Both Barrels May 2023 - Central South Island

  • Central South Island
  • 15/05/2023

Both Barrels May 2023 - Central South Island

Opening Weekend Report

It was another “BBQ weather” Opening Weekend with calm and mild conditions – luckily, there was just enough wind in most places to put movement in the decoy spread and orientate the birds for a predictable landing spot.

Some outstanding harvests were achieved by a few hunting parties, but a notable number of hunters reported their tallies being less than the last couple of seasons.

Above Right: Daniel and James Laming hunted Opening Weekend at South Canterbury farm pond with success - harvesting 45 mallards by lunchtime on Saturday.

Rangers on the job

Rangers were active on Opening Weekend-Photo Rhys Adams

We had two teams of rangers actively checking on licencing and compliance on Opening Weekend.

We covered the area between Pukeuri in North Otago to Claremont near Timaru.

By far, the majority of hunters we caught up with thoroughly enjoyed their opening experience and got enough birds for a fresh feed and some for the freezer.

Although our rangers would have preferred to be hunting themselves, It was rewarding for our rangers to meet fellow hunters and check out their hunting setups.

Unfortunately, we did encounter a small number of hunters offending, either hunting without a licence or in possession of lead shot within 200m of open water.

These cases are being processed, and the offenders face maximum penalties of a criminal conviction, a $5,000 fine, and forfeiture of seized items.    

Game bird harvest survey – Opening results

Thomas Cochrane with a double of parries taken at Lake Waitaki on Opening Weekend' - Credit Graeme Hughes

Thanks to those hunters that responded to our Opening Weekend game bird harvest phone survey – the survey will continue every fortnight throughout the season.

Please note that our harvest survey callers are not Fish & Game Officers - so if you have something important to tell us please directly contact our office at 03 615 8400 or

The Opening Weekend harvest figures reflect that it was a modest opening for many in the CSI Region – statistically speaking, the average hunter harvested about 16 game birds in total for the weekend, with about 12 of those being mallard.

Last season, most hunters got about 3 more mallards each.

Paradise shelduck harvest was relatively high, averaging about 4 per hunter. 

Outlook for June

A fair few hunters put away their shotgun after Opening Weekend, but the reality is that June can be a great month for game bird hunting.

With a bit of effort to locate birds before the hunt, it’s not unusual to find better hunting action than what you had on Opening Weekend.

Get your binocular to work and do some rigorous scouting, your efforts should pay off.

Kings Birthday Weekend is from Saturday 3rd to Monday 5th of June, providing the perfect opportunity to connect with mates and plan out a hunt.

Share our duck hunting tradition.

We are encouraging you to take a newbie duck hunting out this season to show them why we love duck hunting and to share in the harvest of free-range game bird meat.

If there is a youngster you’re taking out, pick a good forecast with mild conditions as it can get uncomfortably cold through June and July.

Keep in mind evening hunts are usually much warmer than morning hunts.

Game bird hunting Day licences are on sale from the second Monday of the season (15th May); $25 for an adult and $9 for a junior.

You can grab a game bird licence on our website here.

Looking for a place to hunt?

Success on a mid-season hunt at Devils Bridge Wetland-Photo Richie Cosgrove

CSI Fish & Game administer hunting at four wetlands, and in just a few easy steps, you can hunt these wetlands.

These wetlands are balloted for Opening Weekend, but after Opening Weekend, these wetlands can be hunted by all licence holders, provided you obtain a permit and, if required, contact the landowner prior to hunting.

Click here to jump on our website to check out the wetland maps and info.

While there, save a permit application form, fill it in and email it to us, or alternatively get in direct contact with the office.

CSI Fish & Game contacts: email or phone 03 6158400.

Check out this YouTube video of what is on offer at our Fish & Game Wainono Wetland Reserve.

Fish & Game Magazine

If your Fish & Game magazine didn’t make it to your letterbox you can read it now online – click here 

New to plucking?

If you’re new to hunting, plucking a duck can be somewhat of an awkward task.

No worries - we’re here to walk you through the process.

Keen duck hunter and Fish & Game Officer Hamish Stevens takes you through his quick and easy plucking method in this YouTube Video - how-to pluck a duck video here.

Hot Barrels

Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer

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