Both Barrels May 2021

Opening weekend roundup 

Following the delayed and constrained opening last year following lockdown, it was great to see friends and family groups coming together to enjoy their opening weekend hunting.

While fine weather favoured the ducks, most hunters had some success and were happy with how theOpening Weekend went. 

Paradise shelduck dominated the harvest in many areas, but the evening shoots proved very successful for mallard duck, with some good bags of well-conditioned birds taken for the table. 

A few hunters also took advantage of the fine conditions by chasing pheasant – and with some success.

Above Right: A successful opening day pheasant hunt (photo Craig Munro) 

Fish & Game Rangers out with NZ Police were well received by hunters and there was good compliance with licencing requirements, bag limits and the safe handling and use of firearms. 

Rest of season looks promising 

TBB2May2021. Farm oxidation ponds can hold good numbers of mallards

Farm oxidation ponds can hold good numbers of mallards.

Ongoing regular rainfall here on the west coast means there is no shortage of feeding opportunities for mallard/grey duck and paradise shelduck in wet farm paddocks and shallow areas of standing water.

With birds now well distributed following early season hunting activity, it’s a matter of finding out where and when the ducks are coming in. 

Jump shooting of smaller un-shot ponds and morning or evening shoots on farm oxidation ponds can be productive, as can walking the smaller rivers and streams.

Farms feeding out maize silage can also be well worth a visit.

Report any duck bands 

Several hunters contacted during our regular telephone surveys following opening weekend reported shooting banded mallard ducks and had recorded the band numbers – well done! 

The information on where and when you shot a banded bird is vital to the management of the resource, so please go to the hunting pages on the Fish & Game website https://fishandgame.org.nz/game-bird-hunting-in-new-zealand/banding-form/ and fill out the form to report the band or else contact the Taranaki Fish & Game office on 0212700239 or email taranaki@fishandgame.org.nz

Watch out for brown teal 

TBB3May2021. Volunteers getting ready to release 52 Pateke brown teal at Lake Rotokare on 13th May 2021.

Volunteers getting ready to release 52 Pāteke (brown teal) at Lake Rotokare on 13th May 2021.

If you’re hunting in the Eltham area, please keep a lookout for Pāteke (brown teal). 

Following an initial release of 20 birds at Lake Rotokare in 2019, the second release of 52 captive-reared birds occurred on 13th May 2021.

While the population is centred on Lake Rotokare, experience from the first release showed that Pāteke soon spread out and visit farms dams and ponds in the wider area.

Pāteke is a small brown duck similar in size to scaup and grey teal (all fully protected).

Allen Stancliff, Taranaki Fish & Game Officer.