Both Barrels April 2021

  • Taranaki
  • 15/04/2021

Both Barrels April 2021

Duck numbers look promising for Saturday 1st May

Unlike eastern areas of the country, Taranaki has been blessed with good autumn rains and most ponds and wetlands will be well topped up for the coming game season.

Mallard numbers are looking good throughout the region, while the Taranaki ringplain will be a particular hotspot for paradise shelduck.

The January 2021 moult counts confirmed that paradise numbers remain high on the ringplain and farmers will welcome a good harvest, with birds currently congregating on paddocks with new-sown grass, particularly those that have had maize crops taken off.

Areas in paddocks that are perpetually damp or hold water following rain have been attractive to both mallards and paradise and they’ll be prime areas for hunting.

Above Right: The January 2021 moult counts indicate there will be plenty of paradise for hunters on the Taranaki ringplain this season.

Good numbers of pheasant have also been seen in the frontal hill country, backcountry and coastal sand country areas.

Hunters are reminded that access permits are available from Fish & Game to hunt upland game areas at Harakeke and Nukumaru.

This year Fish & Game has also added Tauwhare Forest north of Whanganui, courtesy of Summits Forests Ltd.

To obtain a permit contact Fish & Game’s Whanganui office on 0212700239 or email

For further information on game bird hunting, check out:

or download the 2021 Taranaki Regional Hunting Newsletter at:

Look out for protected species

TBB2April2021. A pateke ready for release at Lake Rotokare

A pāteke ready for release at Lake Rotokare

Along with scaup and grey teal, Taranaki hunters need to keep a sharp lookout for whio (blue duck) and also pāteke (brown teal).

After a long absence, pāteke were re-introduced to Taranaki in 2019 with a release of 20 captive-reared birds at the Lake Rotokare Sanctuary located 12km east of Eltham.

Pāteke is a small, brown, highly mobile dabbling duck and birds were regularly seen on farm ponds outside the Rotokare Reserve following their release.

It is understood there has been successful breeding and with a further release of up to 57 Pāteke scheduled for May 2021, there is an increasing possibility that game bird hunters will encounter these birds during the season.

So please make sure you clearly identify your target before shooting.

Check out the following links for further information:

Taranaki also has a population of more than 200 Taranaki endangered whio living in and around Te Papakura o Taranaki (formerly Egmont National Park).

In recent years, whio have spread out from the park, with ducks being seen on streams and ponds in neighbouring farmland, particularly in the central and north Taranaki areas.

So, both pāteke and whio could be on a river or settling pond near you and we’re just asking hunters to pause and double-check before pulling the trigger.

Regulation changes

The regulations remain unchanged from last season, other than hunters must now use non-toxic shot in all gauges except the .410 shotgun when hunting waterfowl within 200m of open water more than 3m wide.

Hunters must not have any lead shot other than .410 in their possession in such situations, including in the maimai.

So, if you’re intending to target paradise shelduck in farm paddocks later in the day, make sure all lead shot is securely locked away in your vehicle.

Fish & Game Rangers accompanied by local police will be out checking on compliance and hunters need to ensure they’re carrying both their game and firearms licences.

Key Regulations for the 2021 Game Season – Taranaki Fish & Game Region


Season Duration

Daily Bag Limit

Hunting Area

Grey/mallard duck

1 May to 27 Jun 2021


All areas

NZ shoveler duck

1 May to 27 Jun 2021


All areas

Paradise shelduck

1 May to 27 Jun 2021


All areas

Black swan

1 May to 27 Jun 2021


All areas


1 May to 29 Aug 2021


Areas A&B

1 May to 29 Aug 2021


Area C

California quail

1 May to 29 Aug 2021


All areas

Cock pheasant

1 May to 29 Aug 2021


All areas

Be safe with firearms

The NZ Mountain Safety Council says that almost all firearms related hunting incidents relate back to one of the 7 Basic Firearms Safety rules.

This is especially important in game bird hunting where multiple shooters of various skill level are using shotguns at once.

Don't lapse in concentration around firearms.

Treat as loaded, check your safeties, point in a safe direction check that firing zone, and check again.

Store firearms in racks and away from children and dogs throughout the day and at the end of the day.

Communicate with each other on the status of your firearm and help reduce the risk of an incident.

Prepare for the outdoors, with warm, comfortable and well-fed hunters, you can stay alert and reduce the risk of making a fatal error.

Bring plenty of supplies such as water, first aid, spare clothes and food to keep you and your mates comfortable and focussed.

Save those alcoholic drinks for after you and your mates have safely locked your firearms away.

For further information check out:

Report any duck bands

With three years of banding in the Ruapehu District (2017-19) and two years in Whanganui (2020-21), there are up to 500 banded mallard and grey ducks out in the population, plus others that will have moved in from banding sites outside the region.

The information on where and when you shot a banded bird is vital to the management of the resource, so please go to the hunting pages on the Fish & Game website and fill out the form to report the band or else contact the Taranaki Fish & Game office on 0212700239 or email

Stop the spread of aquatic pests

Waterfowl hunters are also reminded to protect their patch this season by taking steps to avoid spreading aquatic pests.

Exotic fish, plants, algae and snails can be moved between waterways if you don’t check, clean and dry your gear.

Basically, everything that’s been in the water; decoys, dinghies, waders - even dogs!

For further information see:

Allen Stancliff, Taranaki Fish & Game Officer.

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