Both Barrels April

  • 17/03/2023

The Countdown Is On!

Fourteen more sleeps to go before the day dawns on the best opening day we’ve ever had. 

How can we say it will be the best opening ever? Simple – every opportunity we get to hunt waterfowl will be better than what we’ve had before. 

Because we’ll get the chance to share our hunt with friends and family, create new memories, tell some yarns and share in the harvest of wild, free-range game birds! 

So much about duck hunting is not about bag limits, shotguns, ammo etc.; it’s about the celebration of the hunt, the collective gathering of food and traditions that we hold dear to us as New Zealanders.

The coming season looks great, be sure to check out the regional links above for some handy tips and info, plus insights into how the season is shaping up. 

There’s lots of helpful advice for your pre-season preparation; Matthew McDougall from Eastern Fish and Game has a handy checklist to ensure you don’t miss anything. 

Now's the time to be doing any last-minute preparation and getting your gear ready for opening morning, don't forget to buy your licence too! 


Patterning Targets

Knowing where your shotgun is shooting is critical to a successful hunt; Fish & Game have partnered with the team at NIOA (who bring you Federal and Remington Ammunition) to update the Fish & Game patterning target. 

These targets are always in demand by hunters and have become scarce over recent years. 

When NIOA took over Federal ammunition distribution in New Zealand, they reached out to collaborate on a new updated version of the target. 

Frazer Winskill from NIOA says, “NIOA are glad to support the Fish & Game NZ team with these custom shotgun patterning targets, free with your 2023 game bird licence (while stocks last at your local Fish & Game office). Happy and safe hunting to everyone participating during the 2023 season. Hot barrels!” 

Grab them from your local Fish & Game Office and learn more about NIOA here: 

NIOA has undertaken to update and supply more targets each year to your local Fish & Game Office, which is great news for hunters nationwide. 


Campaign To Fish & Hunt Forever 

The future of fishing and hunting is under threat. 

Changes in society and law are marginalising this critical part of who we are as New Zealanders, our lifestyle and culture. 

Your favourite pursuits are threatened by the Government’s proposed law to replace the RMA. 

The law will not recognise what you value about the wild nor protect the habitat of trout, salmon and game birds. 

Fish & Game is the only organisation that champions these pursuits and advocates on your behalf as anglers and game bird hunters. 

Sign up below to help us fight for the ongoing ability to fish and hunt. 



After the Minister of Conservation announced the decision to remove the lead shot exemption for .410s, the 2023-24 season is the last year you can use lead shot in .410s for waterfowl hunting. 

The use of lead shot within 200 metres of water has been banned for all other shotguns since 2021. 

From the 2024-25 season, all waterfowl hunters must use non-toxic shot like steel, tungsten and bismuth. 

It will mark a significant change for many hunting families where the .410 has long been considered an entry-level shotgun for youth learning to hunt. 


New Firearms Safety Authority - Te Tari Pūreke 

The team at the new Firearms Safety Authority, Te Tari Pūreke, have sent us some messaging to share with firearms owners:

New Rules for firearms licence holders

If you’re a firearms licence holder, there are things you need to know before the game bird hunting season. 

Changes have been made to the storage and transport rules for firearms and ammunition and to the seven safety rules of firearms safety. 

Regulations were updated in 2022, and to help Kiwis make sense of those changes, Te Tari Pūreke has published a Secure Storage and Transport Guide

Get ahead of the changes to firearms safety rules with the Firearms Safety Code. Download the PDF copy for free, or buy the book from the Te Tari Pūreke website and have it shipped to your door.

Firearms Registry

New Zealand will have a firearms registry from 24 June 2023. All firearms licence holders will be required to provide information about their arms items from this date.

Te Tari Pūreke has launched a new page on their website, which provides you with more information on the registry.

Register online or over the phone

From 24 June 2023, there will be two ways to register your arms items.

  • Online: the fastest and easiest way is through MyFirearms, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Over the phone: you’ll also be able to provide information by calling the Registry and Services team. We’ll be open Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm.

You will not be charged a fee to register your arms items. 

For more information on the safe handling and transport of firearms, the Firearms Registry and changes to legislation affecting firearms licence holders, visit 



What better way to honour the harvest of your game birds than by using some of the Fish & Game Cookbook recipes

Packed with 200 pages, there’s more than just recipes in this award-winning book; there are articles on how to process your game, plus the history of our game birds in New Zealand. 

Click on the link above to get your copy. 

For everyone heading out on May 6-7, we wish you a safe and enjoyable season opening, with good hunting beyond until the season closes. 


Warm Barrels,

The team at Fish & Game NZ.


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