands and game bird hunting now and into the future.
Target Some More Swan This Season
Help out some farmers and target a few more swan this season (Credit: Nick King)
In a bid to address nuisance build-ups of black swans on pasture around Lake Wairarapa, there is a five-bird daily limit for the duration of the season for ‘Area A’, which is east of the main Tararua and Ruahine ranges.
- Area A (east of the Tararua-Ruahine divide): 5 birds per hunter per day for the duration of the main waterfowl season (May 7 to July 3).
- Area B (west of the divide): 3 birds per hunter after Opening Weekend.
Please Get Those Band Details To Us
Band information provides us with a wealth of information to help with the management of the mallard population (Credit: Phil Teal)
Banding research in the Wellington Fish & Game region involves capturing ducks in traps during January and February, identifying their age, and attaching individually numbered bands to their leg before releasing them.
Banding and band returns provides us with a wealth of information, including:
- How far the birds disperse around the country (and sometimes beyond).
- Survival rates (how long do the birds live) for different cohorts (juveniles and adults, males and females) with particular focus on female adults (the breeding stock).
Modelling of population numbers is possible if we band enough birds and hunters return the bands as soon as possible.
This provides more clarity on whether populations are changing and why, and helps us set bag limits and season lengths.
The biggest issue that the banding programme faces is non-reporting of bands. So, if you've successfully harvested a duck with a band on its leg, we need your help.
We don’t need the physical band, it is yours to keep. We just want the band number, an accurate location of where the band was recovered and the date the bird was harvested.
The easiest way to provide this information is call your local Fish & Game office (06-359-0409) or through the ‘Banding Together’ page on our website. The information you provide is vital for waterfowl hunting in New Zealand, and benefits every game bird hunter.
Tips For Taking Kids Hunting
Ollie Mitchell getting in some calling practice during a lull in activity (Credit: Derek Mitchell)
After this weekend, the weather calms right back down making for an opportunity to get the kids out after work when conditions aren't so challenging.
Following are some tried and tested tips to help you (and you kids) survive a duck hunting excursion.
- Keep the hunts short - if the kids are starting to get really bored, pack it in. Making them endure hours of sitting and waiting with little action will only make for a bad experience... for all parties.
- Pack a few favourite chocolate bars or biscuits and pull them out when the kids start showing signs of getting restless.
- Make a cup of Milo because everyone knows there’s nothing surer to get the birds decoying in than having your hands occupied with a Thermos and mug.
- Pack some cards or a book for them to read.
- I’ve often let the kids take their BB gun out so they can practice target shooting (it’s quiet enough not to disturb any ducks); you can set up competitions and it really helps wile away the downtime… just don’t let them target your good fully-flocked decoys!
- The time-honoured tradition of Eye Spy works for younger kids and, it keeps everyone looking out or up.
- Finally, if it’s a deal breaker between the kids coming hunting or staying at home, allow some form of technology in the maimai. The fact of the matter is, when the birds start coming in and the gun is going off they quickly lose interest in gaming.
We have to consider that times change and we have to adapt if we want our kids to have enjoyable memories of sitting in the maimai. Creating the next generation of hunters requires a bit of give and take but in the long run the time invested will pay dividends!
Tell Your Mates - Don't Flout The Rules
One of the NZ Police teams supporting rangers over Opening Weekend (Credit: Hamish Carnachan)
Our ranging teams were generally happy with the level of compliance encountered to date but some shooters were caught flouting the game bird hunting laws.
Changes to the way we undertake compliance activity mean we’re now required to take a much harder line, and these hunters have found out the hard way with their offending costing them a date with the judiciary.
That’s right – every offence is now being put through the courts.
We’re also working closely with the NZ Police, and any game bird hunting offences will go down as a black mark on the firearms licence holder’s record. When they come to renew their licence they’ll be grilled on whether they are a ‘fit and proper’ person and could ultimately be turned down.
Is it worth risking your firearms ownership for the sake of following the game bird hunting regulations?
If you've got mates who reckon it's a bit of a laugh trying to cheat the system - tell them to think again.
From the Team at Wellington Fish & Game, happy hunting and please stay safe this season.