Both Barrels April 2024 - Taranaki

  • Taranaki
  • 21/04/2024

Both Barrels April 2024 - Taranaki

Dry late summer and autumn conditions have encouraged mallard ducks and other waterfowl to congregate on lakes and ponds that have retained permanent water.

Good duck camps have also been spotted on river bends, pools and estuarine areas with exposed beaches for loafing.

Some welcome rainfall on 20th April in north Taranaki and to a lesser extent the Waimarino, has put water in ponds and dams that were almost dry.

However, the South Taranaki and Whanganui areas remain fairly dry and the concentration of ducks on permanent water is unlikely to change much there until there is sufficient rain to cause ponding in farm paddocks and stubble fields to draw in mallards to feed on tasty worms and bugs.

Notwithstanding the recent dry weather, it was a good spring breeding season on top of three years of favourable La Niña conditions and in conjunction with the Wellington Region, Taranaki has set a 12-bird limit for mallard/grey duck for the entire season in recognition of the healthy numbers of birds.

Paradise shelduck populations remain strong on the Taranaki ringplain, where the January 2024 moult counts were on par with the previous four years.

Populations are lower in the Whanganui and Waimarino areas but still sufficient to provide a good hunting opportunity and a 10-bird limit has been retained.

Trend counts indicate that populations of black swan are increasing, and they should be a good bonus bird for hunters on the coastal dune lakes. Pukeko numbers have held steady and reasonable numbers of pheasant are present in coastal sand country and inland hill country areas.

For information on permits to hunt pheasant in Harakeke Forest south of Whanganui, Nukumaru Recreation Reserve and Tauwhare Forest please contact Taranaki Fish & Game’s Whanganui office.

Above: Many ponds are currently holding good numbers of ducks.

Taranaki season Lengths and Bag Limits – 2024 game season


Season Duration

(dates inclusive)

Daily Bag Limit

Hunting area

Grey/mallard duck

4 May to 30 June 2024


All areas

NZ shoveler duck

4 May to 30 June 2024


All areas

Paradise shelduck

4 May to 30 June 2024


All areas

Black swan

4 May to 30 June 2024


All areas


4 May to 25 August 2024


Area A&B


4 May to 25 August 2024


Area C

California quail

4 May to 25 August 2024


All areas

Cock pheasant

4 May to 25 August 2024


All areas

Bobwhite (Virginian) quail

4 May to 25 August 2024


All areas

Red legged partridge

4 May to 25 August 2024


All areas

Regulation changes

12-bird mallard / grey duck limit for the whole season: This season there is an increased daily bag limit of 12 mallard / grey duck for the whole of the season. The usual daily bag limit of 10 paradise shelduck per hunter has been retained for the 2024 season.

Lower Whanganui River hunting exclusion zone: As was introduced last year, owing to increasing usage of walkways along the lower Whanganui River, including the Upokongaro cycle bridge, game bird hunting from a boat is now banned on the Whanganui River downstream of Kemps Pole (Kauarapaoa Stream confluence).

Non-toxic shot now required in the .410 shotgun: Following the 1-year phaseout, non-toxic shot is now required for all waterfowl hunting within 200m of open water more than 3m wide.

Fish & Game Rangers will be present throughout the region over opening weekend and during the season, so please make sure you obey the regulations and have your game licence with you.

Land occupier rules

At this time of year, we often receive calls asking about the land occupier shooting rules.

The rules around land occupier rights to hunt without a game licence are: the land occupier, their spouse or partner and one son or daughter (total 3 people) can shoot on the property without a game bird licence.

The land occupier must live on the property that they are wanting to shoot.

All three individuals with occupier rights can shoot at the same time or individually and they must comply with all other regulations, including bag limits, use of non-toxic shot etc.

For example, if the landowner and a share milker/farm worker live on the property and both wanted to shoot, one of them (likely the share milker/farm worker) will need to buy a game licence.

If the landowner lives in town and the sharemilker/farm worker lives on the property and they both want to shoot, then the landowner will need a licence, as the sharemilker/farm worker is the land occupier.

If there is still some confusion around the rules, or if you want to know more, the Fish and Game website has a great Hunting Licence FAQ list. Click on this link to find more information:

Rules governing the safe transport of firearms.

All firearms licence holders must meet updated requirements for the safe and secure storage and transportation of firearms and ammunition that came into force in February 2022.

The “Firearms Secure Storage Guidance” document available for download on the Firearms Safety Authority website provides a good explanation of the requirements for safe transportation.

Firearms Safety

It is also well worthwhile reviewing the seven firearm safety rules and downloading and reading the firearms safety code before heading out on opening weekend.

Hunting Code of Practice

Game bird hunting is a treasured pastime for many New Zealanders.

The ongoing enjoyment of this natural resource relies on the use of sustainable hunting methods, positive behaviour and ethical harvest, which allows us to safeguard the future of hunting for all New Zealanders.

Fish & Game actively promotes ethical hunting practices and as game bird hunters we have a responsibility to support these practices.

Fish & Game has developed a Code of Practice grouping key ideas under four responsibilities, to show the expected standard of behaviour for license holders.

Hunt Humanely

Shoot only within the effective range of our firearm and your own capabilities, and only when a quick, clean kill is likely

Promptly retrieve all birds shot and humanely dispatch wounded birds

Respect the resource and eat what you shoot

Protect Game Bird Resources and our Hunting Traditions

Understand and abide by all hunting regulations and licencing requirements

Support gamebird management and habitat enhancement activities

Take only what you need

Share knowledge, ethical attitudes and behaviour with companions and younger generations

Care for the environment

Take all rubbish with you and dispose of offal and carcasses appropriately

Use non-toxic shot and biodegradable products

Use established tracks and never shoot from or across formed public roads

Respect the rights of others

Never access, shoot onto or across private property without permission

Be considerate of others, both hunters and non-hunters

Be aware of your safety and the safety of others when hunting

Comply with the Arms Act 1983 and always practice positive firearm use through the 7 Firearm Safety Rules.

Cook what you harvest!

Game birds are wholesome, lean, free-range food that is far too good to waste. For some tips on cooking game birds go to 

All the best for a safe and successful season from the Team at Taranaki Fish & Game

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