Last chance to bag some game birds

  • 27/08/2015

Fish & Game is urging gamebird hunters to make the most of the last weekend of the gamebird season and bag some upland game birds – pheasants and quail – for the table.

Pheasants harvested near WhangareiThe upland game bird season wraps up around the country on August 31, 2015.

The gamebird season began on the first weekend of May, but for many species, the hunting period is now over. Mallards and grey ducks are already off limits – the season for them closed weeks ago in all regions.

Fish & Game Communications Manager Don Rood says upland game birds provide a good end-of-season opportunity for a final hunt.

“This weekend is a great opportunity for gamebird hunters to get out in the field with their dog and mates and put some tasty wild, free-range food on the table.

“Quail and pheasant are excellent eating and challenging hunting. There is a lot of walking involved chasing upland birds and wily cock pheasants usually outsmart the average hunter.

“Getting out this weekend for the last hunt of the season offers gamebird hunters the chance to get maximum value – from their hunting licence.”

There are also limited opportunities for two other gamebird species, the paradise shelduck and the pukeko.

However, hunters are urged to carefully read their region’s regulations to make sure they are hunting in the correct areas to avoid falling foul of the law.

Paradise duck can be hunted this weekend in Otago, and in some parts of North Canterbury and Central South Island for another few weeks.

Pukeko can be hunted in Hawkes Bay until the end of September and in a limited area of the Nelson-Marlborough region.

Fish & Game says pukeko can be aggresive predators of eggs and chicks and their increasing numbers in some areas prompt regular complaints from farmers and landowners whose properties are close to wetlands.

Don Rood says while there are urban and rural myths that claim pukeko isn’t good eating, the reverse is the case.

“Pukeko is actually good eating and people should try it before condemning it. There has even been coverage on TV3 this week showing that properly prepared, pukeko makes a good meal.

“Hunters should give it a try and make their own decision, rather than listening to idle gossip,” he said.

Fish & Game still wants to hear from hunters who harvest any gamebirds with bands –

by using Fish & Game's website form, or phoning or emailing in details of the bird and its band number.

The birds are banded to monitor the health and size of populations and how far birds roam.

Senior Fish & Game Officer Matthew McDougall, who collects the band data, says he’s concerned about a possible computer glitch that may have affected some returns.

“We ask that any hunters who sent details via Fish & Game’s website – but didn’t hear anything back from Fish & Game – please send your details again.”

Those hunters who do return the bands they recover can enter the Banding Together draw to win one of five camo' hunting jackets provided by Hunting and Fishing New Zealand. The deadline for entering is the end of August.

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