Game bird hunters get ready for opening day of the new season tomorrow

  • 5/05/2017

Game bird hunters get ready for opening day of the new season tomorrow

Game bird licences are selling well as hunters prepare for the new hunting season, which begins tomorrow morning.  (Saturday 6 May)

Keen game bird hunters around the country are keeping a close eye on the weather, and making the final preparations to their equipment and hunting spots amid predictions 2017 will be one of the best in recent years.

Large numbers of ducks are being reported throughout the country, with the poor summer the country endured this year credited with providing the perfect conditions for ducks to have a bumper breeding season.

Anyone planning to take advantage of the good duck numbers and bag some for the family dinner table must buy a game bird hunting licence and the latest figures show sales are ahead of the same time last year.

However, Fish & Game is cautious about predicting the high bird numbers will be matched by high licence sales.

“Traditionally, game bird hunters leave buying their licence until the very last minute, which can see long Friday night queues at sports shops,” says Fish & Game’s communications manager Don Rood.

“We have been encouraging people to get in early and buy their licences well ahead of time, so hopefully that advice is being listened to. 

“It is easy to buy your licence through the Fish & Game website using your PC or mobile phone, so there’s no excuse for not having one.”

Fish & Game usually sells around 38 thousand game bird hunting licences a year, but Don Rood says that isn’t a true picture of actual hunter numbers.

“Landowners, their partner and one of their sons or daughters can hunt on their own property free of charge without buying a licence, so there are more hunters than licence sales would indicate,” he says.

Wherever they are hunting, everyone is being urged to make sure they follow the firearm and water safety rules.

Fish & Game has been working with Water Safety New Zealand and the Mountain Safety Council to provide safety advice to all hunters.

“We want all our licenceholders to have a safe Opening Weekend.  They need to make sure they are not only familiar with the firearm safety rules, but they also follow them.

“We want everyone to go home safe,” says Don Rood.

The extensive flooding wrought by April’s cyclones may also pose problems.

“Water levels are still high in some North Island regions in particular, so hunters need to make sure they have and use life jackets,” he says.

To further press home the message, Fish & Game rangers will be accompanied by police this weekend to make sure that both firearm laws and hunting regulations are being obeyed.

While duck numbers are high, the weather forecast is not favouring hunters. Calm, clear conditions are predicted for the weekend, with frosts in some areas.

The game bird season runs from May 6 to August 27, although the duration of duck hunting opportunities varies in each of Fish & Game’s 12 regions.  Hunters are urged to check the regulations for the area they are hunting in to avoid hefty fines for breaking the rules.


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