Wellington Game Bird Hunting Bulletin - 24th June 2021

  • Wellington
  • 22/06/2021

Wellington Game Bird Hunting Bulletin - 24th June 2021

Ducks In A Row For Closing Weekend       

June 24, 2021

A greenhead from a productive morning shoot at Lake Wairarapa last Saturday (Photo: Hamish Carnachan)

What a difference a week - and a lot of rain - can make!

The weather forecasts held true and delivered a really wild weekend, with gales and floods across many parts of the lower North Island.

This resulted in some excellent shooting on Saturday and Sunday, and well into the early part of this week too. 

As we predicted, the high water forced ducks off the sandbars in the middle of the larger lakes and rivers, and sodden pastures attracted great mobs of mallards to feed on worms and other insects brought to the surface by the flood waters. 

The exciting news if you missed out is that the weather is set to play ball again for the last weekend of the season, with more gales and rain on the cards. 

Hopefully there'll be a big turnout of hunters for this final opportunity of 2021, further helping move birds around. 

All in all, the ducks are aligned to see the season out with some real success. Get amongst it!  

Here's the outlook... 


Weather Outlook

Click here for updated weather information from MetService.


A front wedged between two highs - one in the Pacific and the other in the Tasman - will move up the South Island and reach the lower North Island by Friday. 

The early forecasts suggest this could bring winds potentially reaching severe gale, as well as rain for Saturday and Sunday. 

It's been worth the wait - the weather is going to be great for waterfowling again this weekend!       

Plenty More Hunting Ahead This Season 

GBB Tip 24Jun2021Alex Graham with his first game bird - a pukeko jumped from a raupo swamp (Photo: Hamish Carnachan)   

Don't put you shotty away after this weekend - there's plenty more game bird hunting available to lower North Island hunters this season. 

Pukeko are abundant throughout the region and build-ups of bird numbers can be a nuisance to farmers. 

Reconnaissance around swampy and low-lying areas, particularly after some heavy rain, will give you an indication of where the birds like to live and can potentially be targeted.

Door knocking and politely asking landowners can often see access permission granted as they appreciate help keeping numbers in check.

Pukeko flush really well from cover (a dog is an advantage) and can produce exciting 'jump' shooting. 

They can also be driven, much like pheasants, and careful planning can see many birds brought to the gun. 

Don't forget that pukeko eat well too when prepared correctly - Here's a great recipe

If upland game is on your bucket list, California Quail numbers are building in many parts of the region, particularly Wairarapa.

Understanding these enigmatic birds' habits and environmental preference will give you a steer on where to look for them.

And pheasant can be chased in a select number of spots in the lower North Island - contact the office for details on the available hunting opportunities.

Pukeko and upland game can be hunted right through to August 29, 2021. Extend your season and get maximum value from an investment in a licence.                  


Breasting Birds Made Even Easier! 

BreastingA fast, simple way to breast your ducks.

Breasting birds is an easy method of extracting prime meat or making the most of badly damaged birds.

Retaining the breast meat on the bone (sternum) with a layer of skin also helps maintain a moist and flavoursome product when cooked.

Once you’ve done a couple of mallards using the method outlined below, you won't go back:

  1. Pluck all the breast feathers from the lower neck to the gut area, making sure to  pluck right to the wing base.
  2. Cut a slice across the bird just below the sternum.
  3. Insert your fingers, then, while holding firmly onto the tail and feet of the bird, strongly pull the sternum base towards the head (left photo).
  4. Once the sternum is fully extended towards the head (middle photo), use a knife to separate it from the last of the rib cage by cutting down around the inside of the sternum towards the back bone. This can be tricky but becomes easier with practice.
  5. Finally, cut up towards the head through the neck meat and skin to separate the breasts from the bird (right photo)
  6. Tidy the meat and wash ready for cooking or freezing.


How To Hunt Lake Wairarapa 

The Wellington Fish & Game team have put together a short video offering some tips on how to be successful when hunting Lake Wairarapa. Click on the screenshot below to watch. 




- Pheasant hunting:

If you're interested in exploring upland game bird hunting opportunities in the Wellington Fish & Game region, please call us on (06)3590409 for info. 

- Band Returns:

Harvested ducks wearing precious metal bands? Please get the info into us and play your part in the long term management of mallard population. You can keep the band, we just need some details from you. Fill in your band return info here.        

From the Team at Wellington Fish & Game, happy hunting and please stay safe this season. 


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