West Coast Both Barrels May 2019

Good start to the Game bird season

Weather conditions on the West Coast for opening weekend were pretty good with most hunters experiencing low cloud and moderate winds over much of the weekend.

As usual, bags were mixed with many hunters achieving near limit bags (some even pacing themselves to allow them to shoot longer) while others, including some quite experienced hunters, struggled. 

Above Right: Opening day success.

Several out of region hunters were talked to who had traveled to the Coast to target paradise shelduck.  

Some of these hunters achieved limit bags over the weekend. 

In general, most hunters felt like they had a good day out regardless of their shooting success. 

Comments were made about the benefit of getting in some practice at one of the preseason shoots organised by local gun clubs while others rued easy misses!

Even though some hunters struggled on opening weekend annual autumn counts of greylard showed good numbers of birds. 

While some easily accessible sites held low numbers, other, less accessible sites held high concentrations of birds.  

Over opening weekend there were places where ducks were well hidden away and not disturbed, reducing the number on the wing. 

History suggests that hunting will get better as the season progresses as birds disperse from these inaccessible sites.  

Keep scouting out new hunting opportunities as the birds move about. 

Put in the effort and try to access some of the more remote bush ponds.

If you get it right, you will be pleasantly surprised how many ducks are out and about after opening weekend.

High level of compliance with regulations noted over opening weekend

We had two teams out ranging over opening weekend with teams a mix of staff and Honorary Rangers. 

Three areas were focused on: Westport, Hari Hari and Kokatahi. 

Results were great, all those talked to were friendly and polite and had a good understanding of game bird regulations and the new firearms laws. 

Having already introduced a five-shot restriction on the West Coast two seasons ago meant the new firearms laws had no impact on local hunters. 

It wasn’t surprising then that no offences were observed.

This made our rangers job straight forward and enjoyable. 

Well done and great to see many families and friends out enjoying the weekend.

Glenn Newton, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.