Wed, May 18, 2022 3:53 PM

Duck Hunting season off to flying start


Staff reporter

Duck hunting season officially opened last week with perfect weather and reports of success.

Kaituna resident Graeme Rodger and his six-month old Labrador Pete, managed to bag more than a dozen ducks during the opening weekend of game bird hunting season.

The warm wet summer had contributed to increased duck numbers in parts of the country, increasing the chances of success for hunters looking to harvest wild, free-range birds for the dinner table.

Fish & Game New Zealand says the weather in the region was perfect for opening weekend which allowed “a moderate number of ducks” to be harvested.

Around the county, Fish & Game Rangers were out in force checking licences and seeing how opening day had gone for hunters.

Compliance among hunters in Nelson Marlborough was high with only two hunting offenses detected.

The season for Nelson-Marlborough began on 7 May and will run through to 31 July.

Eight mallards and grey ducks are allowed to be bagged daily while ten paradise shelducks can be bagged across Nelson Marlborough, except for the Tasman/Golden Bay area in which 15 shelducks can be harvested.

Federated Farmers Vice-President and health and safety spokesperson Karen Williams says many farmers and other landowners are willing to have hunters on their properties but that access is a privilege.

"You should seek their prior permission and follow any instructions," Karen said.

"Vehicles, firearms, and water remain the key risks to duck hunters and mixed with a surge of adrenaline can be deadly."

For sheep farmers, sheep measles is a big concern. Visiting hunters must dose dogs for worms at least 48 hours before going on to farmland.

Remember too, the Arms Act has changed. Although some landowners are exempt from needing a duck shooting licence, for those who are not, getting caught without a licence or using lead shot will now most likely mean a loss of your firearms licence.

There are also new rules for transporting firearms on the road, Karen said.

"There is a general exemption from the transportation requirements for farmers working, actively hunting or undertaking pest control on their own farm, but you are required to meet the new requirements if shooting elsewhere for the weekend and so are the recreational hunters travelling out to shoot at your place."

When transported on the road firearms need to be inoperable, out of sight and away from any ammunition. If you can’t easily dismantle the firearm and store a vital piece somewhere else, a trigger lock (which could include your bike lock) or putting it in a locked gun box will meet the requirements. Ammo should be locked in the glovebox, if possible, but for big bulky boxes of shotgun ammunition out of sight and away from the firearm will meet the requirements.

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