North Canterbury Both Barrels May 2019
North Canterbury game bird opening day report
Weather conditions in North Canterbury for opening day were pretty good as far as pleasant hunting goes.
Over night temperatures were mostly above 10 degrees with a moderate nor-west wind inland, and light winds in the coastal band.
Some areas in the north of the region had fog which helped pond hunters especially.
Above Right: Happy inland North Canterbury hunters with 18 ducks for their first shoot of the season.
Hunters were out in large numbers on opening day, and most reported that good numbers of birds were trading in their vicinity, but due to the relatively fine conditions they were difficult to call in after the first two hours.
Established ponds in the region which had been grain fed prior, provided some very good hunting in many cases.
Good numbers of around 30 to 60 birds per pond have been reported by hunters on a number of Canterbury’s many irrigation ponds.
Open water bodies such as Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora shot pretty well until the birds moved trading lanes to the upper level.
Hunters in these coastal areas all managed to shoot at least a couple of birds in the first hour, and some in the right places had very good tallies, some limiting out with 25 birds.
All commented on the large numbers of birds trading high.
One seasoned hunter was confident in stating that, he had not seen that many birds in the past 20 years.
The first southerly winds were some time coming, and the first one arrived during the night, not ideal but hunters that were out early the next morning did well.
It is important for hunters to forecast ahead and be set up in advance of, ready and waiting for the southerly wind changes.
The initial wind change is often the most productive hunting time in open waters, and the rougher the better.
2019 game bird ranging
North Canterbury Fish and Game Rangers were out in large numbers with an extensive compliance operation underway during the day.
From the Ashley river in the North, to the Rakaia River in the south, 22 Honorary and Staff rangers were out covering a wide area.
Fish and Game were expecting a higher than usual amount of compliance phone calls this season, due to the heightened media focus around firearms reform.
Media teams were out, and it was expected that protesters may use the current firearms climate to highlight their cause.
This turned out to, not be the case, but in the event that it was, the North Canterbury compliance team were fully prepared and ready to respond with their usual professionalism.
A social competition was held during the morning at Wolfes Road with prizes given for the heaviest brace of mallards, paradise ducks, and black swan entered.
Rangers were assigned to BBQ duties providing hunters with some well earned sausages.
That was a great plan until the F&G barbeque wouldn’t go!
Plan B was employed thanks to one of the rangers bringing his camper van to the site.
During the course of the day over 150 licences were checked by the team with 100% compliance -no offences were detected.
On another positive note, no firearms accidents were reported in the North Canterbury region.
The above scenario was exactly what the team had hoped for in the current firearms climate.
Hunters have obviously played a huge part with portraying “game bird hunters” as a responsible and law abiding group.
2019 Regulations Booklet Error.
Anglers are advised that there has been a misprint regarding the 2020 Summer season on paradise shelduck in Area A.
The limit bag regulations currently state five bird, this is not correct. as Council has endorsed a new limit bag of 15 birds.
Council will honour the new limit bag of 15 birds in Area A during the 2020 summer paradise shelduck season.
Hunters, Don’t miss this one! It is the biggest game bird hunting event in the country!
Yes it is on again hunters! gather in your hunting mates from where ever region they are in, in or out of the country, to celebrate our game, and the traditional harvest of game birds for the table.
The inaugural social event last season held at the Springston Hotel showed huge potential for this event to grow, and it was evident that something like this is a great way to attract young hunters into the sport.
It is up to the hunters to make a success of this event.
If you want to give something back to our magnificent game bird resource, this is the way to do it.
Bring your mates, and bring your kids to the best game bird event in the country, and celebrate the traditional harvest of our magnificent game bird resource.
There have been a few small changes to the event this season listed below.
- The comp now one day longer and it starts on a Sunday, this is to allow two weekend days that junior hunters can participate in finals night is still the following Saturday.
- There is a $10 senior entry registration fee, junior and child licence holder entries are free, the senior registration fee is needed to cover promotional costs.
- There will be a registration Ttag which will have your number for all categories on it. It will also become a souvenir of being part of the event.
- There is an early bird entry lucky draw, entries are accepted from 3rd June at Fish and Game 595 Johns Road, Harewood, or posted to P O Box 50 Woodend, North Canterbury 7641, enquiries to 0800 347 426.
- A skill factor is required to be completed upon registration, this is a legal requirement regarding the conditions of the competition, without this being completed, hunters will not be eligible for some prizes.
There have been a few changes to the competition this season, but one thing has not changed, there is still about $9,000 worth of prizes in the pool.
Thanks to Hunting & Fishing Tower Junction, the North Canterbury Fish and Game Council, with support from the Christchurch Airport Authority.
Upcoming important dates
- North Canterbury Pheasant Weekend, 8 and 9 June only.
Limit Bag; 1 Cock Pheasant per day.
- The Inaugural “Canterbury Wild Duck Hunters Comp” 16 – 22 June.
Pheasant survey help
Fish and Game Rangers will be asking Pheasant hunters to assist with a pheasant population survey this season.
Sightings of hens and cocks by hunters over the two day season will be collected to form an annual trend count of populations.
Rangers will require your phone numbers in order to call you back after the weekends hunting.
The ultimate objective will be the protection and enhancement if possible of this truly magnificent game bird.
Your assistance would be much appreciated.
Strait Barrels All,
Dirk Barr, North Canterbury Fish and Game