Both Barrels May 2024 - West Coast

  • West Coast
  • 23/05/2024

Both Barrels May 2024 - West Coast

2024 Game Bird Season Underway

The 2024 game bird season appears to be off to a fantastic start. Both hunters reporting in, and our game harvest survey, have indicated that there have been some hot barrels already this season. Despite the weather being more favourable for rangers than duck hunters over opening weekend, majority of hunters still managed to have some success and bag a few ducks.

Pictured above: Three generations of Wilsons enjoying opening morning together.

The average West Coast hunter over the opening weekend shot 7.8 game birds.

Consisting of 4.3 grey/mallards, 3 paradise shelduck, 0.1 swans, 0.4 pukeko and 0.03 shoveler for 6.2 hours hunting.

Game bird monitoring over the last couple of months has confirmed that there is no shortage of game birds on the West Coast, it is just a matter of doing some scouting and getting stuck in. With the good numbers observed in flight over opening weekend, hunters can only expect the hunting to improve throughout the season. Luckily for us Coasters, if opening didn’t go your way, we have a three-month winter season so there is still plenty of time to get back out and chase some birds.

Following a warm and relatively stable start to the season, it looks like we have some cold storms approaching, hopefully moving birds and getting them within shotgun range!

Wind can make all the difference, and using apps that have very localised weather information can help you know exactly where to go.

Using Yr weather and Windy should see you set up in no time with a strong wind over your shoulder.

To find out what to look for, check out this great video from the Wellington Region by clicking here.

Easterlies make for enjoyable hunting as they are often very strong winds with no rain, although caution should be taken on large water bodies with the potential of dangerous winds/waves.

As daylight shortens and winter sets in, birds will be mobbing up, so be sure to get back out and make the most of the great hunting on offer.


Organised Hunts/ Important Dates

Hunters shooting over recently harvested maize during opening weekend reported good hunting success.

Organised hunt events have now been locked in so hunters can start planning to get along to them!

Any questions regarding organised hunts should be directed to

As you’ll see below we are promoting the Shortest Weekend Duck Hunt. The 22nd and 23rd of June is the weekend Fish and Game are encouraging all hunters to get out hunting game birds again. Each year, at hunters request, Fish and Game promote a weekend to get hunters out in force and keep birds in circulation. A second opening weekend in essence.

Birds will have settled well since the opening day in May and it may be worth checking your regular spots for large concentrations of birds. With day licences available, it might also be a great chance to introduce someone new to the sport.

So...spread the word and get out amongst it when the weekend rolls round!




Pukeko Drive

2nd June 2024

Fairdown, Westport

Pukeko Drive

16th June 2024

Birchfield, Westport

Shortest Weekend Duck Hunt

22nd & 23rd June 2024


Game Bird Hunting Trip

6th & 7th July 2024


Closing Weekend

27th & 28th July 2024


Opening of Summer Pukeko Season

1st January 2025


Opening of Summer Paradise Shelduck & Swan Season

22nd February 2025

Locations 200m or more from open water for Paradise Shelduck

Closing of Summer Seasons

16th March 2025



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