High fliers mar hunt opening
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.