Wellington Weekly Huntin Bulletin 15 June 2023
Ollie Mitchell stoked with the efforts of dad, Derek, and big brother Alex after a quick evening outing in Wairarapa last week (Credit: Derek Mitchell)
Weekend Weather Looking Very Promising
With only three more weekends before the main waterfowl season closes (Sunday, July 2), it's now time to maximise every opportunity to get out for a hunt.
It just so happens that the weather is looking pretty good for lower North Island hunters this weekend, particularly Sunday which forecasters expect to throw wind and rain at much of the region.
Conditions have been relatively settled this past week with a moderate southerly yesterday being the only real change from several days of fine weather and sunny skies.
So a good blow from a different direction, like we're supposed to get Saturday evening and right through Sunday, is just what the duck hunting doctor ordered!
It'll push birds out of their settled refuges, forcing them to seek sheltered water elsewhere, meaning more ducks moving around.
If you haven't been out much this season, or have been thinking about taking a mate or family member for a shoot, the stars are aligned for this weekend.
Grab your buddy a licence and introduce someone new to the pursuit!
Here's the outlook for this weekend...
Weekend Weather Outlook
The brighter the colour the stronger the wind (Credit: Windy.com)
We can see from the colour change in the Windy screen shots, along with the isobars starting to tighten up, that the wind is building over the next three days.
Strange for this time of year, but weather continues to come in from the east.
Expect moderate east to south-east winds on Saturday, building to strong easterlies across the entire region as we head into Sunday morning.
The wind intensifies through Sunday, peaking in the afternoon which should make for an excellent evening shoot!
While the Manawatu is forecast to remain dry for most of the weekend, rain is expected for the Central High with heavy showers for Wairarapa and further south.
All up there are some pretty promising conditions for hunters, particularly on Sunday.
Family Hunting Photo Comp
You've only got until 8am, June 29, before entries close for our family hunting photo competition.
The best shot at the end of the season will win $200 worth of Hunting & Fishing NZ clothing, courtesy of Greg and the team at Wairarapa Hunting & Fishing in Masterton.
The winner will be announced in the June 29 issue of the Game Bird Hunting Bulletin.
Photos can be of groups or individuals hunting, but the main criteria is that it is about families and family members, especially highlighting kids' love of the pursuit.
The MucCulloch and Broom family heading out to their maimai on Pounui lagoon, Wairarapa, for Opening Morning.
Remember firearms safety when framing your pics - breaches cleared and actions open, kids closely supervised around guns.
Get snapping, and send your entries in.
Don't forget to let us know the details of who's in the picture, and where it was taken.
(Condition of entry is that images can be used for publicity purposes).
Concern For The Future Of Fishing And Hunting
Last year, the Government introduced the Natural and Built Environment Bill to replace the Resource Management Act.
Fish & Game is extremely concerned about this Bill and its implications for the sustainable management of our natural environment, as well as the future of game bird hunting and freshwater fishing in this country.
While appropriately recognising Māori cultural values and indigenous species and industry, the Bill completely ignores the value Kiwis like you place on recreation and enjoyment of our great outdoors, such as being able to go duck hunting.
To find out more, and to let MPs know how you value your recreational pursuits, we got more info here.
Jump To It
When calm conditions prevail like we've had this week, and you're itching to stretch your legs and get out for a hunt, there's nothing else to do but... well, jump to it.
For the uninitiated, jump shooting is the active part of the duck hunting pursuit whereby you stalk small streams, drains and backwaters, and flush ducks from cover.
It's a rewarding (and exciting) enterprise particularly later in the season when mallards are paired up, and when they've become wary and are seeking shelter in out-of-the-way places.
One of the great things about jump shooting is that it doesn't necessitate early morning starts or late evening finishes.
Mid-morning through to mid-afternoon are best - the ducks are relaxing after their breakfast and are yet to fly out for the evening meal.
It also requires a relatively inexpensive outlay. There's no need for a maimai, layout blind, duck boat... you don't even really need waders if you don't have them. All you need is a shotgun, a handful of shells, some walking boots and a bit of nous.
This makes it an ideal technique for introducing new people to duck, or those less inclined to patiently sitting in the maimai for hours... like kids.
If you do have access to a boat, and can shoot safely on one of our larger rivers, drifting downstream and jumping ducks from beneath the willows can make for a really fun outing.
While the birds will see you early and bust well out of range, invariably there are one or two that hold to the last minute and break within shooting distance. Ignore the bigger groups flying off - anticipate these late birds.
The same goes for general walk-up jump shooting. Don't be despondent if you flush ducks early - stay ready for that last bird, or pair of birds, that have just delayed their departure a bit too long.
Stalking drains and small creeks can provide good hunting on those still days when birds aren't flying (Credit: Hamish Carnachan).
Renowned American hunter and author Steve Rinella has other awesome tips in his great article on jump shooting, including this one...
"Always pack... three or four decoys on your back" because some days you'll jump a good mob of ducks, rather than just pairs...
"Resist the urge to shoot. Throw out your decoys and hide nearby. Often those ducks will come back in singles, pairs, and small bunches, and your jump shoot turns into a hunt that would be the envy of any waterfowl purist.
"Give them an hour to come back - if they don’t, pick up your spread and get back to jump shooting."
Rinella recommends using an open choke for close range shots.
Also, ducks get up deceptively fast which requires upward lead on the bird, otherwise you'll shoot underneath it.
Because a bird that has been jumped naturally flies away from the hunter, if you haven't dropped it after two rounds, give up, it will be too far away to harvest cleanly with a third round.
Now, quit complaining about there being a lack of ducks flying and jump to it!
- Hamish Carnachan
Firearms Registry- Heads Up For Hunters
Keep Those Band Details Coming - Win A $500 Voucher
Hunters are welcome to keep the bands from the birds they harvest - Fish & Game just needs info about where and when they were shot (Credit: Hamish Carnachan).
Send your band details in and you'll automatically go into the draw for one of two $500 Hunting & Fishing vouchers from Simon and the team at Manawatu Hunting & Fishing.
Got a band to be registered, ring the free phone number 0800 BIRD BAND (0800-247322).
Alternatively there's a ready-made form to fill out on the Fish & Game website here (Note: prizes may vary from what is advertised on the website).
- A note to hunters using the JK Donald Block in Wairarapa: Access is restricted to quads/ATVs only. The track is currently too wet for 4WDs. Please do not park on Paula Gillett's property (without her express permission) or block access ways.
- Hunters wishing to access the JK Donald block are reminded they must have an access sticker, and follow the conditions of entry. Please ask for details through the Wellington Fish & Game office.
*This report was accurate at time of writing. For your safety, please ensure you check the latest weather information before you head out hunting.