Both Barrels April 2024 - North Canterbury

  • North Canterbury
  • 22/04/2024

Both Barrels April 2024 - North Canterbury

Find the Water, Find the birds

Only a few more sleeps left until we all hit the maimais on Opening Morning.

North Canterbury duck numbers are looking good. We have had a mild spring, which means that our numbers are pretty good. 

Game bird specialist Matthew Garrick says the number of birds around is looking good.

“A good spring breeding season means there are lots of birds around, but with the drought, birds are in places that are holding water.”

“This means if we don’t get some substantial rain before May 4th, then hunters might not have their usual hunting spots available to them”.

“I recommend hunters get out now and start scouting backup locations for opening morning. If they turn up to where they have traditionally hunted, they might be surprised that their normal spots don’t have any water”.

We flew 70 transects across the Canterbury Plains with the team from Central South Island, and the count numbers for dabbling ducks in Canterbury were observed at 2857 dabbling ducks, for a mean of 40.8 birds/transect +/- 6.95.

Duck hunting is a popular time in the North Canterbury region, and almost 3,000 local hunters will be out on Opening Morning.

Many people take the opportunity to come together as families and friends and gather free-range sustainable game birds on Opening Weekend.

Duck hunting is often a celebration of what it means to be a kiwi; we can go and gather game food together because, unlike most other forms of hunting, game bird hunting can be done collectively.

Many hunters don’t realise that game bird hunting season is more than just Opening Weekend; it runs for three months in the South Island. 

Therefore, most hunters aren’t accessing the full potential of their game bird licence by just hunting opening weekend. New Zealand, especially the South Island, has a generous game bird hunting season, providing hunters with many opportunities.

Garrick says, “Everything looks like North Canterbury hunters should have a really productive opening weekend this year. Good bird numbers mean hunters who find the water will find the birds.”.

“If you’re looking for somewhere to go hunting, first find the ducks. Remember that ducks tend to roost on bigger bodies of water at night and fly out to feed in the early morning and late evening, mainly when they are close to bigger lakes, wetlands, and irrigation ponds. If you can’t find those, reach out to some farmers, as they know the lay of the land better than anyone. Good luck out there!

Roading enhancements on the paper road at Jarvis and Embankment Roads

Hunters will notice gravelling and fencing improvements to the paper road at Jarvis and Embankment Roads.

Car parking and access for hunters has been improved, and almost nine tonnes of rubbish were removed from the area.

The goal of the fencing is to prevent widespread damage to the salt flat areas from vehicles and enable hunters to have continual access to the area.

New Regulations for 2024:

The main changes in hunting regulations for the 2024 season are:

Pheasant Season:

An extra day for pheasant hunting – With the King’s birthday falling on the first weekend in June, the North Canterbury Council opted to allow hunting on the Kings Birthday Monday for those hunters who have travelled to the region to partake in our wild pheasant hunting.

The other dates remain the same – the first weekends in July and August, and the bag limit is the same of one cock pheasant.

Chukar season:

The North Canterbury Council voted to permit a chukar hunting season in the North Canterbury region this year.

Notice Board:

Hunting and Fishing Duck Night:

The annual Hunting and Fishing Tower Junction store duck night is on Wednesday, May 1, from 6 pm.

These are an excellent opportunity for last-minute ammunition, decoy, and licence purchases and to get some great hunting advice from the presenters they arrange for the night.

Lincoln University Hunting Club Duck Calling Night:

On the same night (May 1), the Lincoln University Hunting Club is holding their annual fundraising event, their duck calling competition at the famous Grouse pub in Lincoln.

Feel free to go along and support the club and help them in their efforts to promote safe and responsible hunting.

Warm Barrels

The team at North Canterbury Fish & Game






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