Both Barrels May 2023 - Northland

  • Northland
  • 15/05/2023

Both Barrels May 2023 - Northland

Where are all the ducks?

Opening weekend 2023 was a contrast to previous years, with heavy rainfall a few days prior resulting in widespread flooding of the usual low-lying areas.

This provided a lot of open water that birds could feed in or hide amongst.

While this hindered some hunters’ activities it resulted in a boon for others.

We obtain hunter harvest rates from seasonal hunter surveys that monitor hunter effort and success.

From the results, we can determine relative population densities within the region.

Over the last ten or so years, the harvest rate i.e., ducks shot per hour hunted, has remained within a distinct band, indicating a stable population for mallards.

While it is still too early to determine overall season harvest in Northland for this year it appears to be within normal ranges despite the extreme weather events.

Any hunter survey returned by the deadline via email will go into the draw to win a free whole season 2024 hunting licence. 


Both staff and honorary rangers were out and about over opening weekend, with many hunters being checked for compliance with the regulations.

If landowners are claiming occupier rights it would be prudent to refresh yourself with the Wildlife Act to ensure that an offence is not being committed. 

Casual permits 

Forestry and casual permits are now available for Northland Fish and Game managed wetlands and forestry blocks. 

Northland Forest Managers, Rayonier/Matariki Forests and Manulife Investment Management allow access for upland game hunting on their properties.

You will be provided with high-quality access maps and public liability insurance.

Hunting is usually restricted to the weekends in the forests but all week on our wetlands.

Please email the office at

Important dates:

The mallard, grey and shoveler season closes on 2 July. 

The paradise shelduck and swan season closes on 30 July. 

The pukeko, quail and pheasant season closes on 27 August.   

Upcoming events:

We have a planting day planned for mid-July at the Underwood wetland development.

Please register your interest at the office.

This will see the riparian area of the second stage planted out and will complete stage two of the project.

The plants have been funded by the Game Bird Habitat Trust and the Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme.  Date: TBC 

Duck bands 

If you have shot a bird with a band please fill in the online form found at: send in your duck bands

You can also ring the free phone number 0800 BIRD BAND (0800-247322).

In conjunction with the Auckland/Waikato region, we band birds at two sites on the Kaipara harbour.

These are at Parakai and Wellsford, this data provides valuable information regarding the distribution, movement, and survival rates of game birds. 

 Warm Barrels

Graham Gallaghan, Northland Fish and Game.


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