Both Barrels April 2024 - Northland

  • Northland
  • 21/04/2024

Take a Mate Hunting

For only $5: 2024 game bird licence holders can take a mate hunting who has not purchased a game bird licence within the last THREE years.

Hunting for the mate will be permitted on opening weekend ONLY.

The ‘mates licence’ must be purchased through the Northland Fish and Game office in Whangarei.

Email: 09 4384135

The recipient of the mates licence must be accompanied by an adult whole-season licence holder and it only applies within the Northland Fish and Game region.

The mate must comply with the game bird hunting regulations. 

Upland Game Hunting

Northland Fish and Game have negotiated access to thousands of hectares of production pine forests.

These forests are spread throughout Northland and give the fit upland game hunter access to large areas of un-hunted ground.

The forestry companies provide maps that show age classes of the trees so areas can be selected where suitable habitat and food is available. 

Northland Fish and Game Wetlands

Casual wetland permits are available after opening weekend.

These permits give the hunter the opportunity to sample some hunting on the properties owned and managed by Northland Fish and Game. These include:

Bisset Wetland (Carruth Road)

Greenheart (Bob Taylor Road)

Underwood Wetland (Hoanga Road)

Kawakawa Wetland (Station Road)

Borrow Cut (Jordon Valley Road)

Forestry and casual wetland permits are available by contacting the office by Email:, Phone: 09 4384135, or following the link below. 

What to expect this season:

Mallard harvest rates have been in line with trends over a number of years.

The dry conditions will determine where birds congregate.

Last opening was a washout for some hunters with widespread regional flooding.

This year is very different and a lot of wetlands have now dried up completely.

Paradise shelduck numbers are still abundant in the region and usually they can be found on maize stubble, chicory or irrigated pasture. 

Numbers are high in the lower Northland area. Swan numbers have decreased with big drops around the Lake Omapere/Mid North area.  

Regulation Changes and Compliance: 

There are no changes to the regulations in Northland this year.

It is becoming obvious that some hunters are not reading or adhering to the the regulations.

Two firearms were seized over the special paradise shelduck season and seven offence notices were issued.

There are serious consequences of breaching the Wildlife Act.

The courts take these breaches seriously and impose significant fines and seek forfeiture of firearms and ammunition. 

In addition to these fines, the New Zealand Firearms Authority will review the hunters' suitability to possess firearms. 

Two seasons ago a hunter in Northland had his firearms licence revoked for obstruction and not having a game licence.

Our rangers accompanied by police will be out in force this season. 

We have the authority to enter private land to check compliance under the Wildlife Act.

It is an offence to impede rangers in anyway. If you are allowing game bird hunters on your property you should expect that there will be compliance checks.

Please make yourself familiar with the 2024 regulation guide.

Season Lengths:

Our season runs from opening weekend to 30 June 2024 for greys, mallards and shoveler ducks.

Paradise shelducks and swans can be hunted up until 28 July 2024

California quail, brown quail, cock pheasants and pukeko can be hunted out to 25 August 2024.

The paradise shelduck special weekend is for nine days from 15 February 2025 until 23 February 2025. Swan and pukekos can also be hunted during this time. 

Bag limits:

Grey/mallard 12 birds per day

NZ shoveler 3 birds per day

Paradise shelducks 20 birds per day

Swan 20 birds per day

Pukeko 12 birds per day

California quail and brown quail 10 birds per day

Cock pheasant 5 birds per day

Duck bands:

If you have shot a duck with a band please fill in the online form found at:  or call 0800 BIRD BAND (0800-247322).

We don’t need the actual band so you can keep it for your lanyard, we just need to obtain a few details. 

In conjunction with the Auckland/Waikato region, we band birds at two sites on the Kaipara harbour.

These are at Parakai and Wellsford.

This data provides valuable information regarding the distribution, movement and survival rates of game birds within the region. 

Hunter Surveys

During the season we conduct game bird hunter surveys.

The results form these surveys help us determine harvest rates and subsequent population changes.

It is vital information. If you purchase a game licence then you should expect a call from the team at some stage during the season.

Even if you have not been out hunting it provides us with valuable data regarding resource use.

This adds to our knowledge of game bird distribution changes in the region. The surveys only take a few minutes to complete.

Happy hunting!

Graham Gallaghan, Northland Fish & Game Officer.

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