High fliers mar hunt open­ing

Clutha Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MARY-JO TOHILL

It was good weather for me­teor watch­ing, but not so good for the 4000 hunters who turned out for the open­ing of duck shoot­ing in Otago at the week­end.

Otago Fish and Game Coun­cil oper­a­tions man­ager Ian Had­land said a fine calm open­ing morn­ing tried the pa­tience of some hunters, when the weather gods turned on high-fly­ing con­di­tions for about the 10th year in a row.

‘‘Pre-sea­son ex­pec­ta­tions of high bird num­bers were well founded but the weather wasn’t quite right to take ad­van­tage of the sur­plus birds avail­able.’’

Hunters needed a good breeze and low cloud to keep the birds lower and within range, and in­stead it was a glo­ri­ous day, es­pe­cially in cen­tral Otago, he said.

How­ever, the be­nign weather con­di­tions didn’t stop well pre­pared hunters do­ing well.

‘‘I saw some limit bags (25 each) of mal­lards shot in Ta­panui area and there were a few very good bags shot around Mil­ton and in the Pool­burn and Ida val­leys. Ev­ery­one got a few which was great.’’

He said hunters shouldn’t measure their whole sea­son by open- ing morn­ing suc­cess.

‘‘It’s a three month sea­son and from what I’m see­ing, there are plenty of birds still around to har­vest.’’

The week­end’s me­teor shower, a ce­les­tial event in which a num­ber of me­te­ors are ob­served to ra­di­ate, or orig­i­nate, from one point in the night sky, would have been best viewed by hunters in the pre-dawn.

Rangers checked around 60 mai mais, some with as many as seven hunters, and found ex­cel­lent com­pli­ance with bag lim­its and reg­u­la­tions.

Two hunters had of­fence no­tices is­sued and firearms seized for hunt­ing with­out li­cences and pos­sess­ing lead shot.

‘‘There seems to be a trend of im­prov­ing com­pli­ance in Otago but there is al­ways one or two blokes who just don’t get or­gan­ised in time and take risks.’’

He also re­ported good be­hav­iour in the Toko­mairiro and Ta­panui ar­eas in south Otago.

‘‘Fish and Game were very pleased with the com­pli­ance and be­hav­iour of hunters in this area.’’

How­ever, rangers would be fol­low­ing up with po­lice on some re­ports of reck­less firearm use around Kai­tan­gata.

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