Both Barrels April 2023

  • Wellington
  • 19/04/2023

Both Barrels April 2023


Hot off the press!!! Wellington Fish & Game staff have just completed their transect flights to assess the mallard population in the lower North Island.  

As expected, there’s excellent news for hunters with an increase in duck numbers – the population in both the Western and Eastern transects are up on the previous year. 

For the east (Wairarapa/Tararua), mallard numbers are the highest recorded in a decade; in the west (Manawatu/Rangitkei), the population is just below the historical high counts of 2020. 

That said, the very wet summer has delayed a lot of cropping, with late harvest meaning we probably missed many birds that would have been out on stubble while we were conducting our counts.  

So, the likely scenario is that the population is even higher than the excellent numbers recorded! 

This means hunters can realistically expect to see more birds throughout the season and have plenty more shooting opportunities.  

Grab your licence and get set for a fantastic season.  


Using LEAD SHOT when hunting game birds over water is ILLEGAL and has been for five seasons. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.  

Wellington Fish & Game rangers working with NZ Police officers over Opening Weekend. 

If you are caught using lead shot over water, your hunting equipment will be seized, and you could be charged with offences under the Wildlife Act (1953). 

What’s more, your offending will be passed on to the NZ Police, which will be a red flag when you come to renew your firearms licence.  

Modern non-toxic shot alternatives now perform as well or better than lead shot loads. 

Play by the rules - Have a great season!

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