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The wait is over – game bird licences are now on sale

Published on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 13:45

The opportunity to bag a duck, pheasant or quail for the family table is drawing nearer, with game bird hunting licences for the 2017 season going on sale today.

Keen hunters have been eagerly anticipating the new licences, which allow them to hunt waterfowl and upland game birds from the first weekend in May, to the last weekend in August.

The licences are available at sports stores or on-line through the Fish & Game website www.fishandgame.org.nz

Fish & Game New Zealand’s chief executive Bryce Johnson says harvesting game birds for the dinner table is part of a long and proud New Zealand tradition.

“Hunting is still very much a part of our country’s way of life – for generations, people have prided themselves on being able to put game on the table to feed their families and friends.

Mr Johnson says game meat is a healthy addition to anyone’s diet.

“Game birds are the ultimate in free range food.  They have grown up in the wild without chemical additives and provide lean, tasty meat,” he says.

Bryce Johnson points out that revenue raised through licence sales helps protect the environment.

“Fish & Game is a statutory organisation and is required by Parliament to not only look after game birds, but also manage, maintain and enhance their habitats.

“We take that role seriously and work hard to make sure not only game but native birds too have a healthy environment in which to survive,” Mr Johnson says.

All hunting licences are required to have a game bird habitat stamp on them and the money raised from the sale of these stamps is used to enhance wetlands and other environments where birds live.

The stamps are also available for members of the general public to buy and Bryce Johnson is urging people to buy a stamp and do their bit to help the environment.

“Vital habitat like wetlands is under threat and that puts pressure on wildlife living there, including native birds and fish.  The habitat stamps raise valuable funds to protect these areas – and the good thing is that you don’t have to be a hunter to buy one,” Mr Johnson says.

Prospects for the coming game bird 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.