Both Barrels April 2021

  • Central South Island
  • 15/04/2021

Both Barrels April 2021

Welcome to the 2021 game bird season!

Opening day for 2021 is Saturday the 1st of May, at 6:45 am.

No matter the weather, Opening Weekend never fails to be one of NZ’s most cherished occasions to reconnect with mates and family and get back into those wet and wild habitats we love.

Of course, coming home with a free-range bird or three for the dinner table, all harvested by smart hunting and admirable gun dog skills is the icing on the cake.

Remember to carry your new 2021 game bird hunting licence with you on Opening Weekend as Rangers will be out ensuring all hunters are playing by the rules.

It is well worth noting too, any game bird hunting offences may be considered by police when undertaking a ‘fit and proper persons‘ assessment for any firearm licence applications or renewal.

If you haven't yet purchased your licence then grab your credit card and click here or head down to your local licence agent and grab one with your last-minute supplies.

Above Right: It's game-on for the 2021 game bird season-credit Rhys Adams

Many birds about?

BBaprilCSI 1Fish Game Officer Jayde Couper undertakes the pre season game bird count at Wainono Lagoon

Fish & Game Officer Jayde Couper undertakes the pre-season game bird count at Wainono Lagoon

South Canterbury’s Wainono Lagoon and associated wetlands are CSI’s game bird stronghold and we undertake annual pre-season bird population surveys of this significant hunting ground prior to tagging day.

For the last two Openings Weekends, hunting at Wainono was touted as some of the most successful in recent memory and we reckon it will be just as good this year!

Swan numbers are way up at 2,500 birds and we encourage you to take your bag limit of five birds.

Shoveler numbers are strong while parry numbers are moderate.

Mallard numbers are high with 4,490 counted on the survey day.

In early April two of the keenest duck hunters in NZ gave us their thoughts on the upcoming season prospects.

Up in Mid-Canterbury, Ashburton based duck hunter Dean Rattray is optimistic for a good opening.

Dean said in his travels he had seen small groups of paradise shelduck everywhere and has even noticed that pukeko numbers might be building.

Based on the numbers of mallards encountered on the second weekend of the summer duck season Dean reckons mallard numbers are looking healthy and what he expects to see in Mid-Canterbury.

Down in North Otago mad keen game bird hunter Brent Growcott anticipates a “pretty good” season based on the duck numbers he’s seeing around his local haunts.

He said there are a ton of parries around making the most of the cropping season this year and reckons a few late crops should keep them in the area through to opening.

However, Brent says though the area hasn’t seen much rain and many small ponds are bone-dry.

Brent reckons unless North Otago gets some decent rain before opening that the birds will be concentrated around the big and permanent ponds.

2021 Regulations - Business as usual

The Central South Island game bird hunting regulations are set to maximise opportunities for the licence holder and accordingly, our seasons are long and bag limits generous.

Our Council made no changes to the regulations for the new season.

To brush up on all the 2021 game bird regulations for the Central South Island Region click here.

Looking for a place to hunt?


Wainono Wetland Reserve is one of the great places you can hunt in the region.

CSI Fish & Game own and administer hunting at four wetlands.

In just a few easy steps, you can hunt these wetlands.

These wetlands are balloted for Opening Weekend, and although the ballot has been and gone you can always get in touch to see if any stands are available if you are stuck for a spot.

After opening weekend these wetlands can be hunted by all licence holders, provided you obtain a permit and if required, contact the landowner prior to hunting.

Click here to Jump on our website check out the wetland maps and info.

While there, save a permit application form, fill it in and email it in to us, or alternatively get in direct contact with the office.

CSI Fish & Game contacts: email or phone 03 6158400.

Check out this YouTube video of what is on offer at our Fish & Game Wainono Wetland Reserve.

Ducks are yum

Ducks are yum and you can prepare and cook them in so many delicious ways.

Our YouTube channel has some great info to help you get the basics right and then try out some exciting dishes.

To start check out our - how-to pluck a duck video here.

Then progress to the kitchen with these recipe ideas: The best breast, Thai red curry, Duck schnitzel burgers and the high and fast roast mallard.

Bon Appetit!

Hot Barrels

Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer

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