The Mallard, grey duck and hybrids are the most popular game birds of the region. Both these species respond well to calling and decoying and can be found on most of the region’s rivers, streams, dams and lakes. Shoveler area a transient population for most of the season and are renowned for their fast flying and elusiveness.
There are extensive hunting opportunities in the river beds of the region. Access is good and well marked with access signs. A little time spent checking out backwaters pre-season can pay dividends during the season.
Paradise shelduck are wide-spread and can be hunted successfully in most locations. Low-lying farmland with water nearby is ideal for hunting using silhouette decoys. If you want to target parries the pasturelands and riverbeds are a good place to start. Most landowners are only too happy for hunters to target parries on pasture if they are approached and asked.
The Hawke’s Bay region administers a number of Controlled Shooting Areas throughout the region. Periodically vacancies arise, creating a wetland enhancement and shooting opportunity for local shooters. If you want to shoot this season but don’t have anywhere to hunt, give our local Fish and Game Office a call.
Hawke’s Bay hosts a good population of ring-necked Pheasant and varying numbers of California quail with the best hunting results occurring in scrubby river margins and forestry plantations with blocks of young trees. Pheasants are predominantly hunted in our major river systems with the Waipawa, Tukituki, Ngaruroro and Tutaekuri normally well worth a look. The best hunting is generally where good cover and watering opportunities are found (i.e. river basins), especially where these areas border orchards and/or assorted cropping areas. For most of these areas a dog is recommended as an easier way to cover ground effectively.
Every year forestry blocks are available for use by upland game bird hunters. This is possible through the assistance of Carter Holt and Hawke's Bay Forests managers. The blocks offer weekend hunting only, and for this reason are usually productive and worth applying for. Access to all major Hawke's Bay forestry blocks is administered through our Fish & Game office by way of a balloted permit system. For further information contact the Game Farm Office.
If you are interested in applying, fax us a copy of your 2014 game bird hunting licence along with your name, address and phone number - along with the same details for any companions you will take. Include the make, model colour and registration number of the vehicle you will use.
Access is a privilege not a right so if in doubt please ask! Land owners frequently have Paradise duck and Swan problems and often appreciate flocks being dispersed by hunters. Often they might offer the opportunity to shoot a vacant pond. In any case the personal courteous approach is by far your best bet.
Please do not leave the bodies or parts of shot game on the hunting ground. If carcasses are left in the field it can encourage unwanted predators as well as ill feeling from other hunters and the non-hunting public. Please make yourself familiar with the Closed Game Areas and Wildlife Refuges scattered throughout Hawke's Bay.
The following areas are designated as wildlife refuges: