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Mixed fortunes for Northland hunters
Opening Weekend game bird hunting produced a “great variety” of results for hunters around the Northland Peninsula.
Rangers carried out a number of licence checks and turned up reasonable compliance by hunters.
One hunter was caught hunting without a licence and in possession of lead shot while hunting waterfowl over a pond.
It appears from the early information gathered in the Hunter Harvest survey at Opening Weekend, the average bag for mallards was about four or five mallard ducks and 12 paradise shelducks.
Top right: Ask a farmer if you can target the parries on his land.
This is slightly down on the average for most years but the weather played a major part in whether hunters succeeded or not.
The Opening Weekend weather was really like another late summer’s day with temperatures reaching the low 20’s and virtually no wind.
Harbours and lakes were like millponds for most of the weekend, prompting ducks to raft up up on large water areas or sit about 10km off the coast and pretend to be seagulls.
However some exceptional bags were reported and one group of three hunters shot 150 parries and 38 mallards over the weekend in the Hikurangi area.
The trend over the years has been for hunters to shoot Opening Weekend and then decide to leave it and hunt again later in the month, or else leave it to the last weekend.
There is so much opportunity for you to get the most value from your licence that I encourage you to go out as often as you can, and pick up those bags of two or three birds that might be sitting on a small pond or in a backwater creek.
It doesn’t take long over a couple of weeks to find that your personal tally has grown significantly, and that you’ve actually had a pretty good season.
Our staff are still hearing from farmers who are having major issues with parries eating their chicory crops or sitting on newly-sown pasture.
One farmer in the mid north claims he has thousands of parries which are causing him a real headache and asked if he could machine gun the birds!
I have advised him that the game season is open and that he should let as many hunters as he possibly can visit his property to hunt the birds between now and 7 August when the season on paradise shelducks closes.
My advice to hunters is to scout around their areas and knock on farmers doors to ask if you can hunt on their land.
If they have a problem with parries then what better way to control the numbers than have licenced hunters harvest the birds and use the meat for the table.
Decoys set on a Northland property.
Workplace safety laws assurance
Fish & Game has gone to some effort to reassure both farmers and hunters that the new workplace safety legislation will not impact on recreational use.
Fish & Game and Federated Farmers worked closely together to make sure that recreational access to farms wasn’t affected by the law changes.
Both organisations recognise the value of such access and happily, the parliamentary select committee considering the draft legislation agreed.
The result is that Parliament has safeguarded access for anglers, hunters and trampers.
Fish & Game says the close co-operation between it and Federated Farmers on the issue has dispelled a lot of the rumour and speculation which had built up over the new laws.
The new Health and Safety at Work Act clarifies that a farmer’s responsibility for any risk on their farmland does not extend to recreational users, except when work is being carried out in that particular part of the farm at the time.
Fish & Game is happy to provide help to hunters and farmers wanting clarification about the new law.
Finally please remember to be safe and take due care out there. Using your firearm is a privilege and not a right.
Any breach or mishap could result in your firearms licence being revoked by the Police.
Northland Fish & Game Manager Rudi Hoetjes