North Canterbury Both Barrels July 2017

It’s hard to believe we are now approaching the final weekend of the duck shooting season.

Most hunters will be hoping for a couple of last chances and as this week progresses the weather forecast may just provide some good opportunities on Thursday and Friday.

Above Right: Brace brings in a nice mallard.

In addition to this, the last day of the season ( Sunday 30th July ) often encourages large numbers of hunters out for a last shot of the season.

This can be to everyone's advantage as more birds are disturbed from more areas, providing more chances.

We encourage as many of you as possible to get out there, for at least for one more go before the seasons over!

It would be fair to say that this season has been better than the past few for most hunters.

There are definately more birds than usual on the wing, especially around Ellesmere, on dusk this season.

Increased regular hunting pressure at the common access points has also been noticeable this season.

Frequent favourable weather events have also provided good conditions and as a result of this Mallards have been shot more consistently by new hunters this season which is great to see.

At present there is a lot of surface water around, this will mean that Mallards will have plenty of new feed options available to them.

Mallards love worms and there is no doubt that they will be feeding on flooded paddocks in search of them.

It may be worth going for a drive and scouting out some birds and then knocking on some doors and asking for permission. You might get a few no’s! but it only takes one yes!

There will also be opportunities around pools left behind by the floods in our low land riverbed catchments, as these flows drop it maybe worth a look for birds camped up along the willow margins of rivers like the Selwyn and Ashley.

As the duck season comes to an end don’t forget there are still hunting opportunities available.  

  • Paradise Shelduck ( Area B only 6th May – 24th Sept )
  • California Quail ( 6th May – 20th August )
  • Black Swan ( Area A only 6th May – 30th July ) and ( 31st July – 24th September )
  • Don’t forget the Great North Canterbury Black Swan Hunt is still on! Details below.

Duck Calling Champs postponed till August

Jarrad Melhopt, organiser of this annual  event in Springston made the wise call to postpone the event after the storm that hit Canterbury and Otago made road travel difficult and dangerous.

The event had received widespread publicity after Fish & Game posted a funny video of competitor Callum McKenzie using duck calls to communicate with his workmates on the building site was watched by 25,000 people.

As well as an adult section for the first time in Canterbury a junior section is being held,  three brave young duck callers are entered in it, but with the postponement there's a chance for other youngsters to enter and also the chance to walk away with some fantastic prizes.

We ill post an updated date for the competition on Fish & Game's Facebook page and website when we get that from Jarrad.

The Great North Canterbury Black Swan Hunt

  • The Black Swan competition which began on Opening Day runs until 5pm, Thursday 21st September. 
  • The three official collection station sites are the Fish & Game office at 595 Johns Road, Belfast; Watkins Homekill Processing, 3 Burdons Road Burnham; Ellesmere Butchery, 79 High Street Leeston. 

The key aim of this competition is to provide hunters with an additional focus during the game bird season, and encourage them to harvest black swan as a food source. The competition also helps address crop predation issues caused by increasing swan populations.

The competition is confined to the North Canterbury Fish & Game region only, To enter the competition hunters need to present pairs of Black Swan legs tied together and frozen separately.  

Legs will not be accepted in a solid block or in a decayed state and will be inspected for authenticity.

There's no limit to the number of entries per hunter, but hunters may only enter one section. A current 2017 Game bird hunting licence must be produced, and all black swans must be shot in accordance with current Fish & Game hunting regulations.

Entries will not be accepted from birds shot under special game bird control permits issued.

Although the prize draw is not finalised yet the basic format will be in three categories, and in lucky draw format per section. There will be two camo Benelli M2 12 gauge one semi-automatic shot guns in the prize pool. There will be a main prize in each prize pool and other lucky draw prizes will also be added.

       Section 1:   1 – 10 pairs of Black Swan legs. Hunting prizes valued at $1200

      Section 2:   11 – 30 pairs of Black Swan legs. Hunting prizes valued at $2000

      Section 3:   31 pairs plus of Black Swan legs. Hunting prizes valued at $2500.

      Section 4:  Lucky licence draw $500 gift voucher. 

The prize pool and values are approximate only and may differ from the above.

Legs will only be accepted during a four day period during the last week of the Area A black swan hunting season starting Monday 18th September ( 8.30 am – 5pm daily ) and finishing Thursday 21st September.

Hunters are invited to attend a closing day barbecue and prize draw at the Coes Ford/Selwyn River picnic area, Ellesmere, from 10am, Sunday 24th September.

The prize-giving will start at 11 am sharp, Hunters must be present, and they must be able to produce both a current Firearms Licence and 2017 Game bird Hunting Licence. 

Finally, good luck to all during the last week of the main duck hunting season, personally I've had a mixed season.

I have shot very poorly at times, and very well also, but the main thing is, I've really enjoyed every opportunity taken, to get out and take part in this truly amazing sport of game bird hunting that we are so lucky to have.

At the same time I've shot with some great people, I've met some great people, and I've got a few ducks in the freezer which I look forward to stuffing and roasting during the year, how much better can it get!

The only thing I’m not looking forward to is trying to explain to my young lab Brace, after in his first year in the field, that we are done for now and will have to wait awhile until the 2018 duck hunting season!

Cheers all

Dirk Barr, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.

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