Home' Otago Southland Farmer : April 19th 2013 Contents 14
66 BAY ROAD, INVERCARGILL
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Duck Hunting Advertising Feature
History and species
The popularity of duck shooting
has never really waned in rural
areas like Southland, and the
tradition has a long and venerable
history stretching back to pre-
With the arrival of early European
settlers came introduced wildfowl and
other game birds, although not all
became naturalised as a matter of
However, the acclimatisation societies
of the 1860s onwards, encouraged and
aided by the Protection of Certain
Animals Act 1861, systematically
imported, managed and, later,
protected wildfowl and other animals
Today, the mallard is the most
common duck in New Zealand, but this
wasn't always the case.
From 1867 repeated, unsuccessful,
attempts were made to acclimatise
English game farm stock.
In the 1930s and 40s, however, eggs
from San Francisco came in wicker
baskets on board flying boats, the
hatchlings from which spread rapidly
and successfully throughout the
Today there are about 4.5 million
mallards, so many, in fact, they can
sometimes become a nuisance.
Resultantly, the mallard is the mainstay
of the duck hunter's bag.
The commonly seen paradise duck, or
''parry'', is New Zealand's only shelduck
(gooselike duck) but, when the country
was first settled by Europeans, it was
The conversion of bush to pasture, and
the widespread creation of stock
ponds, many subsidised by hunters'
licence fees, has helped numbers to
Although abundant right across the
province, northern Southland provides
the best paradise duck hunting in the
Canadian geese, or ''Honkers'' were
first introduced from the USA as a gift
from President Theodore Roosevelt.
This is the wariest of all waterfowl and
the hunter's most challenging target.
Southland has a healthy Canadian
goose population with most being
found in the Te Anau Basin and along
the coastal fringe where they seek out
the large water bodies they use for
resting and refuge.
Whatever ends up in your bag this
season though: have fun, and safe
The season ahead - an expert view
Despite the anxious situation in the North Island,
where persistent drought conditions have led
to a slashing of the 2013 duck-hunting season,
Southland hunters can rest easy.
Those with their nose to the ground, like Invercargill
Hunting & Fishing's Mike Stent, say this year is
looking like another bountiful harvest for the
unfailingly popular sport.
''Southland's looking pretty good,'' Mike said last
''Bird numbers are good, with several pairs double
clutching this season to give an extra boost to what's
available out there.''
Concerns over low water levels were premature, Mike
''I know a few people have been worried about the
lack of water in some places, but most customers are
pretty optimistic everything will come right by
opening weekend,'' he said.
For many the joy of duck hunting comes from its
camaraderie, and the chance for a once-a-year catch-
up with usually far flung family and friends.
It's always nice to bag a few ducks, mind.
To that end, Mike is recommending a fresh look at
some of the innovations coming onto the market
with the aim of boosting this year's catch.
''The world of decoys has made leaps and bounds in
recent years, so if yours are looking a bit tired, now
could be the time to explore the latest options,'' he
''You've got to invest for success.''
With today's static decoys employing a far wider
variety of positions for the ultimate in persuasive
realism, innovative new water-movement decoys
were also taking the market by storm.
''There are ranges from Wonder Duck and Twin
Tornado that can give life to ponds, especially in still
weather,'' Mike said.
Equally vital was appropriate safety and camouflage
''Obviously it's important to have good hearing
protection, warm gear, and ensure your hands and
face are covered. Don't forget the basics.''
Mike, who divides his time between Taupo and
Invercargill, said Southland hunters should count
''We're incredibly well off for birds down here. I'm
hoping people will get out and make the most of it
come May 4.''
For further information visit
Alcohol and guns DO NOT mix
A big problem with duck shooters in Southland is mixing alcohol and shooting. This is a definite no
no. If you are going to drink, lock your firearms away in an approved lock-up. This does not mean
locking them in your vehicle while you are at the pub. If you are caught with firearms in an
unattended vehicle this is a breach of the Firearms Regulations and you will likely have your firearms
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