Game bird hunting
Southland offers great hunting for waterfowl, with our vast areas of pastoral-based agriculture producing a large population of ducks. As a consequence we have the most consistent mallard hunting in New Zealand, with average season bags usually ranging from 25 – 35 birds.
Paradise Shelduck hunting can also be productive although we have relatively low numbers compared to many other regions. This is primarily because these birds can be successfully hunted in specific locations, such as grain stubble paddocks. As a consequence their population is held below levels where they can cause problems for farmers.
While we have only about 4500 Canada geese there can be good hunting for these majestic birds. The low numbers compared to other regions of the South belies the significance of the resource. During the popular goose hunting period these birds will be found in at least ten mobs of over 200 birds. Each of these mobs will be flying out from a loafing area to pasture to feed, and therefore each group represents a hunting opportunity. Also for geese we have a special hunting season in both the Eglinton and Grebe river valleys in the spring. Both of these catchments are within Fordland National park, but the Department of Conservation have allowed hunters access with shotguns specifically to hunt geese under a system managed by Fish & Game. Anyone wishing to do so should contact Fish & Game’s Southland region.
The majority of mallard hunting in Southland is undertaken on private land. Unfortunately, because our rivers have often meandered into a different course since the ‘Queens chain’ was surveyed, despite being in a riverbed there is no guarantee you are on public land. Therefore, hunters looking for a hunting place on one of the rivers should contact the adjoining farmer just to be certain. It’s not often that a polite enquiry is turned down. Ideally, local contacts and a reasonable amount of homework will ensure you are successful.