Both Barrels May 2020

Game bird season begins May 23

With NZ now in Alert Level 2, hunters can look forward with anticipation to the duck and pheasant hunting season kicking off at 6.30am on Saturday 23rd May and to compensate for the later start, the waterfowl season has been extended through to Sunday July 12 in Taranaki.

While this will be welcome news after the restrictions of the COVID-19 lockdown, hunters are reminded of the importance of complying with the requirements of Alert Level 2.

From a hunting perspective this means keeping groups to less than 10 hunters, maintaining social distancing, not sharing equipment and having someone keep a record of everyone’s contact details.  

Hunters should refer to the Fish & Game website https://fishandgame.org.nz/covid-19-information/covid-19-info-for-hunters/ and also www.covid19.govt.nz for the latest government directives and advisories.

Contacting landowners to work through any concerns they may have about access etc. should also be a priority.

Waterfowl hunters are also reminded to protect their patch this season, by taking steps to avoid spreading aquatic pests. 

Exotic fish, plants, algae and snails can be moved between waterways if you don’t check, clean and dry your gear.  Basically, everything that’s been in the water; decoys, dinghies, waders - even dogs!

Duck numbers look promising

During the lockdown we received ongoing requests from farmers for permits to disturb mallard and paradise ducks damaging areas of new-sown grass and mobs of several hundred birds were seen on farms feeding maize silage. 

Taranaki has seen more autumn rainfall than many parts of the north island and the ducks look to be fairly well distributed, which bodes well for opening weekend.

Having said that, the ringplain surrounding Mt. Taranaki is undoubtedly a hotspot for paradise shelduck.

TBB2May2020 Prospects look good for pheasant hunting this seasonPhoto Curly McEwen

Prospects look good for pheasant hunting this season. Photo Curly McEwen

Above Right: Record numbers of paradise shelduck were counted on the Taranaki ringplain during the January 2020 moult.

Prospects for upland game also looking good

The dry summer this year has benefitted pheasant populations and there were lots of clutches of young pheasants (and quail) seen round the region.

While upland game hunters tend to concentrate on the coastal sand dune country the opportunities in the rugged interior, targeting less developed farmland with lots of broken cover and scrubby edges shouldn’t be overlooked.

For more information on where to look and how to hunt Taranaki pheasants visit our regional hunting web page https://fishandgame.org.nz/taranaki/game-bird-hunting-in-new-zealand/where-to-hunt-game-birds/

Regulation changes

The regulations remain unchanged from last season other than the open season for shoveler duck is extended to 12 July, consistent with the season for other waterfowl species.

Game that may be hunted within Taranaki Fish & Game  Region 2020

Species

Season opening

Season end

Daily Bag Limit

Hunting Area

Grey/ mallard duck

23 May 2020

12 July 2020

10

All areas

Shoveler duck

23 May 2020

12 July 2020

2

All areas

Paradise shelduck

23 May 2020

12 July 2020

10

All areas

Black swan

23 May 2020

12 July 2020

2

All areas

Pukeko

23 May 2020

30 August 2020

5

Areas A & B

23 May 2020

30 August 2020

10

Area C

California quail

23 May 2020

30 August 2020

5

All areas

Cock pheasant

23 May 2020

30 August 2020

2

All areas

Report any duck bands

With three years of banding in the Ruapehu District (2017-19) and now one year in Whanganui, there are several hundred banded mallard and grey ducks out in the population, plus others that will have moved in from banding sites outside the region.

The information on where and when you shot a banded bird is vital to us, so please go to the hunting pages within the Fish & Game website https://fishandgame.org.nz to find the form to report the band or else contact the Taranaki F&G office on (06) 345 4908 or email taranaki@fishandgame.org.nz

All in all, while this season is being held under a unique set of circumstances, it’s shaping up to be a good season and a great opportunity to get out and relax, while working within the Alert Level requirements, with the bonus of collecting some organic, healthy gamebirds for the table.

Hot Barrels

Allen Stancliff, Taranaki Fish & Game