Otago Both Barrels June 2019

By the time you read this, there will only be a few weeks or so left in the mallard and shoveler season.

It only seems like yesterday, Fish and Game staff and honorary rangers were out and about on opening weekend checking licences, ammo and general hunter behaviour.

Even if you generally shoot mallards, get out and challenge yourself to target another species as you can still hunt parries, black swan (in Area B), quail, chukar and pheasant through till 25th August.

We say this every year “get out and make the most of your hunting licence – there is way more to the game bird season than opening weekend and mallards.

Aerial surveys from earlier in the year show an abundance of paradise shelducks in the region and reports of good numbers of quail are coming in after the season opening on 1st June.

Late season tips

A few tips for shooting ducks late in the season:

  • Get out for a walk – your pond or wetland has probably been hammered over the past couple of months and the ducks will be very shy. Stalking a river bank or setting up a blind may prove more successful.
  • Check your decoys – less is more, later in the season. A sparse, well set-out spread, with lifelike movement, is essential.
  • Calm the calling – moderation is the key. Wait till they are moving away before a short comeback call then stay quiet – give it a go.
  • Lots of natural scrub on your mai mai. Go overboard with the camouflage as very skittish ducks will take some convincing before coming for a look.
  • Take a moment to check your shotgun is clean and well maintained. Things can get a bit gunked up if you haven’t taken the time to look after your gun.
  • Most importantly, you won’t shoot anything unless you get off the couch.

As the winter temperatures drop and snow settles on the hills, quail make their way to lower areas in search of food.

It’s important to scout sunny faces and gullies during the day.

They will also inhabit scrubby areas on river and stream margins where an afternoon hunt with the dog can be very rewarding.

All the best for the remainder of the season.

Nigel Pacey, Otago Fish & Game Officer