Both Barrels June 2020
Happy Hunters Happy Retailers
The May 23 opening brought smiles to hunters young and old who had to wait 55 weeks since the opening of 2019 due to the Covid – 19 virus outbreak and lock down periods.
Retailers finally got their chance to sell the full range of hunting equipment which left shop floors in a flurry, and barely a steel shot remaining by the time opening day arrived.
Was the wait worth it? absolutely!
Opening Day Findings
Otago staff and volunteer rangers had five compliance teams in action scattered throughout the region.
Compliance was impressive so a big thank you to all those hunters that behaved credibly.
For most areas the day was clear and calm and not ideally suited for hunting ducks but due to good numbers present some respectable hunting was reported.
Of particular note was the Tapanui area with good bags achieved on private ponds and the nearby Pomahaka River.
It was noticed there was an abundance of hunting potential within the region with a lot of ponds holding ducks not being hunted.
Doors will open if you knock on them, so if you haven’t got a hunting spot choose a desirable location and make some inquiries.
It was satisfying to witness family group bubbles (like the Gale family above) enjoying their day and expressing thanks to Fish & Game for purposely communicating the importance of the day to politicians in the midst of a major worldwide pandemic and making the occasion happen.
Ducks were well conditioned and there was widespread satisfaction with how they cleaned up.
From this perspective the two week opening delay was worth the wait.
It reminds of the old Mainland Cheese tv commercial filmed at Glenorchy “Good things take time” link here
Extension to the grey/mallard, shoveler season
The original season had a gazetted 12 July ending date for hunting mallard/grey and shoveler but due to the later start this has been extended to July 26 in Central South Island, Otago and Southland regions.
Other regions adjusted as well so please ensure you are familiar with the updated regulations which can be located here
The quail season got off to a patchy start possibly due to the warmer than usual conditions and birds living on higher ground, but populations are healthy.
Wait for a big freeze and hunt those sunny locations.
With winter trying to arrive ducks will start to concentrate on the smaller creeks and feeding areas.
Evening hunts can be most rewarding after a day’s work and what better way to exercise your trusty retriever.
Harvested grain paddocks are still worth a look and splashes in crops are relished by ducks and easy for hunters to hide in.
Paradise shelduck are plentiful and will mob up when conditions cool. Do your recognisance grad a mate and enjoy some maimai time.
Cliff Halford, Fish and Game Officer Cromwell