Waterfowl Hunters Happy To Get Out For Opening Weekend
Despite the calm sunny weather favouring the ducks for Opening Weekend (May 23/24), hunters in the lower North Island were generally happy to see the season under way after Covid-19 delayed the start by three weeks.
The settled conditions meant mixed results for hunters, with some reporting good numbers of ducks bagged and others struggling after the initial flurry of activity on Saturday morning.
Wellington Fish & Game manager Phil Teal says he was pleased with hunter behaviour over Opening Weekend.
“Rangers have been reporting very good compliance with the rules, and hunters were also following the safety and Covid restriction rules that are in place.
“It’s been a good start to the duck hunting season with hunters getting a chance to fill the freezer with free-range ducks, but more importantly the hunters were happy to get into the outdoors and relax from the pressures of recent weeks.”
Mr Teal also acknowledged the goodwill of farmers in allowing access to hunters in rural areas.
He said that “while social distancing rules were strictly followed, it was a good chance for urban-based hunters to catch up with landowners and share perspectives on events of recent months”.
The duck hunting season continues until July 12, 2020, as it has recently been extended to account for the delayed start to the season.
With a long weekend ahead, Mr Teal says many hunters are eying Queen’s Birthday as a sort of ‘second Opening’.
“Many hunters will be watching the weather closely and hoping it turns to their favour.
“Regardless, though, we’re expecting another really big turn out this weekend which will help keep the ducks moving around.”
Ranging teams will again be on the ground throughout the region and hunters are advised to ensure they have their game bird hunting licences with them at all times.