North Canterbury Both Barrels May 2016
Hard work pays off
With the game bird season well underway and the hype of opening day now past, it's time to reflect on hunting successes firstly, then focus on the great game bird hunting opportunities yet to come.
North Canterbury experienced a typical warm and calm Opening Day which was not ideal for shooting ducks.
Despite this many established ponds produced some good numbers of 50 to 80 mallards shot.
Good numbers of paradise shelduck bags were also reported over the weekend.
Many of the new irrigation ponds were being used this year by hunters, and some great hunting was had by those who put time into feeding leading up to the opening.
In many cases hunters on larger water bodies such as Lake Ellesmere were lucky to get a duck for their efforts, but there were some hunters that managed to shoot up to a dozen birds.
Trent and Ryton, waiting for ducks.
There are still some good prospects for hunters to come. Adverse weather has been lacking to date, but there are signs on the horizon that more Southerly winds will prevail creating more favourable hunting conditions.
Often hunters are rewarded with some great bags by being on location on the turn of a Southerly change, especially around Lake Ellesmere.
Opening Day social hunting competition results
Fish & Game rangers were also on duty cooking sausages for hunters at Wolfes Road, Lake Ellesmere on Opening Day.
Prizes were up for grabs for the Heaviest Black Swan, and the Heaviest Brace (male and female) of mallards and parries. There were also three lucky licence draws just for being there.
The black swan prize was one by Matthew Potts (Flocked decoy pack) The brace of paradise shelduck, Trent Challis (Hammond duck call) There was no entry for the brace of mallards so that was made a lucky draw. Lucky Draws, Jimmy Field, (Avery decoy pack) Peter Hoglund, (Dog bed for the gun dog) Ben Potts, (Hammond Duck Call) Graeme Chinnery, (LED Lenser headlamp).
North Canterbury rangers were out in force from the Rakaia River to the Waiau River, during Opening Weekend.
It was disappointing to find that from 130 hunters checked by rangers, seven were hunting game birds without a licence.
Right: Ranger Keith Ross (left) checks licences with two hunters on an irrigation pond near Oxford.
In one case a hunter was detected shooting with lead which is also an offence.
In all cases offence notices were issued and firearms siezed.
They were very costly mistakes for foolishly thinking their chances of getting caught were remote.
The Great North Canterbury Black Swan Hunt
Sponsored by Hunting and Fishing Christchurch City, Tower Junction, Rangiora, supported by the Christchurch Airport Authority.
North Canterbury Fish & Game is again holding a black swan hunting competition during the 2016 hunting season.
There are some changes to the previous 2015 competition which have been introduced to encourage increased hunter participation.
- The Black Swan competition will now run from Opening Day 7 May to the end of the Area A black swan season, 25 September 2016.
- Additional official collection stations have been added. The three official sites are the Fish & Game office, 32 River Road Rangiora; Watkins Homekill Processing, 3 Burdons Road Burnham; Ellesmere Butchery, 79 High Street Leeston.
The majestic black swan is often one of the most under-harvested game birds and we are encouraging hunters to realise the value of this truly magnificent game bird.
The competition has many aims. Firstly, hunters will have the added focus to harvest black swan through the season as a valued food source, with the added bonus of going into a prize draw which is a feature of the social competition.
Right: Target species...bagging yourself some black swans could land you some great prizes.
Secondly, Black swan numbers are at problem levels feeding on crops, especially in the Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora and Lake Forsyth/Waireka surrounding areas.
The competition is confined to the North Canterbury Fish & Game Region and runs strictly from 7 May to 25 September.
To enter, hunters need to present pairs of black swan legs tied together and frozen separately.
Legs will not be accepted in a solid block or in a decayed state, and will be inspected for authenticity. There is no limit to the number of entries per hunter, but hunters may only enter one section.
A current 2016 game bird hunting licence must be produced, and all swans must be harvested under current Fish & Game hunting regulations.
Entries will not be accepted from birds shot under special game bird control permits.
Although the prize draw has yet to be finalised, the basic format will be three categories with a lucky draw for each section.
There will be a main prize in each prize pool and other lucky draw prizes will also be added.There will be at least one semi-automatic shot gun in the prize pool.
Section 1: 1 – 10 pairs of Black Swan legs. Hunting prizes valued at $1200
Section 2: 11 – 30 pairs of Black Swan legs. Hunting prizes valued at $2000
Section 3: 31 – 50 pairs of Black Swan legs. Hunting prizes valued at $2000
Section 4: Lucky licence draw $500 gift voucher
The prize pool and values are approximate only and may differ from the above.
To enter the competition pairs of legs will be accepted at the three sites outlined.
Legs will only be accepted during a four day period during the last week of the Area A black swan season starting Monday 19 September and finishing Thursday 22 September, 8.30am to 5pm.
Hunters are invited to attend a closing day social BBQ and prize draw at the Coes Ford/Selwyn River picnic area, Ellesmere, 11am Sunday 25 September.
It is very important that hunters attending the prize giving are able to produce both a Firearms Licence and a 2016 Gamebird Hunting Licence.
Just a reminder that the North Canterbury Pheasant Weekend is on 11 & 12 June.
Dirk Barr, North Canterbury Fish & Game Field Officer Dirk Barr