Nelson/Marlborough Both Barrels July 2019
Late season hunting
With the regular season all but done and dusted for 2019, quail and pukeko are still on the menu for a while yet.
Quail can be hunted for another month with the season closing on 25 August, and the pukeko season extended out generously to 27 October (which then closes for a short time until the summer season commences on 1 January to 23 February).
Above Right: Areas of recently harvested forest provides good quail habitat.
In this region there is some magnificent quail hunting in the Marlborough high country, though getting access to these areas is easier said than done.
The Wairau riverbed, with its scattered islands of scrub, makes for a good alternative, and every bird that is brought to hand here is hard earned.
Sometimes hunters will chance upon a good covey or two and can earn a decent fistful of the delicacy, and other times many hours of fruitless walking is the norm.
In Tasman, an area characterised by its abundant orchards, lifestyle blocks and exotic forestry, quail are numerous, yet the hunting remains fairly challenging due to the ever present thick scrub which makes multiple attempts at individual coveys difficult.
While the recent dry Spring/Summer was bad for mallards, the quail population profited markedly, with some pairs successfully raising multiple clutches.
On our recent Rabbit Island hunt, for example, numerous hunters’ harvested quail, with some even obtaining their limits in short order.
Quail hunting on forestry estate
Your local Fish & Game staff are currently working with forestry company Tasman Pine Ltd to create designated upland game hunting areas in forest estate, which we expect will be in place for the 2020 season.
Here, it is envisioned that Fish & Game will hold a key for the designated upland game areas in suitable upland terrain (recently harvested hill slopes), and hunters will contact us to grab a quick permit and key so these areas can be accessed.
Some of the designated hunting areas we hope will be in the vicinity of our new forestry wetlands, so hunters will be able to have a crack at some early morning mallards before hitting the hills in search of upland game.
The other big player in the forestry industry is Nelson Forests Ltd and permits to hunt Nelson Forests land are available by visiting https://nelsonforests.co.nz/contact-us/permits/.
Game bird hunting, including upland game, is permitted in Nelson Forests Ltd estate as long as hunting is taking place on weekends and public holidays.
A $50 fee is payable per forest permit issued (there are three separate forests), and a combined $90 permit fee will give you access to all three forest areas: Golden Downs, Rai and North Bank.
Jacob Lucas, Nelson/Marlborough Fish & Game Officer