Promis­ing quacks for duck shoot­ers

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Auck­land/Waikato Fish & Game of­fi­cers say prospects for the game bird sea­son have im­proved over last year, with farm­ers re­port­ing high num­bers of wa­ter­fowl breed­ing.

The sea­son for mal­lard, grey and shov­eler ducks be­gins on May 2 and runs un­til June 1.

North­ern Wildlife manager John Dyer said farm­ers were re­port­ing good num­bers of birds breed­ing in their drains and other wet­lands – par­tic­u­larly if they’ve had a preda­tor con­trol pro­gramme in place.

‘‘Af­ter a se­ries of badly timed floods sev­eral years ago, we’ve seen a steady climb back for lo­cal dab­bling duck pop­u­la­tions,’’ Dyer said.

‘‘How­ever, other species such as par­adise shel­duck have been much less af­fected. In fact, the last few breed­ing sea­sons seem to have been ideal over sum­mer for both pheas­ants and quail rais­ing chicks.’’

Dyer said par­adise shel­duck and black swan could be hunted un­til June 28 in the Auck­land/ Waikato re­gion.

To get max­i­mum value from their game bird li­cence, hun­ters are urged to take ad­van­tage of the up­land game bird sea­son, which runs un­til the end of Au­gust. Pheas­ant, quail and pukeko can all be hunted un­til Au­gust 30.

Dyer noted that sea­son lengths var­ied ac­cord­ing to the num­bers of each species and the ex­tent to which they were hunted. The goal is to en­sure a sus­tain­able har­vest with enough birds al­ways sur­viv­ing to breed, to sow the seed for the fol­low­ing year’s har­vest.

‘‘A va­ri­ety of mon­i­tor­ing pro­grammes en­sure this, such as hunter field checks, hunter phone sur­veys, band­ing of birds and aerial counts be­fore the sea­son be­gins.’’

Dyer said Fish & Game en­cour­aged hun­ters to tar­get pukeko over a gen­er­ous four-month sea­son as they ‘‘un­for­tu­nately do ex­ten­sive and al­most wan­ton dam­age to all man­ner of crops, ev­ery­thing from wa­ter­mel­ons [one bite makes them un­mar­ketable] to Chi­nese veg­eta­bles.’’

Fish & Game urges hun­ters to swot up on lo­cal rules and reg­u­la­tions. For ex­am­ple, hun­ters can­not shoot within 30 days of sea­son open­ing within 100 me­tres of ‘‘any wa­ter area’’ that has been de­lib­er­ately fed [with maize, bar­ley et cetera] to at­tract ducks or shel­ducks. This year that means from May 2 to June 28.

The re­gion also en­forces a three-shot rule which re­quires hun­ters to plug their mag­a­zines to ac­cept only two rounds, so the shot­gun has a ‘‘to­tal ca­pac­ity’’ of three rounds.

‘‘ If a ranger can get more than two rounds in the mag­a­zine, then re­gard­less of any ex­cuse the per­son will re­ceive an of­fence no­tice and will likely have their shot­gun con­fis­cated,’’ Dyer said.

‘‘This year we’d ask that hun­ters who are pre­par­ing ducks for the ta­ble to check for trans­mit­ters sur­gi­cally im­planted in their ab­domen, ‘‘prefer­ably be­fore they roast them’’.

The trans­mit­ters are part of a PhD study of mal­lard pro­duc­tiv­ity and can be used again if re­cov­ered and Fish & Game of­fi­cers are no­ti­fied.

Fish & Game rangers will be out check­ing that peo­ple have cur­rent game bird li­cences, and are stick­ing to bag lim­its and other rules. ‘‘There is a va­ri­ety of costs as­so­ci­ated with get­ting caught in­clud­ing loss of con­fis­cated equip­ment, fines, lawyers’ fees, and time off work to ap­pear in court,’’ Dyer said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.