Fish & Game New Zealand manages waterfowl and upland game birds on behalf of recreational hunters. Management of these birds includes setting rules for how many birds can be taken by hunters and at what time of the year. Gamebird species include ducks, swans, pheasants and quail.

Why does Fish & Game New Zealand control bird populations?

Game birds are hunted and harvested at a rate that is sustainable and in most cases at levels that are appropriate to all people including farmers whose crops birds occasionally feed on. Sustainable gamebird hunting ensures the birds are not over-hunted.

The role of hunting

However, some bird populations are unable to be managed through traditional hunting. Reasons for this might include the intelligence of the bird, the rugged terrain they inhabit and the almost endless source of good quality food. Paradise shelduck are in this group.

In some cases population explosions result in the birds’ health suffering and pressure from farmers to control the increasing population. As the statutory manager Fish and Game New Zealand has the responsibility to effectively manage these population increases.

The aim is to achieve desired population levels through recreational hunting. If this is not sufficient, then Fish and Game New Zealand sometimes undertakes population control operations. In most cases this is achieved through organised hunts using a number of recreational hunters.

Game Bird Management

As part of Fish & Game New Zealand’s ongoing gamebird management, field staff undertake aerial counts of all gamebird waterfowl species. For more information, contact your local Fish & Game office or the New Zealand Council on (04) 499 4767.