‘Average’ duck season
RACHAEL KELLY The forecast looks perfect for Saturday, unless you’re a duck.
Saturday morning looks set to dawn with a period of rain in Southland, which may favour duck hunters eagerly awaiting the beginning of the new duck hunting season.
Southland Fish and Game ranger Cohen Stewart said the season would be ‘‘an average one’’.
‘‘Our aerial mallard counts earlier in the year revealed that the population is down somewhat relative to the last two years and this is likely due to dry breeding conditions last year.
‘‘When the breeding season is dry, duckling survival is lower because there is less food available.’’
Recent rainfall would be in the hunter’s favour.
‘‘There have been lots of puddles forming in paddocks and with puddles come earthworms which are perfect duck food. These puddles should encourage the dispersal of ducks and ensure they are in prime condition for the table.’’
Senior sergeant Greg Ballantyne said police will be out in Eastern and Western Southland working with rangers to encourage safe hunting and ensuring compliance with hunting and firearms law.
‘‘We’ll be checking hunters are properly licensed and conducting themselves responsibly, and offering some friendly advice on how to stay safe.
‘‘It’s about making sure that those who enjoy heading into the outdoors have a safe and enjoyable time.’’
The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council CEO Mike Daisley said few other outdoor recreational activities have such a dramatic increase in participation as the opening morning of duck hunting season.
Forty-one per cent of all game bird hunting injuries opening weekend.
Firearm handling errors are the major cause of fatality for game bird hunters, of which the majority are caused by people accidentally being shot. are on
Southland Fish and Game officer Cohen Stewart calling in ducks.