Wellington Game Bird Hunting Bulletin - 27th May 2021
Good Hunting Ahead This Weekend
May 27, 2021
Calm conditions last week made for slow hunting but some good waterfowling weather is due to arrive tomorrow (Photo: Hamish Carnachan)
The last week has been pretty quiet amidst the settled weather that has prevailed but that is about to change.
Check out the MetService rain radar below and it's quite obvious that something big is brewing.
A large low is forming in the Tasman Sea, and that Kaleidoscope of colour surrounding the North Island means rain... and lots of it.
Several frontal bands are forecast to sweep over our region, and the low pressure system will draw a strong easterly flow across the lower North.
So, it looks like some great duck hunting weather over the weekend.
If you're not seeing numbers of birds on the lakes and wetlands, it could pay to turn your attention to paddock shooting.
The forecast rain will be the first big dump we've had in a while and it will bring worms and bugs to the surface creating a smorgasbord of snacks for hungry winter mallards.
We're almost half way through the season now, and with some good waterfowling weather over the weekend it's a great time to head out hunting.
Here's the outlook for the weekend...
Click here for updated weather information from MetService.
A moisture-laden low pressure system forming in the Tasman Sea is going to deliver plenty of rain to the North Island.
The first showers will reach the lower North Island on Friday afternoon followed some very heavy falls from Saturday afternoon and into early Sunday morning.
If the forecast holds true, the Saturday evening and Sunday morning shoots could be very productive!
Less, Is More
One decoy and minimal calling paid dividends on this mid-season hunt (Photo: Hamish Carnachan)
It's mid season and by now the ducks are fairly well educated.
They are pretty wary of decoys and know how to tell real ducks from plastic ones; and with most birds paired up now, large decoy spreads are a dead giveaway that something isn't right.
The wily mallard is now also attuned to real duck calls as opposed to those blown by hunters...
Time then, to hunt smarter.
This means fewer decoys and much less calling.
A single, spinning wing decoy tucked back under cover and partly obscured by overhead cover such as willows is all that is required at this time of the season.
All that the passing ducks need to see is a flash of wing, and hear an occasional call, and they should come in to investigate.
The birds might not always cup up and commit, but they will likely circle, trying to figure out if there are ducks under the cover. At this point, an intermittent single quack or lonely hen call can get them into shooting range.
If you don't have a spinner decoy, just a couple of quality static floaters set under the cover will suffice.
The key is to place the decoys so the ducks can't get a really good view of them, just a glimpse that makes them curious enough to come in for closer inspection.
Notice in the image above the spinner is set into the wind, as a real duck would land, but the cover behind means approaching ducks (which always come into the wind) can't really get a good eyeball on the decoy.
In this situation, with a moderate to strong wind on the day, the birds were forced to hover overhead to look in. It made for exciting (and relatively easy) up close hunting.
Remember - less is more. Give it a shot.
- By Wellington Fish & Game field officer Hamish Carnachan.
Duck Calling Tips
Need some help with your duck calling? Click on the screenshot below to get some top tips from the boys at Manawatu Hunting and Fishing.
- 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.