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Taranaki Duck Numbers Look Promising For The 2021 Game Bird Hunting Season

Duck hunting prospects for Taranaki look better than normal thanks to a great breeding season.

Unlike eastern areas of New Zealand, Taranaki has been blessed with good autumn rains and ponds and wetlands are now well topped up for the game bird hunting season, which begins on Saturday May 1.

Taranaki Fish & Game Field Officer, Allen Stancliff says that following an extended breeding season, mallard numbers are looking good throughout the region, while the Taranaki ringplain will be a particular hotspot for paradise shelduck.

Counts during the January 2021 moult have confirmed that numbers of paradise shelduck remain high on the ringplain and farmers will welcome a harvest of birds that are congregating on paddocks with new-sown grass, particularly those that have had maize crops taken off.

Areas in paddocks that are perpetually damp or hold water following rain have been attractive to both mallards and paradise shelduck and they’ll be prime areas for hunting.

While hunters using 12-gauge shotguns have been required to use non-toxic shot for waterfowl hunting since 2004, sub-gauge shotguns such as 20-gauge had been exempted.

But from 1 May 2021 hunters must now use non-toxic shot in all sub-gauges except the .410 bore shotgun when hunting waterfowl within 200m of open water more than 3m wide.

Fish & Game Rangers accompanied by local police will be out checking on compliance and hunters need to ensure they’re carrying both their game and firearms licences.

Hunters are also reminded to check their regulations booklet for any changes in the areas they hunt as regulations may have changed since last season.

Stancliff says "As always no duck is worth more than coming home without your whanau and mates, so remind yourself of the seven basic rules of firearms safety a keep up the good safety record that duck hunters have had for the last few years."

Hunters should also report any duck bands they find on birds they’ve harvested.

There are up to 500 banded ducks in the region from bandings over the last three years.

"The information on where and when hunters shot a banded bird is vital to the management of the resource, so please go to the hunting pages on the Fish & Game and fill out the form to report the band or contact Taranaki Fish & Game on 0212700239 or email taranaki@fishandgame.org.nz " Stancliff says.

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