Wellington Game Bird Hunting Bulletin - 2 July 2020

Only Two Weekends Left To Chase Ducks

July 2, 2020

Nathan Field having a ball shooting some flooded woodland from a makeshift hide (Copyright Hamish Carnachan)

The strong southerlies have produced some exceptional shooting this week – as good as it gets, really.There are only two weekends left to chase ducks in the Wellington Fish & Game region and the weather is going to turn it on for waterfowl hunters again this weekend!

Two Fish & Game rangers limited out mid-week on Lake Wairarapa, and other parties also reported having great hunts while the southerly blow ripped up the lower North Island.

There have certainly been plenty of mallards moving about in the unsettled weather and more wild conditions are over the next few days – through to Sunday – should keep them on the wing.

While the southerly conditions that have prevailed this week will abate on Friday afternoon, hunters should keep an eye on the building north/nor-west system that is forecast to reach near gale on Sunday.

And don't forget that school holidays start next Monday.

With the extension of the season (closing July 12) due to the delay caused by Covid-19 restrictions, there's a great opportunity to keep the kids entertained by taking them out for several shoots.

Day licences are available and can be purchased here. Junior licences are just $8 and children (aged 1-11 on May 4, 2020) can hunt for free. More info available here.

We hope you make the most of the great hunting conditions that are coming, and get the kids out to experience this great pursuit too!

 

Weather Outlook

Click here for updated weather information from MetService.

wellington weather 2nd july

 

Reader Photo Comp – Be In To Win

Kadyn with one of his mallards from Opening morning

Kadyn with one of his mallards from Opening morning

Hunter have got another week or so to get their hunting images from season 2020 into us and be eligible to enter our photo comp!

Entries close Sunday, July 12, at 6pm.

The winning photo, as decided by the team at Wellington Fish & Game will receive an awesome Ledlenser MH10 headlamp (courtesy of the generous team at Tightlines) which will be perfect for helping you find your way to the maimai and set up before first light on Opening next season.

The theme for the competition is 'The Spirit of Waterfowl Hunting' and all images sent must be available for publication.

This week's entry was sent in by Paul Snell – a shot of his son Kadyn (14). Paul writes: "It was his first year with the 12g – he's been shooting a .410 the past few years. Kadyn got one mallard with his first two shots and two birds for the next two shoots. He's absolutely hooked on his duck hunting!”

Thanks heaps Paul, and well done Kadyn.

Please keep those great hunting pics rolling in. You can email them through or get in touch on the phone (06-359-0409) and we'll let you know how best to get them to us.

Remember that it's really handy to have names of hunters too, and perhaps a few details of roughly where the pics were taken so we can caption the shots.

If you don't have pics but just want to let us know how your season is going, or ask us a question, please feel free to get in touch - (06)359-0409.

 

Natural Cover Best

Wary mallards are much more likely to approach decoys set around natural cover than a maimai late in the season

Wary mallards are much more likely to approach decoys set around natural cover than a maimai late in the season (Copyright Hamish Carnachan)

This far into the season it is well and truly time to ditch the maimai!

I've lost count of the number of times I have been accosted by hunters towards the end of the season who have sitting in the maimai, having barely fired a shot, bemoaning: "Where have all the ducks gone?”

Ducks will only approach the best dressed, near-invisible maimais, in the latter part of the season for the very simple reason that they soon associate any man-made structure with danger.

There's an old Army adage that there are no straight lines in nature.

Most maimais are square or rectangular, which equates to multiple straight lines, even when camoed up.

If you want to shoot more ducks in the weeks after Opening, stay away from structures and create makeshift cover with natural material like logs, willow branches (picture above) or brush.

Get your cover right and it is guaranteed that your tally will increase!

- By Fish & Game officer Hamish Carnachan

 

'Go For Green'

Just a reminder that Wellington Fish & Game is challenging hunters to "go for green” and let the hens pass now that we're into July and nearing the breeding season.

Hunters take approximately 30% of hens in a single season! For each one of these hens that is shot, we lose a brood of ducklings for the following season and subsequently have fewer ducks to hunt... Think about that.

So, because this year the season was extended to account for the delayed start, we encourage hunters to only shoot green-heads for the remainder of the waterfowl season.

 

Want to improve your pond?

Creating a wetland, or simply want to improve your pond to attract more ducks? We're here to help!

Wellington Fish & Game offers a range of advice and assistance for hunters and landowners who want to create wetlands.

No matter how large or small your pond project, we'll help where we can because any new wetland is valuable habitat and refuge for waterfowl!

We can even provide advice about how to apply for funding from the Game Bird Habitat Trust which could help see your vision turn to reality.

If you want to talk about your wetland project ideas, give the Wellington Fish & Game team a call on (06)359 0409.

 

Noticeboard

Lake Wairarapa hunting stands

Lake Wairarapa Hunters are reminded that we need photos of their maimais as requested.

Please email these into us with your stand number and, if possible, GPS coordinates.

Thanks to those hunters who have already been in contact.

JK Donald Block Access

Access to the JK Donald Block is now closed for the season due to farming operations.

There are still great hunting opportunities on public land adjacent to Lake Wairarapa, including Matthews and Boggy Pond, Lake Domain and other spots.

If you would like info on where you can hunt, please contact us.

Upland Game Hunting

Hunting in the Manawatu coastal forests is now closed for the season. However there is still great hunting available in the riverbeds of the larger rivers such as the Rangitikei and to a lesser extent the Ruamahanga.

For more details on upland game hunting opportunities in the Wellington Fish & Game region please call us at the office (06)359-0409.

You must apply to Wellington Fish & Game by email or phone (06-3590409), and we'll issue you a permit, maps of open areas, and advise you of other requirements for hunting in the forest.

We emphasize that you must have a hunting permit and stick to the designated hunting areas. Anyone who fails to meet these requirements will be trespassed.

Hunting in the forests is a privilege. Please make sure you meet your obligations so we can continue to have upland game hunting at these sites.

Don't Forget Those Bird Bands

Please get band details into us for any birds you've harvested carrying this precious metal.

By all means, keep the band, but the details are really important for us in terms of providing information we use for the management of mallards in the lower North Island.

Band info can be emailed to us or use the free-phone number 0800 BIRD BAND.