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Good Prospects For The 2004 Game Bird Season

Monday April 26, 2004

Good Prospects For The 2004 Game Bird Season

Prospects look good for the upcoming game bird season that starts on Saturday May 1 at 6.30am, says Fish & Game New Zealand. The season runs from between six to 12 weeks depending on the Fish & Game region.

“In Auckland and Waikato, our biggest game bird region, there has been a good breeding season for spring and early summer with high numbers of dabbling duck broods being seen,” says Graham Ford, Fish & Game spokesperson. “There have been no severe floods disrupting nesting and good habitat conditions have continued through summer providing good rearing conditions for young birds.”

“Game bird monitoring in the Rotorua, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay areas this year found that the Mallard population is at its highest level since 1997. Also populations of Paradise Shelduck and Shoveler are healthy and stable. This area has been dry which means small ponds are likely to be low and birds will tend to congregate on big water areas,” says Mr Ford.

“Our Christchurch staff report a good, if somewhat late breeding season last year, with plentiful populations of Paradise Shelduck and Canada Geese. However, water levels are low around the region and if hunters find that small ponds are too low they should use the main Canterbury rivers and lakes as an alternative. The coastal lakes such as Ellesmere, Forsyth and Cooper’s Lagoon offer the best public land hunting opportunities in the region.”

“In Otago there is a strong population of Mallards. Water levels are good in South Otago but low in North Otago and around Dunedin. Where hunters have dried-up ponds we suggest they try the rivers and estuaries and look for areas where grain is being harvested and knock on the grain farmer’s door.”

“We remind hunters to maintain the good firearms safety record they have achieved in the last few years,” says Mr Ford. “Compared to big game hunters fatalities in the game bird hunting community are rare and there has not been a fatality for many years.”


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