Auckland Waikato Both Barrels May 2016
Time to switch - and zero in on pheasants, quail, pooks
The mallard, grey and shoveler seasons are now but a memory, and even parries and black swan are off limits with their seasons over.
But pheasants, quail and pukeko have plenty of time to go, so now’s the time to plan that outing.
Top right: Kelly Gadus Reelfoot duck call.
Quite a few shooters have confirmed our prediction that pheasant numbers have increased this year.
In some parts of our southern region quail numbers, including brown quail, are said to be well up. In fact, there is a proposal to put the Australian brown quail back on our licence.
This is just one of the potential changes to the game regulations in this region that will soon to be considered. So if there is anything you want to see changed (or kept!), now is the time to make your views known in a submission to our Hamilton office. Our Council get to see all submissions made, unless of course, you leave it too late.
Hunters have their say on three-shot rule
We differ from other regions by having a three-shot rule, meaning two in the magazine and one in the breech.
Many hunters have been surveyed as part of the random game bird hunter phone surveys. By far the most feedback seems to be for keeping this rule.
Many game bird hunters have in fact brought over-and-under shotguns having worked out that, if you can’t get them with the first couple of shots, the odds of connecting afterwards diminish rapidly.
Most hunters asked thought three shots were enough. Likewise, we have been asking this random sample about pond feeding.
It seems that those who’ve tried it often have had mixed results, with many finding they had the fattest rats and pukekos in the district, but no more ducks.
A lot of hunters simply couldn’t feed because of their locations, for instance, over fast flowing, deep water on public land.
Many hunters felt that if these restrictions helped mallards recover, they were worth supporting. But like any issue, there are also contrary views.
Foreign invaders? Hardly...
Hunters in some districts worry about an influx of Aucklanders shooting “their” birds. We’ve noticed in this year’s surveys is that many of these so-called “Aucklanders” are actually the sons, daughters or brothers who are simply going back to their family farm for the get-together annual shoot, usually just for a couple of days.
It isn’t, of course, just an outward exodus as other hunters come into the region too – often for similar reasons.
Helping the ducks
From around Queen’s Birthday we noted most mallards were already paired up, (in this northern region), and hunters will now be seeing these pairs feeding up prior to nesting, laying eggs and raising a new family.
Some ducklings are already afoot. If you want to be proactive about vermin hanging around ponds and snaffling these birds, all the information needed about how to trap them can be found here
Left: Stoat in a Fenn trap (Photo Neil Hayes). Every eliminated rat or stoat has to mean many more ducklings survive.
Picking NZ's top duck caller
Congratulations to all those who had a quack at becoming the nation’s top duck caller in the champs held near Tauranga.
Hunter Morrow from the South Island took first prize, a trip to compete in the world champs in the U.S., and Owen Robinson from Hamilton was runner up. Fish & Game extends a big thank you to all who took part and Loaded NZ, the clay bird shooting range which hosted the finals.
Right: Ace duck callers: left to right Hunter Morrow, Owen Robinson and Callum McKenzie.
Need a new camo’ hunting jacket?
Don’t forget to send in those band details to get in the draw to win a cosy hunting jacket. The deadline for entries is 31 August, 2016.
You could win one of five Matuku Camo’ Extreme Technical jackets (value $199 each) generously provided by Hunting & Fishing New Zealand (www.huntingandfishing.co.nz) Ring the free phone number 0800 BIRD BAND (0800-247322).
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