Southland offers numerous hunting opportunities on public land for those willing to invest the time and effort to find a spot. This includes natural wetlands, lakes, coastal lagoons, rivers / streams, and tidal estuaries.

Key considerations will be.

  • Are ducks using the area/vicinity and/or is it on a regular flight path?
  • Are other hunters using the area?
  • Am I legally able to hunt here?
  • *Should* I hunt here?

The first considering can be answered with time and observation. You are best to sneak in undetected and simply observe at different times of the day, and during different weather conditions.

The second, is a matter of looking for human influence in the area. This could be cleared areas, cut branches or most obviously, the presence of a maimai or shooting stand.  This should have been pegged out at some stage. If it hasn’t been claimed, then you may be entitled to do so. Check here for details

The third criteria requires homework and understanding the legal title of the land.

The best resource for identifying a suitable location is the Outdoor Access Commission/Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa website.

Link to:

The ‘layers’ feature on this map will help you determine if the location is on public or private land, and secondly, whether you are able to get there using public access.

You may want to cross-reference this information about your selected location with the ‘NZ Primary Hydro Parcels’ map from LINZ.  Between these two sources, you should be able to identify the legal ownership of your site.

Fourthly but by no means last - *should* you hunt there. Ask yourself, is it safe to hunt here? There are multiple situations where you may legally be allowed to hunt, but it is not safe or appropriate to do so.  This may be due to the proximity of housing, sheds, roads, animals, overhead power lines etc. Have a low threshold for any shooting that may be unsafe or cause public concern.

Department of Conservation managed areas

Gamebird hunting is allowed in some DOC managed areas and will you need to be issued a Game Bird Hunting Permit.

This is best done through the local DOC office.

For more information, click here.

Drift Shooting

From June 1 shooting from unmoored boats on the Mataura, Aparima, Oreti, Waiau and Waimatuku Rivers and their navigable tributaries is permitted.  This allows hunters to drift down these rivers and shoot flushed game birds.

This can be a very productive form of hunting late in the season when birds are well educated and often camped on hard-to-reach sections of the river.

For those hunters struggling to find a location to hunt, this avenue opens a wide variety of water to explore.

The utmost care must be taking when navigating the river and discharging firearms.