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Wet weather forecast for this weekend may not be what everyone wants, but Fish & Game says it will be appreciated by game bird hunters.

The Met Service is forecasting rain for the upper North Island as the weekend begins, followed by a cold front sweeping up the South Island on Saturday, bringing rain and wind with it.

Above Right: Plenty of chances to have go at these guys this weekend - Photo: Rhys Adams.

Fish & Game says the wind and cloud could prove helpful for game bird hunters looking to bag a few ducks.

“I know this sort of weather isn’t appreciated by people looking forward to a long weekend with their family and friends, but it provides ideal conditions for duck hunters,” says Fish & Game’s communications manager Don Rood.

“The opening of the game bird season in early May was accompanied by perfect weather, with blue skies and calm conditions in many parts of the country.  Now with winter almost upon us, the weather is better suited for chasing ducks.”

As hunters venture back out in search of a duck dinner, Fish & Game is reminding them to follow the game regulations and be safe.

“The wet autumn means there is still a lot of water around and hunters need to be very aware of water safety.  Don’t overload boats and kayaks and wear a life jacket when you are out on the water,” Don Rood says.

“Firearm safety needs to be upper most in hunters’ minds too.  Don’t load your gun until you are ready to fire and make sure there is nothing behind your target.  We want people to enjoy themselves and come home safe.”

MallardIn many regions, Fish & Game rangers will be out inspecting hunters to make sure they have their licences and are following the rules.

Hunters who are planning to take advantage of the long weekend by travelling to a different Fish & Game region are urged to make themselves aware of that region’s game harvesting rules. 

“Each region has different bag limits for game birds and restrictions on equipment that can be used.  Breaking those rules can prove expensive,” Don Rood warns.

“As an example, anyone hunting in the Auckland-Waikato, Eastern and Hawke’s Bay regions is limited to three shots in their gun.  Other regions have restrictions on using magazine extensions.  Make sure you are familiar with the regulations in the area you are hunting in.” 

So far, the game bird season has proved successful for many hunters, with some regions reporting the best season in years.  Fish & Game says the wet summer appears to have provided ducks with ideal breeding conditions and bird numbers reflect this.

The game bird season runs from May 6 to August 27, although the duration of duck hunting opportunities varies in each of Fish & Game’s 12 regions.