Game Season 2020

Here's what you need to know for the new Game Season.Brett Cartwright with daughter2

For a start, here are some key dates and checklists.

March 15 – licences went on sale - click here to buy one! Adult $94, Junior $21

Stake a claim – Pegging Day (aka tagging, marking) from 10am, Sunday, April 8

  • Be ready for Opening Day – Saturday, May 5
  • Upland game season ends most regions August 26



  • A game bird hunting licence
  • Regulations booklet
  • ‘Non toxic’ ammunition


  • Confirm access with landowners (say ‘thank you’!)
  • Get permits to hunt on Fish & Game, DOC and forestry lands


  • Claim your hunting spot with the tag that comes with your licence
  • Fix any leaks, rotten boards, seating
  • Finish camouflaging maimai with camo net or vegetation Find tips on building a maimai or camouflaging here
  • Make sure vegetation isn’t blocking your firing zone or where the ducks will land
  • Make sure your access path is cleared and safe to use


  • Clean & rig decoys – get a few new ones if needed
  • Ensure your shotgun is in tip-top condition
  • Make sure your shotgun magazine complies with the rules – look here for how to put a plug in your magazine
  • Check and double-check that you don’t have any lead shot ammunition in your duck hunting bag
  • Make sure your boots and waders are still waterproof
  • If you are using a kayak or rowboat, ensure it’s shipshape
  • If you are hunting on open water, check your lifejackets
  • Continue your dog’s fitness regime, check vaccinations & worming


  • Practice your shooting – organise a clay bird session with your mates
  • Pattern your shotgun – get to know the ammunition and chokes you are using
  • Practice your calling – make sure you know what you are doing with your duck call.  For tips from NZ duck calling champ Hunter Morrow, click here
  • Practice with your dog – reinforce the basic commands and have a refresher on retrieving

Hunting away from home? Check the regulations for the region you’re going to: (click on the regions link for regional hunting info).


  • Carry hunting and firearms licence at all times
  • Be safe with firearms and on the water - know the seven rules for safe firearm handling - click here
  • Be an ambassador for hunters - hunt ethically & responsibly
  • Clean your game bird harvest quickly to ensure the best quality meat for your table
  • Bury waste after cleaning your birds
  • Follow the rules


  • Drink & hunt
  • Leave rubbish at your stand
  • Be unethical – respect your quarry and the hunting regulations




Hawke's Bay Hunting Spots