Duck season one of the best

Record numbers of ducks lead to extended season this year.

Record numbers of ducks lead to extended season this year.

A male Mallard duck. File picture

THE new duck-hunting season looks to be shaping up as one of the best, with record numbers of ducks leading to an extended season this year.

Senior Fish and Game officer Matthew McDougall said going by the latest research into mallard duck numbers, game bird hunters in Fish and Game’s Eastern Region could expect one of the best hunting seasons for some time.

“We base this on duck numbers we’ve trapped over summer within the Eastern region, and banding data collected over a 20-year period.

“We trapped 1,500 ducks in total this year which is more than we have in any of the preceding years of trapping and banding.”

Fish and Game’s research, which has included aerial flyovers to estimate bird numbers, indicates a mallard population in the eastern region, which includes Gisborne, parts of Wairoa and Rotorua, to be between 350,000 and 450,000 birds.

Harvest regulations

Fish & Game’s harvest regulations were set according to estimated duck numbers, and this year’s region wide estimate corresponded to a six-week season and daily bag limit of eight birds.

“Bay of Plenty numbers are looking pretty good, while in the Gisborne /Wairoa region we’ve caught more ducks during our banding operations there than we have for many years.”

Last year, Gisborne hunters only had a four-week season to bag just six ducks. However, Mr McDougall said there were other changes that people should be aware of.

“This season a three-shot rule applies and hunters are required to plug their shotgun magazines so that the gun holds no more than two shots in the magazine and one in the breech, three shots in total."

The big game-bird hunting season starts next month and Mr McDougall said that the numbers of other game bird species, including black swan and paradise shelduck, appear to be on a par with previous seasons.

Hunters are encouraged to report banded birds they harvest to Fish and Game, with their contact details, the band number, and location and date it was recovered.

“This will assist mallard research programmes, and sustainable management of the species.”

THE new duck-hunting season looks to be shaping up as one of the best, with record numbers of ducks leading to an extended season this year.

Senior Fish and Game officer Matthew McDougall said going by the latest research into mallard duck numbers, game bird hunters in Fish and Game’s Eastern Region could expect one of the best hunting seasons for some time.

“We base this on duck numbers we’ve trapped over summer within the Eastern region, and banding data collected over a 20-year period.

“We trapped 1,500 ducks in total this year which is more than we have in any of the preceding years of trapping and banding.”

Fish and Game’s research, which has included aerial flyovers to estimate bird numbers, indicates a mallard population in the eastern region, which includes Gisborne, parts of Wairoa and Rotorua, to be between 350,000 and 450,000 birds.

Harvest regulations

Fish & Game’s harvest regulations were set according to estimated duck numbers, and this year’s region wide estimate corresponded to a six-week season and daily bag limit of eight birds.

“Bay of Plenty numbers are looking pretty good, while in the Gisborne /Wairoa region we’ve caught more ducks during our banding operations there than we have for many years.”

Last year, Gisborne hunters only had a four-week season to bag just six ducks. However, Mr McDougall said there were other changes that people should be aware of.

“This season a three-shot rule applies and hunters are required to plug their shotgun magazines so that the gun holds no more than two shots in the magazine and one in the breech, three shots in total."

The big game-bird hunting season starts next month and Mr McDougall said that the numbers of other game bird species, including black swan and paradise shelduck, appear to be on a par with previous seasons.

Hunters are encouraged to report banded birds they harvest to Fish and Game, with their contact details, the band number, and location and date it was recovered.

“This will assist mallard research programmes, and sustainable management of the species.”

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