‘Av­er­age’ duck sea­son

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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.

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