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Fish & Game vote to remove sub-gauge exemption

Fish & Game vote to remove sub-gauge exemption

The Southland Fish & Game Council has taken steps to phase out an exemption that allows hunters the use of lead shot in sub-gauge shotguns in their pursuit of waterfowl within 200 metres on all waterways over 3 metres wide.

“There is a lot to gain - our environment and health of our ducks, wetlands and waterways and, our credibility,” says Southland Fish & Game manager Maurice Rodway.

At its recent February meeting, the Southland Fish & Game Council considered all the evidence and submissions presented, along with other information and research undertaken by staff, and resolved: The use of lead will be phased out over a three-year transition.

The 2014-15 game bird season will see Southland Fish & Game encouraging the voluntary use of non-toxic shot; 2015-16 requiring the use of non-toxic shot on all public waterways; and 2016-17 requiring the use for all waterfowl hunting within 200 metres of a waterway greater than 3 metres wide.

“Hunters will not have to stop hunting, they will only lose a few metres in range, which only requires a slight change in hunting tactics,” says Mr Rodway.

The Southland Fish & Game council has shown a willingness to consider groups of hunters, such as juniors who could be genuinely disadvantaged by the change, and voted to continue their exemption, along with those shooting with .410 gauge shotgun.

“Councillors have listened to the concerns of those who want to retain the use of lead shot carefully. They have done their own research by talking to hunters, including some of those who signed the petition against the change, and found that when the issues were explained many were not so opposed.”

Mr Rodway and the Council are expecting continued opposition from some quarters of the game bird hunting fraternity, and have already received submissions against the proposal, citing the poor performance of steel shot.

However, steel shot loads are commonly used to hunt waterfowl in North America in 20 gauge shot guns and some of the Southland Fish & Game Council who have used these loads report that they are surprisingly effective.

Feedback is be encouraged from all licence holders in the meantime and will be sought during the 2013 game season hunter surveys.


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