Summer hunting for paradise shelduck on offer

For Taranaki game bird hunters who can't wait for the traditional May start of the hunting season to come around, Fish & Game is all set to lay on some summer hunting opportunities.

Fish & Game has declared a special hunting season over two weekends for paradise shelduck to help farmers disperse flocks that can damage pastures and crops.

The first weekend is Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 February, followed by March 5 and 6 in the Taranaki Game Management Area 'C' only. 

This area includes the Taranaki province north of the Waitotara River and all of the Stratford district. 

Hunting hours on each of the four days will be from 6.30 am until 8 pm. The daily bag limit has been set at ten parries per hunter.

Fish & Game Acting Manager Allen Stancliff says the aim is to disperse the ducks, moving them back to their home territories after they've gathered together for their annual moult.

Hunters all set for a productive paradise shelduck summer hunting season. Photo Curly McEwen.

Hunters all set for a productive paradise shelduck summer hunting season. Photo Curly McEwen.

"This reduces the potential for mobs to cause damage to chicory crops, recovering hay paddocks and areas of new grass, before the main game bird hunting season gets underway in May."

This year Fish & Game is also dispersing paradise shelduck from the Stratford oxidation ponds for hunters stationed in surrounding farmland on Saturday 26 February, as numbers moulting on the ponds have increased markedly in recent years.

Hunters who want to participate in the special season must hold a 2021 game bird hunting licence and obtain a $5 permit from Fish & Game or a local game bird licence agent.

The permit is free to land occupiers who want to hunt their own land, but they still need to hold a permit.

Hunters who didn't purchase a 2021 game licence can still participate in the special season by purchasing day licences online at www.fishandgame.org.nz

Mr Stancliff adds that the special season applies to paradise shelduck only, and all other game birds remain protected; they cannot be hunted. Fish & Game Rangers will be out checking on compliance over the four days.

"This is a great opportunity for some enjoyable summer hunting that helps our farmers – all we ask is that hunters stick to the rules, including that there is no hunting within 200m of any urban sewage oxidation pond."

"Also, please remember that hunters need permission to hunt on private land – don't forget to ask the landowner."