Focus on safety this season

By Patrick O'Sullivan

From 6.15am on Saturday the game bird season starts.

Fish and Game are pushing safety and compliance this year, with increased patrols alongside police, who will be checking firearms laws are being followed.

"It's all about ensuring hunters are conscious of the laws involved with duck hunting and are following them correctly. Safety is also paramount to ensure everyone gets home safely to tell those yarns over the dinner table" said Fish & Game officer Tom Winlove.

He said a clarification was needed over the mallard ducks season (until June 30) and that the cock pheasant daily limit is two.

Hunters should study the region's rules in the regulation guide, he said.

This season will be a difficult one for some, due to drought conditions affecting populations.

"Some hunters simply don't have water at their usual hunting spots."

He said hunters should explore new areas that did have water. As ponds have dried up so have food sources, pushing birds to find new places so larger bodies of water are holding higher number of birds than normal.

Pheasant numbers should be in reasonable health, with dry weather suiting them.

Applications for balloted upland game forestry blocks are now open through Fish and Game.

Mr Winlove said upland hunters should share the experience.

"It's a good sport to show non-hunters or your partners, as it is a good walk for the fitness and great watching hunter and dog work together to put a meal on the table."

Hunters are encouraged to return band information to the Fish & Game office as soon as they are collected. The band number, location and date shot, along with hunter details, are all that are required and can be phoned in to Fish & Game.

The Gamebird Food Festival is running again this season and hunters are encouraged to take part.

Participating eateries are: Breckenridge Lodge, Ten Twenty Four and Vidal Restaurant and The Tuki Kitchen. The Tuki Kitchen chef Andy Glover will be giving a workshop on cooking duck on May 14 at the Farmhouse Kitchen, as part of the Winter F.A.W.C. festival.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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