Southland Both Barrels June 2019
All this wet weather has created lots of puddles for mallards.
Saturated soils push the worms to the surface where ducks can dabble and pick them up with ease.
The great thing about mallards on worms is they can pack the condition on rather quickly, creating beautiful table fare!
Above Right: Practical experience time at the ladies duck hunting workshop.
With the high numbers of juvenile birds getting around this season many of the mallards you have harvested will be on the smaller-bodied side, but will be getting bigger as the season progresses and they get some more age and condition on them.
Opening Weekend harvest
Looking back over our updated Opening Weekend harvest results we were a bit surprised to note that the average Opening Weekend bag was 14.92 mallards per active hunter, hunting in Southland.
If you actually tease apart this data a bit further we find that Southland hunters who hunted in Southland have an average Opening Weekend bag of only 10.5 mallards.
This means those licence holders that purchased their licence in another region, but hunted in Southland for Opening weekend, on average shot four more mallards than locals!
This means we have an influx of keen hunters from outside the region who come specifically to Southland for Opening Weekend and either have a great spot to fulfill their limit, or bring with them more skills than the locals.
Ladies duck hunting workshop
We had a great weekend in Kingston put on by Tara Lawrence and Laura Douglas with a group of lovely ladies keen to learn more about shotgun shooting and duck hunting.
We discussed everything from shotgun fit, eye dominance, shooting stance, duck calling, decoys, hunting, plucking, gutting and cooking wild duck.
Clay birds were smashed by newbies and many got their hands dirty learning different butchering techniques, but all feedback received to date has been really positive!
We have a few ponds lined up for ladies this season, so if any ladies are keen to do some further learning about duck hunting or want to get on board with this in any way, please get in touch!
Grill-Roasted duck (Hank Shaw)
When most people talk about cooking a whole duck they mention long and slow, however, if you have taken the time to pluck and gut a duck, you have got to enjoy that beautiful crispy skin you get on a roast!
Grill-roasting is highly recommended by American game chef, Hank Shaw.
A general rule – the smaller the bird, the higher the heat as you want the skin to crisp, without overcooking the bird. ** Side note: Overcooking and drying out your mallards will put you off eating wild duck for life!! **
Start with your aged duck at room temperature (set on bench for 30 minutes or so prior to cooking).
Preheat your oven (or BBQ) to ~260-300 Celsius.
Coat your ducks with vegetable oil and plenty of salt.
Place so they are off the bottom of the roasting dish slightly, and splash 5 mm of water on the bottom of the pan.
Chuck them in the oven or BBQ and try not to lose too much heat (the speedier the better!)
A mallard will take 15 minutes to NO MORE than 22 minutes as long as the heat is 260C or above.
Pull out of the oven and cover with tin foil, resting for ~15 minutes.
Serve with pepper and lemon wedges on the side.
Erin Garrick, Southland Fish & Game Officer