Game bird hunting season 2015 starts with a bang!
The game bird hunting season for 2015 is officially open, and thousands of you have already grabbed your rifles and headed out to bag your limit.
Unfortunately it's been a mixed start to the season for some of you, with the sunny and calm weather seen across lots of areas of the country allowing many ducks to escape your shots!
In an article in today's NZCity, Fish and Game communications manager Don Rood said that the lack of wet and windy weather has given birds a real edge, as they've not had to fly low. Luckily, recent rain has spread the birds around meaning that many of will you will have at least seen some birds flying today.
Despite a slow day for hunters in some areas of the country, many of you have been more than happy with your loot. And this should be no surprise! Despite the conditions today not being ideal for game bird hunting, the season is set to be a cracker as a wet winter and spring afforded excellent conditions for waterfowl breeding, and recent trend counts showing that Mallard numbers are the highest in four years.
If this is your first bird hunting season and you're not sure when, what or how many birds you can shoot each day, be sure to check out the rules and regulations here. And even if you're a pro who's been game bird hunting for years, don't forget to keep on top of any recent changes to the regulations in your area.
And if you're heading away to another area of the country this season be sure to find out the regulations and bag limits for that region so you are clear on exactly what the rules and regs are.
This year, both Hawke’s Bay and Wellington have banned magazine extensions so make sure that your shotgun complies with the new rule. As always, Fish & Game rangers will be out in force across the country this weekend, checking to ensure you're carrying your licence and following the ban on using lead shot ammunition in 12-gauge shotguns over open water.
The most important thing to remember this game bird season is to stay safe, enjoy yourself, hunt responsibly and humanely and follow the rules - they're there for a reason! Here's to a successful season with plenty of duck feasts!
- James Markham