Hawke's Bay Both Barrels July 2017

Hawke’s Bay offers ‘plenty more’ game bird hunting opportunities

While some hunters have put their shotguns away, there are still plenty of opportunities to hunt game birds in Hawke’s Bay.

 The pukeko, California quail and pheasant season continues until August 27.

California quail and pheasants can be hunted along the river valleys and provide some challenging shooting through the willows.

Quail are usually found in large groups at this time of year and can be readily flushed to  provide some quick shooting. 

Top right: California quail provide some of the best wing-shooting in Hawke’s Bay.

Pheasants are spread out through the river valleys and require a little walking to find them but they are readily flushed by those willing to put in the time and effort.

Pukeko are one of the most challenging game birds found in Hawke’s Bay and there is no shortage of access to privately owned land to hunt them. 

Hunters who focus on the orchards and horticultural areas are readily given permission to hunt them.

They can be hunted with a good flushing dog or with a group of hunters moving through the area flushing the birds.  It is best to work them slowly and push them to thick cover where they’ll hold rather than flush out of range.

Plant your pond or wetland

With the duck season over and the rest of the game bird season winding down, it’s time to think about providing habitat for game birds to ensure populations stay healthy. What should you plant? Quality nesting habitat is limiting through much of Hawke's Bay.

We encourage people to plant buffers around their ponds and wetlands with thick vegetation that will provide quality nesting habitat. 

Good game bird nesting habitat includes areas of high herbaceous vegetation such as grasses or sedges. The larger the area of dry land you can provide for nesting the better. 

We recommend at least a 20m buffer around ponds which will provide nesting habitat and clean water in the pond.

Sedge species provide good nesting cover and also food for waterfowl. We recommend planting Carex secta (Purei), Carex virgata (Pukio), Carex geminata/lessiona, and Cyprerus ustalatus (umbrella sedge).

Some sedges like Purei prefer wet areas and others like Pukio prefer a bit drier.  If you are unsure of what to plant talk to your local plant nursery or contact the Hawke’s Bay Fish & Game office.

HB BB August 2Planting sedges provides nesting habitat for waterfowl and clean water for the pond.

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