Public Land Hunting Opportunity/Guidelines in North Canterbury

FGNZ5928aNorth Canterbury has many fantastic public land hunting opportunities spread across the region. 

The key thing to keep in mind when hunting public land is knowing where other hunters are. 

The minimum legal distance individual hunters can be from one another when duck hunting is 90 metres. 

This is to ensure the safety of everyone and also give everybody a fair chance at getting some game.

A tip for hunting public land in the evenings is not arriving too late so that way you won’t be walking out into fading light being unsure of where other hunters may be.

If you arrive at the same time as other hunters, spend five minutes and have a yarn about what their plans are.

Always remember the seven basic rules of firearms safety. 

Handy Spots 

The Christchurch area has some great options for public land duck hunting.

Many of them are really handy for hunters who live in and around the city; it’s really easy to nip out after work and get some prime time hunting in before dark. 

You can use an existing vacant maimai on public land after 7:30 am.

After the first week of the season, many good maimai’s are vacant, or you can set up near a small piece of water and conceal yourself in the natural cover

Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora 


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Click on the map for a bigger version

Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora is a well-known hub for game bird activity with many different Fish and Game access points for hunters.

(The green highlighted areas on this map are D.O.C Public Conservation Land; you will need a permit from D.O.C to hunt these locations; follow the link to apply for a permit.)

As most people know, it’s best to wait for a southerly.

The best action on Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora is when it’s blowing its guts out, but this usually means an increase in efforts from hunters so be vigilant. 

Lake Ellesmere/ Te Waihora accommodates all types of hunters, whether you want to put out a large number of decoys on the open water or just two or three decoys on a small puddle.

Remember that sometimes less gear can be more effective later in the season.

Birds can become very wary of large decoy layouts, and the same goes for calling once the season is well underway.

Just one hail call and a chuckle as they investigate can be all that is needed.

Click here for the maimai requirements and standards for Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere

Waimakariri River

FGNZ NC Opening day23The Waimakariri River area also holds some good opportunity for handy to home hunting whether it be the estuary or riverbed style of hunting you prefer.

The riverbed is managed by Environment Canterbury as a Regional Park which allows for a multitude of recreational activities.

For the safety of all, they have their own guidelines and legislation for all Park users.

For more information about Waimakariri River hunting, visit the Environment Canterbury site in the link below:

Ashley River

The Ashley riverbed is also a Regional Park managed by Environment Canterbury which means it has many of the same guidelines for Park users.

As far as duck hunting goes it is similar in nature but on a smaller scale.

It also offers tidal estuary and riverbed options.

For more information about Ashley River hunting, visit the Environment Canterbury site in the link below:


North Canterbury Hunting Spots