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Mallard season ends Auckland/Waikato


Hunters urged to ‘think beyond mallards’ as season draws to close

Auckland Waikato Fish & Game is reminding hunters the season for mallard, grey and shoveler ducks ends on Queens Birthday Monday (6.30pm June 2,2014).

Northern Game bird Manager John Dyer says that last year several hunters risked $5000 fines by shooting at mallard after the season had ended, “blissfully unaware until rangers turned up to investigate complaints by other hunters.”

Hunters doing this also risk the confiscation of their equipment, “so they need to take the (closing) dates seriously.”

Mr Dyer says anyone who’s planning to hunt in other regions should check the regulations in either the booklet that came with their game bird licence, or online if they’ve misplaced it.

“Some local hunters have been slow to take on board all the publicity about feeding ducks being banned on shot-over ponds, and also the three-shot rule.”

If a ranger can fit more than two rounds into a hunter’s magazine, then no matter what the excuse for it, they risk fines and confiscation, he says.

“Unfortunately that’s exactly what has happened in some areas where our rangers made surprise appearances on many remote private properties this year, from as far north as Wellsford to as far south as Taumarunui. ”

The local mallard population has had a rough time of it with repeated one-in-50 year droughts in the past few years. The shorter seasons are there to help maintain a breeding nucleus to aid their recovery when wetter conditions return.

And while the mallard harvest has been slow due to fine weather, poor tides and other factors, depending on the location, there are still plenty of opportunities there for those who persist.

Paradise shelduck can be hunted until June 29 June. And the drought conditions have benefitted pheasant numbers, with good conditioned birds “now waiting to play hide and seek games with well-trained pointing dogs.”

Hunters can also do themselves a favour by thinning out pukekos wherever these birds are in large numbers, he says. They have four months (to August 24) to hunt pukekos, pheasants and quail in the Auckland/Waikato Region.

“It surprises many people, even many hunters, that these native icons have long been associated with killing ducklings and eating duck eggs, quite apart from seriously damaging crops such as maize and grass.”

One woman who was feeding ducklings in her backyard told us of chasing pukekos, while still in her dressing gown.

The pukekos had grabbed her ducklings in their sharp beaks and ran off – refusing to let them go until they were quite dead. “Those pukekos are certainly now on her hunting list.”

Mr Dyer says the original paleo diet that humans have been eating for millennia, is all about lean game meats.

“They don’t come much leaner than pheasants and hunters who set about hunting these birds are not just bagging ‘fast-food’ of a much healthier kind, but they’ll be much fitter for all that exercise.”

Mr Dyer added: “Our heart-healthy prescription is to get off the couch and go chasing these roosters up and down the hills.”


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