Nelson Marlborough Both Barrels June 2017

Step up - trophy encourages junior hunters

As with any recreation or sport, fostering youth in their chosen pursuit is a key requirement for its long-term future.

For outdoor activities such as game bird hunting it’s no different.

With this in mind, Nelson / Marlborough Fish & Game last year introduced an award for Best Junior Hunter.

Above Right: Young hunters such as Sam and Finn are the key to the future of game bird hunting.

This was done in honour of Fred Rouse, who over the course of his life contributed so much to game bird hunting, particularly in Marlborough.

Nominations are now open for the Fred Rouse Memorial Trophy for junior hunters who display good ethics, skills, knowledge, and personal growth in the field of game bird hunting over the 2017 season. 

If you know of, or are mentoring any young hunters who have displayed these attributes and would like to see them recognised for them, please send in your nominations with reasons why, to:

Most popular public land hunting spots

Wams websiteFish & Game staff field regular calls from local hunters asking where they can hunt on public land. 

In Marlborough things are pretty simple, and in fact, there’s a great array of public land options available ranging from the Pelorus area to the Wairau River and lagoons, and of course, the Fish & Game-owned Para Wetland.   

Left: Consult the WAMS website for all your public access information.

In Nelson / Tasman things are a bit more complicated, owing mainly to the proliferation of cycle trails and lifestyle blocks, which have reduced available hunting areas over the years. 

So the advice we always give to hunters is to consult the New Zealand Walking Access Commission’s website: 

You will find clear-cut public access areas which hunters will find useful, especially for river and coastal margins. 

Specifically, the website will allow you to select different ‘layers’ which can be overlaid to build up a picture of legal access areas. 

For example, with simple application it’s possible to identify hydro areas, conservation land, paper roads and riparian margin strips, to name a few. 

There’s even a layer for specific Fish & Game access points (under Partner Information, click on the small triangle then on Fish & Game to see common public hunting and fishing access points). 

If this sounds complicated, it’s not – all of the different layer options are already selected for you, but you have the ability to modify these if you wish. 

More importantly, it has good user friendly mobile phone compatibility so you can take it out into the field with you.  

Here’s a tip: activate your GPS function on your phone and hit this icon in order to see exactly where you are on the map. 

Hunters are reminded to apply basic commonsense to potential hunting spots, factoring in proximity to housing, recreational areas and safe firing zones. 

Rivers and river mouths are traditionally good places to hunt, and the Waimea, Motueka and Riuwaka mouths all provide options for the game bird hunter, however be aware that cycle trails are in proximity to the Waimea and Riuwaka Rivers.  

Using this website is an absolute must for those keen to explore new public hunting and fishing options. 

Rabbit Island pheasant hunt

On Queens Birthday weekend, Fish & Game held a pheasant hunt on the eastern end of Moturoa (Rabbit) Island, in the Tasman region. Bob S

Right: Bob Schiefer with a nice rooster from the first Rabbit Island hunt.

This has been the first time for many decades hunting has been allowed here,  made possible as a result of a submission to TDC by Fish & Game on the newly adopted management plan. It allows for a three-year trial of organised hunts to take place. 

The hunt was well attended by local upland aficionados with all of the eight  hunting blocks allocated. 

Unfortunately the pheasants must have read the memo too, and on the day many wary birds vacated the hunting area, so that only a small number were harvested.

Still, the hunters persevered and appreciated the opportunity to hunt pheasants in an area where public access has declined over the years. 

The final hunt of the season is set down for Saturday 29 July.  If you’re interested in taking part, as well as in future hunts, email Jacob Lucas on

Jacob Lucas, Nelson / Marlborough Fish & Game Officer.

Back to Both Barrels