Game bird Hunting Regulations and Guides are updated annually.
Please be aware at all times of local and national regulations to ensure the safety of others and the sustainability of Game bird Hunting. Click here to be taken to where you can download the latest hunting regulations.
Southland Fish & Game Region
Hunting in Southland
The Southland region provides some of the best Mallard duck hunting in New Zealand. Season bags range around 20 birds. Much of the hunting is carried out on private farm ponds although public water bodies, estuaries in particular, provide good hunting opportunities during the opening weekend and on rough weather days. Hunters travelling to Southland need to find a local contact to organise hunting spots, upgrade maimais and arrange accommodation. Numerous groups of hunters congregate in the same area year after year. These gatherings engender great camaraderie and lifelong friendships.
Although widespread across the province, northern Southland provides the best Paradise duck hunting in the region. This species has thrived with land development. Congregations can be found into the back country where they graze on modern grass cultivars grown on newly developed land. Paradise duck provide through-the-season hunting on pastures. Once a mob is found they can be chased off, then decoys put out, suitable camouflage arranged and the birds shot when they return. Parries appeared to have declined in abundance over the past two years so the bag limit has been reduced from 10 to 6 per day.
Shoveler duck, and Black swan provide limited hunting experiences and are taken incidentally to the more common species. Hunting of Pukeko is no longer permitted in Southland.
Canada Geese are no longer game birds but Southland has a robust Canada goose population with most found in the Te Anau Basin and along the coastal fringe where there are large water bodies that they use for resting and refuge. They feed on pastures where the most successful hunting occurs. A high degree of skill and lots of perseverance is required for success as these are wily birds. Reconnoitring is required to find movement times and precise feeding locations. Moon phases and seasonal behaviour are also important considerations. There are good opportunities for hunting Canada geese in the upper reaches of the Oreti, Mararoa and Upukerora in particular, in the spring time. Many hunters are keen for these birds to be restored as game birds but in the meantime there are no regulations covering the hunting of them, except hunters should not use lead shot over waterbodies as this will poison other waterfowl.
Always get permission to hunt on private land and ensure your gun dogs are dosed, registered and well behaved. Safe use of firearms is essential and make sure they are stowed away before drinking any alcohol.
To help and encourage landholders and hunters to create game bird habitat, in Southland we offer a range of services at no cost. These include evaluating and surveying sites for open water wetland development, and providing advice on wetland design and riparian planting. In addition, landholders can apply to Southland Fish & Game for a grant of up to $1000 to assist with the cost of constructing wetlands suitable for hunting in Southland. Contact Southland Fish & Game field staff to discuss wetland development and funding opportunities.