Game bird hunters - don't forget to stake your claim on  your favourite maimai or duck shooting stand before the start of the new hunting season starting Saturday, 4 May, 2024.

View from the maimai calm conditions favoured the ducks

The process of claiming a hunting stand goes under many names depending on region – marking up, pegging or tagging.

Whatever it’s called, if a hunter wants to retain their favourite spot from last season, they need to do it before 10am on Sunday April 7th 2024.

The rule applies to all 12 Fish & Game regions around the country.

Tagging your favoured maimai allows you to set yourself up for the season ahead, ready to harvest birds over opening weekend and then have first dibs on that spot for the rest of the season.

Other hunters wanting to stake their claim over an unclaimed maimai for the first time must wait until after 10am on that date.

Rules on who can use a hunting spot also apply once the game bird hunting season begins.

The rules state that hunters then need to be at the maimai within one hour of the opening hour of hunting.  If they aren’t there within that time, the spot can be used by any other licensed hunter for the rest of the day. 

To reclaim your spot for the upcoming season you first need to buy your Game Bird Licence for the upcoming season, which contains your claim tag. 

When completing your licence application form, make sure you click the stand claim tag if you want one sent to you with your licence. Unless you do, you won't be sent the plastic tag.

The new season licence information can be viewed here. To buy a licence, go to the Fish & Game website’s licence page here.

Hunters are advised to get their licence early to avoid the last minute rush.

Fish & Game says it is crucial that hunters check the regional regulations for the areas they intend to hunt it – for any changes to season lengths, bag limits and any other rules before heading out on opening weekend.

For example, In the Auckland/Waikato region, hunters are only allowed to load three cartridges into their shotguns, a rule first introduced in 2013.

The shot restrictions have a conservation aim, and also encourage hunters not to shoot at birds moving out of range.

In the South Island, the season for mallards in all regions runs for nearly three months with bags ranging from 8 to 50.

North Canterbury and Southland, for example, offer bigger bag limits for opening weekend than for the rest of the season.

And hunters in all regions are again urged to take advantage of the longer season for upland game birds, including pheasants and quail.

Try seeing how many different types of game bird you can bag on the same day - duck, swan, pheasant, pukeko and quail. 


Contact the Fish & Game Office in your region for hunting conditions and opportunities. Contact details are available in the complementary Hunting Regulation Guides. Or click here to view North & South Island guides.


Tagging Q&A

These are found in the First Schedule section of the Game Bird Hunting Guide supplied free with your licence. You can also finding information on tagging and other topics in the hunting pages of our website:

Yes, BUT if you do not have landowner permission to hunt on any land (private or public) then the rules are irrelevant – you shouldn’t be there.

Yes, provided the maimai is not occupied before 7.30am. The hunter who has tagged the maimai only has the ’first rights’ privilege of occupying it until 7.30am then it is open to any other licensed hunter for the remainder of the day.

If you claimed a spot in the previous game bird season you can tag the same spot any day, from when the licences became available until 10am on Mark Up Day, After 10am on Mark Up Day, any licence holder can tag any spot not already tagged.

No. You have the opportunity to re-tag the position before 10am on April 5.

No, not if your maimai position is within 90m of the existing maimai, then unless invited to be closer by the other party, you cannot tag it. Even if your maimai is more than 90m away but another person’s safety is at risk, you should shift. Hunting safely is paramount.