Good opening expected
Prospects are looking positive for duck hunters heading to central and lakes areas for the opening of the duck hunting season on May 5. Ponds and wetlands throughout the Maniatoto and Ida Burn Valleys have had regular top ups with the surrounding farmland remaining lush providing abundant food resources for ducks.
Experienced hunter and Fish and Game Ranger, Trevor Beck reports it was a "great breeding season - I have seen as many ducks as I can remember for a long time". Good numbers of mallards have also been reported throughout the Upper Taieri. Paradise Duck moult counts were similar to last season with some large concentrations present on the big irrigation dams, 2000 birds were counted on one dam in the Ida Valley alone.
The head of Lake Dunstan’s Clutha Arm is lively with waterfowl and the valleys and river systems adjoining Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and Wakatipu are holding healthy numbers of mallards and parry’s. Fish and Game Officer Cliff Halford said hunters should do well in these areas if they plan well, put the effort in and do the basics right.
Fish and Game surveys identified that 95% of Otago hunters were active over the last opening weekend - but during one fortnight period later only 3% of hunters had bothered to get out for a duck! So just remember if opening day is fine and calm with ducks flying high - you still have another 3 months of hunting opportunities in your licence.