Wellington Game Bird Hunting Bulletin - 20th May 2021
Plenty of Action Amid Wild Weather
May 20, 2021
Eyes to the sky - Nathan Field and Ash hunting high water on Lake Wairarapa last week (Credit: Hamish Carnachan)
The past week has been an excellent one for those lucky enough to sneak away from work for a hunt or head out for an hour or so at the end of the day.
We've had a real mixed bag of weather, with the wind swinging through almost all points of the compass and some very strong, severe, gales too.
This has kept birds on the go, kicking them up off their secluded sanctuaries or the middle of the big water where they feel safe during calm periods, providing great opportunities to intercept them as they seek new shelter.
The ducks are, however, in smaller groups or paired up now, and they are very wary of decoys, at least at Lake Wairarapa.
This means that from now on to the end of the season it's about strategic set ups, with fewer decoys and less calling likely to yield the best returns.
For now though, here's the outlook for the weekend ahead...
Click here for updated weather information from MetService.
Conditions look relatively stable over the weekend before bad weather arrives Monday and Tuesday with a very strong south- to south-east flow and rain. You can check the long range forecast here.
Right Time, Right Place
The Windy weather app has awesome functionality for hunters
As we've mentioned before, being in the right place at the right time, is critical to hunting success.
The right time means ahead of an approaching front. You want to be in position and set up at least an hour before the weather arrives as ducks will often sense the change in barometric pressure and move early. They should continue to fly for a couple of hours after a moderate or severe weather event hits too (sometimes longer but it depends on severity).
Being in the right place has more variables but basically comes down to which direction the weather is coming from. Where can you set up best to entice or intercept ducks put up by wild weather - this will come down to your local knowledge and may require some experimentation and plenty of moving around in different weather conditions to find flight lines etc.
Cleary, therefore, weather is the big determinant. So where do we source our information?
To align the two critical elements to hunting success - timing and location - you need intel, and for the waterfowler that comes through weather information and forecasts.
Windy is an amazing weather app for waterfowl hunters and can be taken with you on your phone to your favourite hunting spot.
It provides excellent graphics, and heaps of functionality, but the wind force and direction display is perfect for picking the intensity of the blow and where to position yourself.
Yr is another really good site, and their computer modelling is second to none - in fact, for many of the pilots we use for survey work, Yr is their go to source of weather info. The phone app has some really well thought out functionality and great user interface too, with hunters able to load in alerts for wind and rain for their favoured spots.
I mainly use Yr for their wind speed forecasts. Anything around or above 8m/s is rough enough to move ducks off open water. And the hourly breakdown of wind speed throughout the day allows you to use Yr to predict when a front is going to hit and, therefore, when you need to be in position.
By using a number of different sources of information, you can start to piece together a reasonably accurately picture of what conditions will be like. This will help you markedly increase productive hunting time and harvest success.
- By Wellington Fish & Game field officer Hamish Carnachan.
2021 Opening Highlights
Click on the screenshot below for a cool short video put together by Wellington Fish & Game field officer Nathan Field.
Keep Up To Date With Us On Instagram
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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.