Wellington/Taranaki - Weekly Hunting Bulletin - 16 May 2024

  • Wellington Taranaki
  • 16/05/2024

Wellington/Taranaki - Weekly Hunting Bulletin - 16 May 2024

Scout Around to Find Duck Refuges 

Unfortunately the strong winds forecast for last Saturday never really eventuated resulting in mixed hunting success for those who ventured out.

The big water is shooting okay, though hunters are still having to work for the birds.

Pictured: A quick morning river hunt in Manawatu saw Trevor Saunders bag two banded drakes earlier this week.

Out and about this week, staff noticed large congregations of mallards in refuges such as backwaters and ponds that haven't been shot this season.

Hunters should be scouting around for these areas and door-knocking for access. 

Then it's a matter of determining when the birds are arriving, whether it's a morning or an evening pond – hunters have reported putting birds up for an evening shoot and none coming back!  

Mallards and parries are still honing in on harvested maize paddocks, so scouting for these areas and securing access will also lead to some productive hunting if you figure out the flights.  

This quiet backwater was holding plenty of waterfowl yesterday including good numbers of mallards (Credit: Hamish Carnachan) 

What we need is some more rain to really get birds moving out into different feeding areas.

While Taranaki has had a bit of rain, it's largely going to be a fine and clear weekend though. 

At least some parts of the lower North Island will see some wind which could stir a few birds into moving around looking for shelter. Fingers crossed the forecast holds true this time.     

Make sure you’ve got your licence - click the image below - as rangers will continue to be active throughout the season.     

Here's the outlook for Opening Weekend...


Weekend Weather Outlook 

The brighter the colour the stronger the wind (Credit: Windy.com)

The country is currently wedged between two large highs which will be shunted off by several low pressure systems forming in the north. 

This is creating significant wind shifts that, although not strong, could budge a few birds off the refuges where they're holding up. 

A strong nor-wester is forecast to kick in early Saturday morning and build throughout the day, particularly for the southern parts  of the Wellington Fish & Game region and up into coastal Taranaki. 

A good morning hunt could be on the cards for those areas, however, inland parts of the Wellington and Taranaki regions remain calm. 

Around midnight Saturday a south to south-east flow moves over the lower North Island. This wind switch could stir a few birds up for hunters who are out early Sunday morning before the calm conditions prevail again.     

Click here for the latest weather updates from Metservice, or visit the Windy website to track conditions coming our way.

Hunting & Fishing Photo Competition - Win $300 To Spend in Store

Aaron Bevege breasting ducks after a successful hunt with the new pup in close attendance (Credit Sarah Dudin).

Send in your favourite photos from this game bird hunting season and you could be in to win a $300 voucher to spend in store at Wairarapa Hunting & Fishing.

We won't blow your secret spot, just include the name of the hunter(s), photographer's details, and general location in the Wellington-Taranaki Fish & Game region.

Click here to submit your entry.    

You can send us as many hunting photos as you like.

By submitting images to enter the competition you acknowledge that Wellington-Taranaki Fish & Game, and Wairarapa Hunting and Fishing, can publish and use the photos for publicity material.

Entries must be in by 8:30pm, August 25, 2024. The winner will be notified via email.


Tips for Decoy-Shy Ducks 

Note the spinning wing and static floating decoys tucked under partial cover so wary ducks can't get a good look at them (Credit: Hamish Carnachan).  
With little wind or rain to get ducks going so far, hunters are finding they're having to work hard for birds.
Already the ducks are becoming wary, exhibiting the type of behaviour we'd normally see later in the season.
When passing ducks turn and head towards your decoys, circle a few times then keep going, it's a sure sign your spread just failed the reality test.        
Ducks Unlimited US has canvassed 10 experts on how they hunt decoy-shy and late season ducks.
Although based on North American experiences, there's plenty that translates to our situation here in NZ, including the following gems from Skipper Dickson who hails from Louisiana. 
Dickson primarily hunts mallards in flooded fields and brush thickets in northwest Louisiana.
He maintains a high rate of success on tough birds by employing increasing degrees of subtlety and realism.
"When ducks get decoy-shy, I start hunting over six or eight decoys that I set each morning," he says. "I don't put these in the middle of the pocket. Instead, I put them where they are in the shade or partially obscured by brush. I want the ducks to see them, but not get a good look.
"I always use motion," Dickson continues. "I want subtle water movement-ripples instead of noisy splashing. So I go with a jerk-string or a feeder decoy with a bilge pump that spews water out the back, like a Pulsator."
Dickson also pays attention to the number of drakes and hens when setting decoys. Sometimes he sets bachelor groups of drakes. Other times he sets more hens than drakes. "I like some of the hens to be alone and look available to circling drakes," he explains.
And finally, Dickson calls sparingly and quietly. "I want ducks to have to strain to hear the call," he says. "With shy ducks, it's better to give them too little calling than too much.
You can read the whole article from Ducks Unlimited here.  


Need Some Help With Your Duck Pond?

Fish & Game can help landowners with wetland development and enhancement projects.

Looking to create a duck pond or improve your existing one? Wellington-Taranaki Fish & Game are happy to help with expert advice and may even be able to secure funding to assist with the project. 

Whether you want to hold ducks on your pond longer, or are aiming to create an entirely new wetland from that unproductive boggy paddock, we have the staff expertise and experience. 

Drop us an email and we'll call to discuss your plans and how we can help.   

How to Use Spinning Wing Decoys

Click the screenshot above to watch a good little video from the US on how to use your spinning wing decoy for the best results.   


Top Nosh - Crispy Duck Schnitzel Burger

Wondering what to do with all those ducks you harvested over Opening Weekend?

Check out this quick and tasty Crispy Duck Schnitzel recipe from Fish & Game's Cohen Stewart.    
If you've got a good duck recipe you'd like to share with your fellow hunters, flick it through to us.     


Get those Band Details In

If you manage to harvest any ducks wearing 'precious metal' this season, please get the details back to us. 

Hunters are welcome to hold on to the band, we just want some basic information that goes with that precious metal - the banding programme is an important part of our mallard management.   

Band info can be registered by, ringing the free phone number 0800 BIRD BAND (0800-247322).

Alternatively there's a ready-made form to fill out on the Fish & Game website here.

Need To Know - Transporting Firearms

Safety First This Season!

The team at Wellington-Taranaki Fish & Game would like to remind hunters about the importance of firearms safety and encourage you and your hunting buddies to refresh yourself with the seven rules of firearms safety.    

1: Treat every firearm as loaded.
2: Always point firearms in a safe direction.
3: Chamber a cartridge only when ready to fire.
4: Identify your target beyond all doubt.
5: Check your firing zone.
6: Store and transport firearms and ammunition safely.
7: Avoid alcohol or drugs when handling firearms.

We hope you have a great season - please keep in touch and let us know how you're going. 


​*This report was accurate at time of writing. For your safety, please ensure you check the latest weather information before you head out hunting. And always be safe and responsible with firearms .  

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