Both Barrels May 2024 - Central South Island

  • Central South Island
  • 23/05/2024

Both Barrels May 2024 - Central South Island

Opening Weekend Ranging Report

Two teams of Central South Island Fish & Game Rangers covered the Fairlie area in the Mackenzie district on Saturday 4th May for the Opening of the 2024 game bird hunting season.

Rangers checked on 33 hunters, who were having a great time and for the most part had harvested enough birds for a roast duck dinner or two by noon on Saturday.

Rangers were pleased to see junior hunters in several maimais, indicating that game bird hunting opening remains a family tradition for many and the future of game bird hunting is strong. 

Paradise shelduck were plentiful in the area and made up most of the harvest while the mallard duck harvest was relatively modest, perhaps due to the dry conditions.

There was a good spread of hunters throughout this area, however some ponds that were regularly hunted were dry and un-hunted – a result of the current dry spell / drought in the area. In fact, two of the landowners encountered claimed it to be one of the driest seasons they have ever experienced. 

Pictured above: Ranger Steve McKnight checks on hunter Richard James on Opening Day 2024. Credit: Rhys Adams.


Flabbergasted rangers

The magnet test – hold the cartridge case by the brass case head and press a magnet against the cartridge body – the magnet will stick to steel but not to lead. In this image ‘steel’ labelling can been seen on the case.

Eight hunters encountered by rangers on opening were found to be offending, being in possession of lead ammunition within 200 metres of water.

Rangers were flabbergasted to encounter this offence given that the law has been in place for nearly 20 years.

We strongly encourage you to check through your shot gun ammunition stores and separate lead ammunition from non-toxic steel ammunition to avoid any inadvertent offending.

Typically, steel ammunition, has “steel” written on the cartridge case – making it a straightforward task to identify steel ammunition.

If the cartridge case doesn’t have steel written on it, treat it as lead.

A magnet can be used to test steel versus lead – magnets will stick to the steel cartridge body but not to the cartridge body of lead.

Please note: all cartridge cases have a brass head which magnets stick to, do not test the magnet on the brass. Hold the cartridge by the brass head to avoid sticking the magnet to the brass and getting a false read. 

Hunters are welcome to come into the Fish & Game office in Temuka to have their ammunition checked. 


Game Harvest Survey

Nick and Lockie Tarrant had a successful hunt with friends and family near Fairlie – photo by Rhys Adams

Every season Fish & Game phone a selection of game licence holders to survey their harvest. Harvest information is compared with previous seasons to assess the effects of bag limit and season length regulations. Phone surveys are undertaken fortnight after opening – so expect a call sometime between now and the end of July.

Thanks, heaps, to all those hunters that provided opening weekend harvest info.

Preliminary harvest survey data from Opening suggests highly successful hunters took home 20 to 35 birds each for the weekend but most hunters in the South Canterbury area took home between 3 and 11 birds each for the Opening Weekend’s hunting effort.   


Accessing Wainono – Poindestres Road Status

Unfortunately the Poindestres Road Bridge remains temporarily closed to vehicles.

Poingdestres Road Bridge, the access point to the Fish & Game owned Wainono Wetland Reserve and Southern access option for the DOC managed Wainono Lagoon, is temporarily closed to vehicle access.

Walking and cycling access is still permitted over the Poindestres Road Bridge.

Bear in mind that the Māori Lake part of the reserve, nearest the Bridge, is still dry. For Māori Lake To refill via overflow from the lagoon creek (Dead Arm), water levels need to exceed 1.4 metres as measured at ECan’s Poingdestres Road water level recorder – click here.  

We are working with the Waimate District Council and can let you know that they will hold stakeholder meetings once they have identified different options for the future of the bridge.

We remain in regular contact with the District Council and will share further access updates when possible. You can contact us directly for an update: PH: 03 615 8400, E:      

Alternate access options for the DOC managed Wainono Lagoon are as follows:

The beach track, suited to ATV’s, accessed from Hook Beach Road offers shoreline access from the Northern end of the Lagoon.

From SH1 at Nosh Café, a signposted access road leads to the Western shore of the Lagoon. This is a popular rowboat launching spot that local hunters use to access the established mid-water and shoreline maimais.


Outlook for June

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


A fair few hunters put away their shot gun 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 holiday is Monday 3 June, providing the perfect opportunity to connect with mates and plan out a hunt over the long weekend.

If your taking kids out, pick a warmer day in the forecast if possible and always and rug them up warm. Short evening hunts with kids are a more-comfortable option than a frosty morning hunt.

If you’re looking for hunting spot options then check out the wetland’s we administer hunting permits for here.


Pluck master gives top tips

For experience hunters plucking can be fast, easy, and enjoyable. Credit: Rhys Adams.

If you’re new to hunting, plucking a duck can be somewhat an awkward task. No worries - we’re here to walk you through the process.

Keen duck hunter and Fish & Game Officer Hamish Steves takes you through his quick and easy plucking method in this YouTube Video - click here.


Hot Barrels,

Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer


More Posts