West Coast Both Barrels April 2018
Ample opportunity for mixed bag on Opening Weekend
It’s that time of year that game bird hunters look forward to with eager anticipation...game bird Opening Weekend.
Above right: A West Coast mixed bag on offer.
Over recent summer and autumn months, staff have been out monitoring the Coast's paradise shelduck and greylard numbers prior to the new hunting season.
Parrie numbers are strong and greylard counts look promising, with many of the traditional sites showing good numbers of birds.
When you’re out monitoring the birds with the days shortening and temperatures cooling, it’s exciting to see them with the hunting season just around the corner.
During the greylard counts it was evident how many of the other game bird species are present locally.
Many wetlands on the West Coast will have a mix of mallards, greys, parries, shoveler, swan and pukeko all living within the same area, so enjoy the mix of species available.
With increasing numbers of swans around, West Coast Fish & Game staff have been encouraging hunters to harvest more of these birds.
They provide large amounts of meat, so be sure to make the most of them during the season.
Are you ready?
Most of us are keen to look at the new decoys or calls in the shops and pick up a few rounds of ammo prior to the season, but have you ticked off all the important stuff?
Get in and buy your licence well before Opening Weekend, even if you don’t tag a maimai.
Make sure your boat is up and running well with the trailer holding a current warrant and rego.
If you haven't already, take the opportunity to shoot a few clay birds. It serves as a good opportunity to make sure your gun is clean and cycling rounds effectively.
If you’re going to hunt public land, make sure you have the correct permits to hunt on DOC-managed areas.
You may need a separate permit for your dog in some locations.
You should also check the local pesticide summary to ensure there is no risk of poisoning to your dog, see the link here for pest control operations on DOC land.
Changes to rules & regs
Visiting hunters should be aware that last season we brought in a new shot restriction regulation locally.
This means no shotgun magazine should be capable of holding more than four rounds, or five rounds chamber and magazine shots combined.
For most with semi-autos this is as simple as removing any magazine extension.
Be safe during the season
If you're heading out on Opening Weekend this year, you'll be following in a long tradition of game bird hunters enjoying time spent out with hunting companions in the fantastic wetlands the region offers.
Enjoy yourselves but be careful.
Health & Safety has become ingrained within our workplaces over the past decade, so why not apply the useful aspects to your recreation?
Game bird hunting involves not only firearm use, but may also include river crossings and travelling during the dark, etc.
Put thought into planning your trips for safe and successful hunting.
All the best for opening weekend 2018!
Lee Crosswell, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.