Hunting FAQs

BB2csiJULY2017 A ballot winners view Wainono Reserve 2Our Hunting FAQs cover the answers to our most frequently asked questions about game bird hunting in New Zealand.

You’ll find answers to some key questions below.

Remember, if you can't find what you are looking for, or for more information on any topic, please contact your local Fish & Game office or the New Zealand Council on (04) 499 4767 or by email.

More Hunting FAQs

Here are answers to a whole lot more general questions.

It is hunting for birds such as ducks, swans, pheasants, partridges and quail. The species available to game bird hunters are defined in the Wildlife Act 1953. Some of these birds are native to New Zealand (such as the paradise shelduck and the grey duck), while others were brought to New Zealand for hunting.
Fish & Game NZ is not responsible for any other kinds of hunting. We do not cover deer hunting (try the Deerstalkers Association).

Game Birds: The Wildlife Act 1953 schedule 1 defines the following species as wildlife declared to be game birds:

  • Black swan (Cygnus atratus) (except on Chatham Islands)
  • Chukar (Alectoris chukar): except on Chatham Islands
  • Duck:
    • Australasian shoveler (Anas rhynchotis)
    • Grey duck (Anas superciliosa) and any cross of that species with any other species, variety, or kind of duck (except on Chatham Islands).
    • Mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) and any cross of that species with any other species, variety, or kind of duck (except on Chatham Islands).
    • Paradise shelduck (Tadorna variegata)
  • Partridge:
    • Grey partridge (Perdix perdix): except on Chatham Islands
    • Red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa rufa): except on Chatham Islands
  • Pheasant—
    • any bird, not being a domestic bird, of the genus Phasianus and any cross of any such bird with any other species, variety, or kind of pheasant: except on Chatham Islands
  • Pukeko (Porphyrio melanotus) (except on Chatham Islands).
  • Quail—
    • Bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus): except on Chatham Islands
    • Brown quail (Coturnix ypsilophora): except on Chatham Islands
    • California quail (Callipepla californica): except on Chatham Islands

An adult game bird hunting licence costs $96 and a junior’s $22. You’ll find all the information on hunting licences and fees by clicking here.

These are found in the First Schedule section of the “Game Bird Hunting Guide” supplied free with your licence. Or else visit our page here, which has a short Q and A .

Each Fish & Game region has its own set of regulations working in conjunction with the national regulations. Details of all the hunting regulations can be found on our Hunting Regulations page here.

On that page you’ll also find links to the latest North and South Island hunting guides. They are a mine of information covering seasons, bag limits and much more. You should have received one when you bought your hunting licence, but you can download them here.

You’ll find some general advice on maimais and cover  here. If you are setting out to build a maimai there is plenty of more detailed ‘how to’ advice here, including construction guidelines and plans.

Mastering duck calls will improve your success rate significantly. Adequate calling is not difficult, but requires some practice. You will find some general advice here

To learn more, there's a very good chapter on calling on our 'Introduction to Duck Hunting' DVD, available from your nearest Fish & Game office. And if you want to hear how the experts do it, click here to watch a video with Kiwi calling champion Hunter Morrow’s tips .

Firstly, gut your bird as soon as possible. Putting a good meal on the table begins the moment you shoot a duck, parrie, or other game bird. It’s essential that once you’ve gutted or breasted the bird, that you keep your game meat cool. Click here for lots of advice on plucking, gutting, breasting and cooking. 

Every hunter who sends in their band details by August 31, 2019 can go in the draw. One hunter can have multiple entries but it’s only one entry per duck band. There are other conditions – click here for details

You can win one of five great prize packages from Hunting & Fishing worth nearly $600 – a hunting jacket and decoys.

The annual Game Bird Food Festival is an ideal chance for you to get together with a group of hunting mates, friends or family to sample game birds cooked by professional chefs at a local restaurant. The focus is less on fine dining than game birds as natural, tasty wild game. Restaurants around the country sign up to take part. You can book in (preferably 24 hours or more) in advance to have your game bird cooked by them. Any bird included in the game bird hunting regulations can be prepared by your chosen restaurant. The list includes mallard duck, paradise duck, black swan, pheasant and quail. For more details, click here for FAQs.