New Zealanders are being urged to do their bit to protect some of the country’s most important environmental areas by buying the latest Fish & Game habitat stamp.
The stamps, which this year features the California quail, can be bought on their own, or with a game bird hunting licence, which go on sale tomorrow (March 17).
The Game Bird Habitat Stamp programme raises funds for projects aimed at protecting and enhancing wetlands and game bird and other wildlife habitat.
Fish & Game Chief Executive Bryce Johnson says hunters make significant contributions to the conservation of New Zealand's wildlife habitat, including through buying the habitat stamps when they purchase their hunting licences.
“Wetlands are vital for wildlife because they provide valuable habitat for native fish and bird species. The good thing is that you don’t have to be hunters to buy the stamps, so anyone can buy one and know their money is going to do good,” Mr Johnson says.
“I urge anyone who cares about the environment to buy a habitat stamp because very dollar helps preserve wetlands and establish new areas for birds to shelter and breed.”
Meanwhile, game bird hunters will be able to buy their 2017 hunting licences from tomorrow (Thursday March 16).
Keen hunters have been eagerly anticipating the availability of the licences, which are issued with copies of the regulations for their hunting area, and a tag allowing them to claim their hunting spot, or maimai.
The licences are available at sports stores or on-line through the Fish & Game website www.fishandgame.org.nz
Fish & Game’s Planning and Policy Manager Robert Sowman is urging hunters to get in early.
“It pays to buy your licence early as in the days coming up to the opening day of the season, there can be long queues at sports shops,” Mr Sowman says.
“Buying your licence now allows you to claim your hunting spot, make a start on tidying up your maimai and avoid the last minute rush,” he says.
Mr Sowman says it is crucial hunters check the regulations for the areas they intend to hunt as they differ region by region.
Prospects for the coming season are looking good.
Fish & Game staff say the wetter than normal weather in many areas has provided ample habitat for breeding and duckling rearing and, based on field observations, there should be good numbers of ducks around for Opening Day.
The game bird season opens nationwide on Saturday 6 May.
The season closes on 27 August for upland game like pheasant and quail, while duck season closes earlier depending on individual regions.