Hun­ters har­vest a valu­able re­source

Matamata Chronicle - - Duck Shooting -

GAME­BIRD hunt­ing is a won­der­ful New Zealand tra­di­tion and an im­por­tant part of our her­itage.

For early New Zealan­ders, hunt­ing was an es­sen­tial way of putting food on the ta­ble. More re­cently, hunt­ing has be­come a val­ued re­cre­ation, al­though pro­vid­ing fresh game meat on the menu is still im­por­tant. In­deed, game meat and wild foods are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as more of us live in large towns and cities at some dis­tance from a tra­di­tional nat­u­ral food source.

Hunt­ing en­cour­ages a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties and the de­vel­op­ment of val­ues that are im­por­tant to New Zealan­ders. Hun­ters are re­spon­si­ble for the pro­tec­tion and de­vel­op­ment of wildlife habi­tats, they mon­i­tor and ad­vo­cate for the en­vi­ron­ment and lead hunt­ing, out­door and safety pro­grammes. Hunt­ing also de­vel­ops pos­i­tive traits, such as re­spon­si­bil­ity, con­fi­dence, co­op­er­a­tion, dis­ci­pline, pa­tience and it builds com­mu­nity and fam­ily re­la­tion­ships.

All game­bird species are abun­dant and have a suf­fi­ciently high breed­ing rate to sus­tain hunt­ing. Game­birds pro­duce more off­spring each year than is needed to pop­u­late the species. This breed­ing strat­egy means (1) only a small pro­por­tion of all young birds usu­ally sur­vive the win­ter cold and competition for avail­able habi­tat and food and (2) in the event of favourable weather and abun­dant habi­tat, the pop­u­la­tion will ex­pand to fill the en­vi­ron­ment’s car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity.

Hun­ters, there­fore, form a small part of the an­nual cy­cle of nat­u­ral mor­tal­ity and, in do­ing so, har­vest a valu­able re­source. Nev­er­the­less, hunt­ing bag lim­its and sea­son lengths are strictly reg­u­lated to en­sure game­bird pop­u­la­tions are har­vested within sus­tain­able lim­its.

Good hun­ters pride them­selves on eth­i­cal hunt­ing and sports­man­ship. Fish & Game’s rec­om­mended code of prac­tice is that the ideal hunter is one who:

Car­ries a cur­rent game­bird hunt­ing li­cence and com­plies with bag lim­its and other con­di­tions.

En­quires about and ob­tains where re­quired, per­mis­sion to cross land and re­spects the wishes of the land­holder re­gard­ing fences, gates, crops, stock and ve­hi­cles.

Be­comes a com­pe­tent shooter, aware of his/her lim­i­ta­tions and kills game cleanly.

Is able to dis­tin­guish be­tween those species that may be taken legally from pro­tected species.

Uses ap­pro­pri­ate shot size and chokes for the quarry be­ing hunted.

Has im­me­di­ate re­course to a trained gundog, or other means for the prompt re­trieval of game.

Has and uses, the abil­ity to promptly and hu­manely kill game.

Rig­or­ously prac­tises the prin­ci­ples of firearms safety.

Ensures all game shot is used. Does not lit­ter. En­cour­ages all hunt­ing com­pan­ions to com­ply with the code of prac­tice.

Your hunt­ing li­cence al­lows you to hunt a wide va­ri­ety of game­birds through­out New Zealand.

New Zealand has the cheap­est game­bird li­cence in the world and cheaper still for younger hun­ters.

Your li­cence fee ensures the fu­ture of your sport.

All hun­ters must carry their game­bird li­cence.

Li­cences are avail­able from late March from sport­ing and hunt­ing shops, from re­gional Fish & Game of­fices, on­line at www.fis­handgame.org.nz or tele­phone 0800 542 3623.

Hun­ters may only use shot­guns for game­bird hunt­ing. Ri­fles are not per­mit­ted.

A firearms li­cence is re­quired to own and use a firearm in New Zealand. Con­tact the arms of­fi­cer at your lo­cal po­lice sta­tion, or visit www.po­lice.govt.nz/ ser­vice/firearms/ for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion. Peo­ple with­out a firearms li­cence may use a firearm (and hunt game­birds) pro­vided they have their own game­bird li­cence and are un­der the di­rect su­per­vi­sion of a men­tor with a firearms li­cence.

Es­tab­lish your fir­ing zone, en­sur­ing no peo­ple, prop­erty or build­ings are within that zone.

Zones of fire can change as you move, your tar­get moves, or other shoot­ers move. If you move, tell oth­ers.

In thickly veg­e­tated ar­eas the en­tire fir­ing zone may not be vis­i­ble.

Most mod­er­ately priced shot­guns will last a life­time, if well looked af­ter. The most com­mon shot­gun cal­i­bre is 12 gauge but other gauge guns have their ad­her­ents. Twelve gauge am­mu­ni­tion is less ex­pen­sive than other gauge ammo, there is a wider range of 12 gauge guns avail­able and con­cerns about re­coil may be ad­dressed with care­ful se­lec­tion of the type of gun, its weight and the type of am­mu­ni­tion.

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