The official duck shooting season starts today with shooters being urged to stay safe in the weekend ahead.
Eastern Fish and Game officer Matthew McDougall says hunters need to stay safe and follow firearm safety rules.
Duck shooting season has officially started. Photo: Supplied.
“The duck hunting season, I was explaining to someone the other day, is much about sharing time with family and friends.
“It’s really interesting when we do surveys with hunters, the younger guys are keen to get out there and shoot something, but as people get older the enjoyment they get is more about spending time with their family and their mates.”
Matthew says having fun and spending time with family and friends is something Fish and Game always tries to encourage and support.
Matthew says this opening weekend will be a challenge for the hunters with the weather going to be against them.
“With fine weather it’s always a little bit harder. The birds, especially in the Bay, they go out to sea and they sit out there, so it’s going to be a bit tough.”
Fish and Game is predicting hunters to have a bag full of juveniles.
“We monitor the bird populations over the summer period and this year we got an awful lot of juveniles in our samples, which is often indicative of a good season but we didn’t get very many adults and we’re not sure what’s happened to all the adults.
“We’ve been monitoring fairly intensively for the last 14 years and this is the first year I don’t know what is going on.”
Matthew says due to the amount of rain in summer months, adult ducks may have known of other food sources and not needed to take the food inside the traps.
“They may have been out in the paddocks - because what we do is grain feed the traps and the adults may have known where other food sources were and not needed to go into the traps for food.”
As Fish and Game are unaware of where the adults are located they have imposed a semi-restrictive season this year.
“The season is shorter, six weeks, than what it would normally be.
“Mallard and grey ducks can be hunted until June 17 and game birds, which include black swan, pheasant, quail, pukeko and so forth, those species go to the August 26.”