Both Barrels April 2024

  • 22/04/2024

Both Barrels April 2024

The Countdown Is On!

Opening Morning is rapidly approaching, and it’s looking like one of the best we’ll ever see.

Our mild spring and summer means that our duck numbers are pretty good.   

Around the country, our staff have been finalising their duck count details, and many of the regional reports in the links above will update you about your region or where you go to hunt.

If you want to unlock the opportunity to get onto some of these birds, click here and get your 2024 game bird hunting licence now.

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.

But many hunters don’t realise that game bird hunting season is more than just Opening Weekend; duck hunting runs for up to three months in the South Island. 

It's important to note that most North Island regions have a four-month game bird hunting season, once duck hunting is over, hunters have some great options that includes pheasant, quail , pukeko, and black swan – and even some hunters travel from the South Island to North Island to hunt upland game.

Therefore, most hunters aren’t accessing the full potential of their game bird licence by just hunting opening weekend.

New Zealand, has a generous game bird hunting season, providing hunters with many opportunities.

Scrub your maimai now, not the day before opening!

Top Ten Checklist for Opening Weekend

With less than two weeks to go, now is the time to get ready for the season; check out this handy list below to make sure you are good to go for May the 4th.

  1. Get your game bird hunting licence.
    2. Sort ammo
    3. Update or refresh gear.
    4. Confirm access with the landowner well ahead of Opening Day.
    5. Secure any permits you may need to hunt on DOC or Fish & Game administered land.
    6. Make sure you’re not working over Opening Weekend – get time off if necessary.
    7. Sort any repairs/camouflage well before Opening Day so you don’t disturb the birds.
    8. Pattern your shotgun.
    9. Clean and rig decoys and re-paint if necessary.
    10. Make sure your shotty is functioning well/get in some practice on clays if you can.

Make sure your hunting buddies are also ready!

It only takes one infected dog to cause a catastrophic sheep measles outbreak.

The tapeworm Taenia ovis cause sheep measles.  Its immense ability to reproduce is the largest challenge facing prevention.  The tapeworm requires the dog and sheep/goat to complete its lifecycle.  There is no way of knowing if your flock is infected until slaughter, and dogs usually show no symptoms of infestation either.

Therefore, the easiest way to prevent the disease is to routinely dose dogs that reside near sheep every month with the single active ingredient Praziquantel.  Dogs that are visiting sheep farms should be dosed at least 48 hours to ensure any potential tapeworms are flushed out.   

A single tapeworm can release up to 250,000 eggs each day, and each egg becomes a new tapeworm.  These eggs have been proven to travel up to 10 kilometres by wind, water, and flies.  On pasture, the eggs can remain infectious for up to a year. 

A sheep measles outbreak on a farming property can cost the farmer and processor thousands of dollars.  On a larger scale, meat inspectors can only detect 20% of infections due to the site which cysts embed.  If contaminated sheep meat reaches the market, the entire industry is at risk.

All dog owners have a part to play in ensuring that sheep meat produced by New Zealand farmers is free of sheep measles.  It is important to take preventative measures seriously.

Safe food handling for your game birds

When you are handling game birds treat them like you would treat chicken.

That means washing your hands with soap and water immediately after handling birds, when cooking or preparing birds, and before eating. Alcohol wipes are handy when you are out in the wild.

Wash tools and work surfaces used to clean game birds, and use a disinfectant.

Ensure that any cooked game has been properly prepared and only eat if fully cooked.

Be sensible and bon appetit! Go catch those drumsticks on wings.

Hunter Harvest Surveys

Each year at multiple times throughout the season, Fish & Game rings a randomly selected sample of licence holders in each Fish & Game region to ask them how their hunting has been for our hunter harvest survey.

This survey has been running for over 30 years and has provided many valuable insights over those years.

This year, we’ll be asking a couple of extra questions about hunter satisfaction, which will be valuable as we work to protect the ability to hunt in New Zealand.

Warm Barrels for Opening Morning!

The Team at Fish & Game NZ

More Posts