Both Barrels April 2023

  • Taranaki
  • 19/04/2023

Conditions are looking good coming up to the start of the game bird season; ponds have plenty of water in them, the mallard population is healthy, and parrie populations remain stable in all areas.

Now we just need the weather to play ball with some wind to keep the birds from settling at sea or on large bodies of water.

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

Taranaki season Lengths and Bag Limits – 2023 game season


Season Duration

(dates inclusive)

Daily Bag Limit

Hunting area

Grey/Mallard duck

6 and 7 May 2023


All areas

Grey/mallard duck

8 May to 2 July 2023


All areas

NZ shoveler duck

6 May to 2 July 2023


All areas

Paradise shelduck

6 May to 2 July 2023


All areas

Black swan

6 May to 2 July 2023


All areas


6 May to 27 August 2023


Areas A&B


6 May to 27 August 2023


Area C

California quail

6 May to 27 August 2023


All areas

Cock pheasant

6 May to 27 August 2023


All areas

Regulation Changes

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.

15-bird mallard / grey duck limit for opening weekend: This season, there is an increased daily bag limit for opening weekend only, with the limit returning to 10 for the rest-of-season.

The usual daily bag limit of 10 paradise shelduck per hunter has been retained for the 2023 season.

Lower Whanganui River hunting exclusion zone: 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).

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 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: hunting-licences-faq 

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.

Jump to page 10, from the “Firearms Secure Storage Guidance” document available for download at, which 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 game bird 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 cooking your bird section.

And why not purchase the award-winning Fish & Game cookbook? Please select here.

Warm Barrels

Jacob Morison, Taranaki Fish & Game

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