Special Lockdown Edition Both Barrels April 2020
What F&G has been working on during the lockdown
Over the first two weeks of the lockdown, Fish & Game have been scenario planning around what form the game bird season might take. An options paper has been prepared for consideration and was put in the hands of the decision makers on the April 7th.
Fish & Game is taking into account all of the Government's COVID-19 decisions, including no hunting under an Alert Level 4 lockdown, and what we can and can't do under the other Alert Levels.
We are hoping that we can provide some clarity soon, but rest assured we are doing everything we can to ensure we have a game bird season and we will advise all licence holders as soon as we possibly can.
To stay up to date, follow this link https://fishandgame.org.nz/covid-19-information
Grab your licence now
Purchase your licence online now, prepare for when the lockdown is lifted and so you can save your time at the stores getting your other gear sorted.
Just a reminder for everyone that because pegging day occurred on April 5 while the country was at Covid-19 Alert Level 4, all pegs from the 2019 Game bird season will be valid for the 2020 season so long as the hunter has a valid 2020 game season licence.
There is no need for hunters to travel to their maimai’s to stake their claim this year.
What you can do during lockdown in preparation for the game bird season:
West Coast Fish & Game Officer Baylee Kersten has come up with some activities we can do whilst in lockdown to get ready for the game bird season:
- Get your licence online now so you are ready to go when the season opens.
- Practice calling.
- Clean/touch up decoys - That includes checking the batteries of motion decoys.
- Do some training with the dog - get them prepared for opening!
- Get on Google maps and identify Option B, C & D for opening weekend in case of weather or movement restrictions necessitate a change of plans.
- In a safe manner practice shouldering your gun/lining up - You want this to be muscle memory so it’s nice and smooth come opening morning.
- Make a jerk string - It’s the oldest motion decoy there is, yet it still works a treat!
- Read up - look at previous Fish & Game material and the internet to ensure you can hunt smarter, not harder, this season.
- Clean your shotgun - and don’t use CRC. You’d be surprised at the number of hunters that give their semi-auto shotgun a spray of CRC and then wonder why it starts to gum up once the shooting starts!
- And don't forget to get your your licence if you haven't already.
Central South Island Fish & Game Officer Rhys Adams has put us in touch with gundog guru John Stevens.
John has kindly agreed to write a column for each Both Barrels issue.
Auckland Waikato Fish & Game Wildlife Manager John Dyer points out that there is a lot of fantastic information for hunters in the regulation books.
Especially if we have to hunt locally due to Covid-19 Alert levels, the “Regs Book” will tell you about places you can hunt in your area.
It will also tell you about where Fish & Game has invested time and money in creating hunting opportunities in your region.
Keeping the young ones entertained during lockdown by getting them game bird season ready
West Coast Fish & Game Officer Baylee Kersten has some more tips for us:
- Generate excitement by talking about game bird season - anticipation is half the adventure! Talking about our great sport will get them eager to play an active role in the planning and preparation for the season.
- Involve them - have a practice set up then blow your callers to let the neighbourhood know game bird season is approaching. By doing this you will be able to ensure everything is good to go for opening while teaching your kids the importance of the spread and why you set it up like you do. This way you can put them to use setting up for your spread for the rest of the season. Giving them chores when hunting makes them feel like part of the crew rather than a visitor.
- Following point two - have them write a list of what you must take on opening morning and what supplies you still need to get. It might seem simple, but I had a hunter forget to bring his gun once... so don’t be that person.
- Outfit them properly - have the young one’s chuck on all the gear to ensure it still fits and they look the part. Let the kids do a practice face paint with bright colours, as you want bright pink and yellow gone before opening morning!
- Have the young ones draw up a maimai design plan - then discuss the aspects of it, including explaining concealment and the importance of it. Once they do their final design aim to make something that resembles it this season and ensure they get credit for all the birds that come in. Kids love building huts and maimai building is really just hut building for adults!
- Lastly, try to utilise technology - I often use game bird calling apps and speakers to allow young hunters to do all the calling and for me to focus on holding up my end of the deal. Have them practice with the app now so come opening morning you will have cupped wing ducks all morning.
There is a lot more to game bird hunting than just squeezing the shotgun trigger, so there is no reason why children can’t play an active role and look forward to opening day as much as you and I.
After the Government makes its lockdown announcement on April 20th we will send out the next Both Barrels, which will be full of local hunting information ready to help you get set up for the season.