Duck shoot­ers down guns for ad­vo­cacy


Hours of lob­by­ing be­hind the scenes has re­sulted in vic­tory for a duck shoot­ing lobby group formed by two Gore men.

‘‘Com­mon­sense has pre­vailed,’’ Sub Gauge Ac­tion Group found­ing mem­ber Kevin Fiveash said this week.

Fish and Game coun­cils across New Zealand have voted 8-4 against a South­land Fish and Game-led pro­posal to ban duck shoot­ers from us­ing lead shot in sub-gauge shot­guns.

Be­tween 5 and 10 per cent of duck shoot­ers use sub-gauge shot guns which have smaller bar­rels than the more com­monly used 12-gauge shot­guns.

Lead shot has been banned in 12-gauge shot­guns for about 15 years but duck hunters have con­tin­ued to be al­lowed to use lead shot in the less pow­er­ful sub-gauge shot­guns.

Fish and Game South­land man­ager Mau­rice Rod­way said they wanted lead shot banned from sub-gauge shot­guns so duck hunters in­stead used ‘‘non toxic’’ steel shot. Ducks swal­lowed lead shot pel­lets from the bot­tom of ponds when feed­ing and most died from lead poi­son­ing as a re­sult, Rod­way said.

How­ever, the Fish and Game South­land pro­posal to ban lead shot was met with strong op­po­si­tion from many duck hunters, with Eastern South­land hunters lead­ing the charge.

They ar­gued Fish and Game South­land had not proved that lead shot poi­soned ducks.

They also said its re­place­ment, steel shot, was in­ef­fec­tive, with hunters who missed their mark merely wound­ing many ducks, which flew away and bleed to death in pad­docks, giv­ing the hawks a feed in­stead of the hunters.

Eastern South­land duck­shoot­ers Kevin Fiveash and Lind­say Dun­can, up­set at the pro­posal to ban lead shot in sub gauge shot­guns, ini­tially called a pub­lic meet­ing in 2012 and more than 100 peo­ple turned up.

The Sub Gauge Ac­tion Group was formed and mem­bers from South­land and be­yond lob­bied hard against the South­land Fish and Game pro­posal.

South­land Fish and Game agreed not to pro­ceed with the lead shot ban at a re­gional level, in­stead ask­ing the New Zealand Fish and Game coun­cil if it could make a de­ci­sion na­tion­ally.

New Zealand Fish and Game con­sulted with its 12 re­gions and this month the re­gions voted 8-4 to re­tain the sta­tus quo, mean­ing duck hunters can con­tinue us­ing lead shot in sub­gauge shot­guns un­til 2017, when Fish and Game will take another look at it.

Fiveash, a duck shooter for 50 years, said the re­sult was com­mon­sense.

‘‘The peo­ple stood up and said, ‘this isn’t right’,’’ he said.

He be­lieved con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Nick Smith had also pres­sured Fish and Game to back off its stance.

Rod­way said democ­racy had taken place.

‘‘We will have to ac­cept that de­ci­sion for the next three years un­til we get more in­for­ma­tion.’’

Most western coun­tries did not al­low lead shot in any type of shot­guns, he said.

Rod­way said re­search did not back up claims by hunters that more ducks died from be­ing wounded with steel shot than died from be­ing poi­soned by lead shot.

Out­voted: Fish and Game South­land

man­ager Mau­rice Rod­way

ac­cepts that democ­racy has

taken place.

No steel: Sub Gauge Ac­tion Group found­ing mem­ber Kevin Fiveash, of Gore, says com­mon sense has pre­vailed.

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