Both Barrels April 2021
Opening Weekend Prospects
Unfortunately, we have had another long stretch of little to no rain this year which has seen many dams and ponds remain dry or at very low levels.
Despite this, our banding programme indicates that we had a decent waterfowl breeding season and we hope that this will translate into a successful opening weekend and season for Hawke's Bay hunters.
Hunters focusing on traditional areas may not be as successful this year as those who are more mobile and have the ability to shoot areas like open paddocks.
Farms are still harvesting maize and the ducks have been flocking into these fields.
Waterfowl hunters with layout blinds shooting these areas should have a great opening weekend.
Hawke's Bay rivers will provide some good shooting on opening weekend.
Despite feeding in harvested maize fields, ducks will still congregate in backwater pools along the river.
Those waterfowl hunters who spend time identifying these sites should have a good opening weekend.
River shooting provides some great opportunities for those willing to do a little extra work to identify areas that the ducks are using.
Above: A well laid out spot with hide and decoys on a Central Hawkes Bay river from last season.
Game bird hunters are encouraged to take opportunities to hunt other game birds through the region.
Hawke’s Bay supports good populations of California quail and pheasants which would have benefitted from the dry season.
There are plenty of opportunities to harvest paradise shelducks in the agricultural regions.
For the hunter who likes a challenge, there is an abundance of pukeko throughout the region with many landowners happy to have the numbers knocked back.
Many hunters are unsure about eating pukeko - maybe try a new recipe?
Click the link below to check out American chef, author and outdoorsman Hank Shaw’s take on the humble waterfowl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzHHIfVz6dM
Just remember; access is a privilege and not a right.
If you are lucky enough to be given access permission from a landowner treat it with the utmost respect and leave all gates and areas as you found them.
Please send in your Duck Bands
It is vitally important for waterfowl hunters to report any banded duck that they have shot.
By reporting your band numbers, we can make better management decisions.
You can report your bands using a few methods:
- Electronically through the Fish & Game Website
- Reporting the band number via phone to the Hawke’s Bay Fish & Game Office
- Filling out a form at participating licencing agents
The vital information that we need when you report your duck band:
- Hunter’s name and contact details (so we can provide you with a history of your duck)
- Date the duck was shot
- Region and the nearest city
- Where the bird was shot (closest road name, road number, coordinates, the more accurate the better)
Good Luck and be safe
Firearms remain a huge topic in New Zealand at the moment and this places even more scrutiny over Game bird hunters and how they operate during the season.
It is essential that we as a hunting and firearms licence holding community show the public that we practise our sport in a very safe and respectful manner.
This means following the seven basic rules of firearms safety to the letter and abiding by the Fish & Game hunting Code of Conduct as found in your regulation guide.
Whenever you’re going on a hunt over the game bird season, make sure you do so with safety and respect for others and the quarry you are hunting at the forefront of your mind.
Please be sure to check your regulation guide to keep yourself up to date with all the rules and regulations.
Finally, from all of us at the Hawkes Bay Fish & Game, have fun out there this season, good luck, and be safe!
Nick Page, Hawke's Bay fish & Game Officer.
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