Special game bird hunt

Auckland / Waikato Fish & Game staff are alerting locals who live north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge to a special game bird hunt that will run over a weekend.

The Auckland / Waikato Fish and Game Council is holding its annual special paradise shelduck season on the weekend of the 24th and 25th of February.

Northern Game Bird Manager John Dyer says people shouldn’t be alarmed if they hear shots fired that weekend starting from around 6.30am on Saturday.

“It’s likely to be licensed game bird hunters chasing paradise shelducks off farmers’ crops and paddocks,” he says.

Mr Dyer says its not a cull as such – the intention is to disturb larger groups of parries and break them up to reduce their potential for damage to crops.

“Naturally hunters will be able to keep and eat what they shoot, but the daily limit of 10 birds per hunter per day for the two days only will be strictly enforced.

”Not everyone gets 10 birds, of course,” he adds.

Mr Dyer says that hunters are reminded that the rules which apply in the main game bird hunting season apply equally to the special parrie season.

Steel shot is strictly required around waterways (not lead shot), and shotgun magazines must be restricted to three shots in total, no exceptions. Rangers will be patrolling throughout the area.

Mr Dyer says that land occupiers, (meaning the occupier, their spouse and one son or daughter only – a maximum of three people) do not need a game bird hunting licence if they are only hunting on their own land.

However any visitors do need a 2017 season licence, which is still valid for the special season.

“ If they didn’t buy a licence last year, they can obtain a two day licence ($21), to cover them for the weekend.”

Mr Dyer says that the new 2018/19 game bird season licences will not be on sale until after the weekend special season so they don’t apply.

In addition to a valid 2017 licence, all hunters, including land occupiers, must have a permit, available from the Hamilton Office of Fish & Game.

There is a nominal cost-recovery fee of $5. Just email aucklandwaikato@fishandgame.org.nz for direct credit bank details.

The permits include hunter-return forms so that Fish & Game staff can monitor the harvest.

Staff also monitor parrie populations using aerial flights, ground counts and hunter checks to ensure harvests are sustainable, but bird numbers are also controlled.

“It is about striking a balance, ” Mr Dyer says.

He says it’s important that hunters note that Northland Fish & Game Region is holding special paradise shelduck season on the same weekend but with a different limit of 20 birds and somewhat different conditions (outlined in the 2017 Gamebird Regulation booklet).

The irregular boundary between the two regions runs from just south of Mangawhai to Wellsford, and then roughly due west through Tapora. A map of this boundary is available online or from contacting either Fish & Game Council office.

In both regions the permits issued also allow pukeko to be controlled.

Mr Dyer says that once again, this provides some control over what can be, if unregulated, “a very damaging species that damages many crops and eats the eggs and young of other native and introduced species.”

Eating them is optional, but they’re not be as bad to eat as their reputation suggests, he adds.

Further Information: John Dyer, Northern Game Bird Manager. Phone 09 832 1724 or Mob: 0210 243 0015


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