A safe start to gamebird season


Fish & Game has applauded duck hunters for a "safe and compliant" start to the new season.

Thousands of hunters turned out to hunt birds such as mallards and paradise shelduck.

In the Eastern Bay a lot of hunters were out, but according to Fish and Game catches were only average. In fact boaties reported more ducks out at sea than flying over the land.

Over the course of the weekend Fish & Game officers also joined forces with Police officers in ranging operations in both the north and south islands.

Fish & Game Communications Advisor Richard Cosgrove said across the country most hunters took ‘safety first’ advice and other messages on board, but a select few were detected breaking the rules.

Senior Fish and Game Officer Matt McDougall says not all hunters obeyed the rules regarding how many cartridges their guns could carry.

"We've picked up a few people without unpinned semi automatic shotguns.

"They're meant to be able to only hold two rounds in the magazine and one in the breech."

The offence was the most common picked up by Fish and Game officers throughout the weekend.

"We think these hunters knew the rule applied, but just hadn't got around to changing it."

Happy hunters on the West Coast near Buller (Photo Baylee Kersten).

Happy hunters on the West Coast near Buller (Photo Baylee Kersten).

Matt says the rule limiting the number of cartridges has nothing to do with the recent Christchurch mosque massacres, and instead is about stopping hunters firing at birds that are out of range.

He says the other issue for officers at the weekend was cartridges loaded with lead shot, which is banned near water.

"Most hunters are really good and have been really well behaved over the weekend, there's only the few exempt. Those shooting with lead should know better by now though."

Sam Gardner