Both Barrels May 2020

  • Hawke's Bay
  • 20/04/2020

Both Barrels May 2020

Season information

With the Government confirming that we will move into Level 2 on Thursday 14th May, we can now say with certainty that our Game bird season will start on the 23rd of May.

The Hawke’s Bay Fish & Game Council have confirmed a one month season for waterfowl, which would mean a season finish on Sunday the 21st of June.

Season end dates for upland game and pukeko along with all other regulations will remain unchanged.

Like the majority of people in the Hawke’s Bay, we are looking to the sky and willing it to rain.

The weather forecasts seem to change constantly, and the long wait continues for some steady rain.

Unfortunately, this will have seen some areas potentially dry up forcing some birds to move in search of food.

So fingers crossed for some good rain to fill up the dams in the next couple of weeks that will attract the birds to your favourite spot!

Where a drier season is not as good for waterfowl, it is good for upland game!

Game bird hunters are encouraged to take opportunities to hunt other game birds through the region.

The region supports good populations of California quail and pheasants.

There are plenty of opportunities to harvest paradise shelduck in the agricultural regions.

For the hunter who likes a challenge there are also good numbers of pukeko throughout the region.

Report your Duck Bands

Our duck banding programme that took place over January pointed towards good numbers of birds in the region.

This was highlighted by a good number of juveniles recruited from the previous year.

It is vitally important for waterfowl hunters to report any banded duck that they have shot.

By reporting your band numbers, we can make better management decisions.

You can report your bands:

Electronically through the Fish & Game Website

Reporting the band number via phone to the Hawke’s Bay Fish & Game Office

Filling out a form at participating licencing agents

The vital information that we need when you report your duck band.

Hunter’s name and contact details (so we can provide you with a history of your duck)

Date the duck was shot

Region and nearest city

Where the bird was shot (closest road name, road number, coordinates, the more accurate the better)

How to improve your hunting habitat?

Take some time to think about your favourite spot(s), what can you do to improve them?

It is a good time to think and plan about providing extra habitat for waterfowl to ensure waterfowl populations stay healthy.

What should you plant? Quality nesting habitat is limited through much of Hawke's Bay.

We encourage people to plant buffers around their ponds and wetlands with suitable species that will provide quality nesting habitat.

Above Right: Good habitat leads to greater fledge success and therefore more birds!

Planting sedge species is a great start as they provide good nesting cover and also food for waterfowl.

We recommend planting species like Carex secta (Purei), Carex virgata (Pukio), Carex geminata/lessiona, and Cyprerus ustalatus (umbrella sedge).

Some sedges like Purei prefer wet areas and others like Pukio prefer a bit drier.

Not only do waterfowl need the right vegetation they also need to be protected from predators!

How many traps do you have out? Could you put out more?

Might be a good time to fix up those old traps in the shed that need some TLC to get them back up to running order and plan to put them back out on your pond or favourite backwater.

Every bit counts in our battle against Rats, Cats, and Mustelids!

If you are unsure of what to plant or what traps are good to use you can always contact the Hawke’s Bay Fish & Game office for more information, we have lots of information pamphlets and advice that can point you in the right direction.

Covid-19 Level 2 Important Hunting info

Follow this link for some answers to common questions:


Our Rangers will be out over opening weekend and throughout the season checking licenses and that all rules are being adhered to. Even with the change in season dates be sure to remember that all other regulations remain the same.

Good luck, stay safe, and have fun from the Hawke’s Bay Fish and Game staff!

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