Do it now - Duck hunters urged not to leave licence purchase until last minute

  • 27/04/2018
  • Richie Cosgrove

Do it now - Duck hunters urged not to leave licence purchase until last minute

Amid predictions of a good duck hunting season, game bird hunters are being encouraged to abandon their usual habit of buying a hunting licence at the last minute.

The 2018 game bird season opens throughout the country next weekend, on Saturday 5, May with optimistic forecasts from many regions.

In the North Island, Fish & Game’s Auckland/Waikato, Eastern and Wellington regions say there are good duck populations, with Wellington predicting “a cracker of a season.”

Above Right: Trent Lassen stride away from his Mai Mai after a successful opening day of the 2017 game bird season. 

In the South Island, the traditional duck hunting regions are holding good numbers after a great breeding season over the summer months.

Fish & Game says anyone hoping to put a wild duck dinner on the table needs to have a game bird hunting licence.

But if previous years are anything to go by, most licence sales will be the day before Opening Day, according to Fish & Game New Zealand’s Policy Manager Robert Sowman.

“Hunters are notorious for leaving their licence purchase to the last minute.  More game licences get sold in the last days before Opening Morning than any other time of the year,” Mr Sowman says.

“Unfortunately, that can mean long queues of hunters at sports shops waiting to buy their licence.”

His advice is to avoid the queues and buy a licence now from the comfort of home.

“The easiest way is to go onto the Fish & Game website and buy online.  The new website is very mobile phone-friendly, so you can buy without having to queue,” he says.

Hunters are also being advised to make sure they familiarise themselves with the hunting rules for the region they are planning to hunt in.

“The rules are different depending on which region you are hunting in, so you need to read the regulation book you get when buying a licence.

A couple of minutes familiarising yourself with the rules is time well spent as breaking them could well land you in court,” he says.

Robert Sowman points out that everyone buying a hunting licence is helping improve wild life habitat.

“For a licence to be valid, it must display a habitat stamp.  The money raised from stamp sales goes toward protecting and saving wetlands,” Mr Sowman says.

“These places are fast disappearing so saving them provides great habitat for native birds and fish, as well as game birds.

“The best bit is you don’t have to be a hunter to buy one.  If you care about saving wildlife habitat, then buy a habitat stamp safe in the knowledge that the money helps fund many worth environmental projects,” Robert Sowman says.

The 2018 game bird season opens on Saturday 5 May and runs until Sunday 26 August.

For information on the ‘rules & regs,’ where to hunt, how to win prizes and much more, visit and click on hunting and Game Season 2018.


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