Both Barrels April 2021

  • Wellington
  • 15/04/2021

Both Barrels April 2021

Ducks In A Row For Great Season

A larger duck population, ideal breeding conditions, an abundant food supply and good survival rates of broods will equate to more ducks for Wellington Fish & Game region hunters to target this season.

The important brood-rearing period was consistently wet across the lower North Island, with winegrowers and farmers in the normally dry Wairarapa region saying they recorded the wettest spring conditions in at least the last three years.

Above Right:Last season was excellent - this one could be even better (Copyright Hamish Carnachan).

The conditions kept Wellington Fish & Game staff very busy in the lead up to Christmas, and again more recently, with a marked increase in disturbance requests to keep birds off farmers’ newly sown pasture and crops.

In fact, Fish & Game has attended and issued more disturbance notices for mallard ducks than we can recall in any of the last 10 years.

Staff and keen-eyed hunters have certainly noticed an increase in duck numbers while out and about, and this builds on a four-year trend of anecdotal observations of increasing mallard numbers.

The proof, of course, will come when we fly our official mallard counts – at the time of writing, we’re still waiting for a weather window to conduct these.

We’re quietly confident that when mallard transects are eventually flown, we’ll see some of the highest duck numbers in this part of the country in the last decade.

So, grab your licence, sort your gear, and get ready for what is going to be a cracker duck-hunting season!

Pre -Season Checklist


  • 2021 Game Licence and regs guide
  • Check up on your hunting mates


  • Confirm access with landowners
  • grab a permit/access book if you need one for public areas for the latest access requirements


  • Shotgun – cleaned, patterned (if necessary), have a few practice shots.
  • Decoys – painted, rigged, and/or replaced.
  • Ammo – do a stock take - don’t leave topping up to the last minute.
  • Dog – sharpened up on fitness and retrieving.
  • Check your gear - waders and jackets – refresh


  • Maimai is up to scratch – material for dressing is sorted for camo
  • Maimai should be marked up by now (28 March was mark up day)


  • Double-check your firearms licence – NZ Police are advising to expect delays in processing

Get everything sorted now, and it’ll make it easier come 1 May.

Don’t Risk Your Firearms Ownership!

Rangers will be active on public and private land in Wairarapa this season Copyright Hamish Carnachan

Rangers will be active on public and private land in Wairarapa this season (Copyright Hamish Carnachan)

We’d like to think that all enthusiastic duck hunters recognise the value of Fish & Game’s management of the duck hunting resource, the advocacy we do on your behalf to keep hunting areas open and maintaining the strong tradition of game bird hunting in New Zealand – and that accordingly you purchase a licence to support us.

However, there are always a few who prefer to chance their arm, cheat the rest, and go without buying a licence.

While these freeloaders probably think it is just a bit of mischief, Fish & Game is trying to get the message out about the significance of getting caught without a duck hunting licence.

We have been advised that if you are prosecuted for an offence under the Wildlife Act – such as hunting waterfowl without a licence – you are likely to fail the ‘Fit and Proper Person’ requirement when it comes to having your firearms licence renewed.

So, if you have a mate that you suspect hunts without a licence, perhaps give them a bit of a prod to not risk their future access to all firearms.

Wellington Fish & Game has a strong and active compliance team, often accompanied by police officers, so expect to see us whether you hunt private or public water.

Band Returns

Please get those band details back to us2

Please get those band details back to us

If you harvest any birds carry precious metal band, don’t forget to send the details to us:

You’re welcome to keep the band, we just need some details around where and when you got it.

Hamish Carnachan, Wellington Fish & Game Officer/Communications Officer.

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