Danger to shooting ducks by jet-boat

By Mark Price of the Otago Daily Times

The Clutha River runs out of Lake Wanaka. Photo / Supplied
The Clutha River runs out of Lake Wanaka. Photo / Supplied

A long-standing practice of shooting ducks from jet-boats drifting down Clutha River has been labelled dangerous.

A Wanaka river-user who does not want to be named says he is concerned for his own safety when boats drift past him with duck shooters on board.

On Sunday, he was on the river bank, in "deep shade" beneath a willow tree, and was wearing dark clothing.

He believed he was not visible to a boat load of duck shooters, and while no shots were fired in his vicinity, he felt "quite panicked" that ducks might fly up between himself and the boat.

He considered there was "potential for disaster" with more boats "cruising quietly" down the river.

"They see a duck; bang, bang, bang and they don't see what is [beyond the duck]

"The ducks might be 50m away but the shot can go another 100 or 200m."

Otago Fish and Game officer Cliff Halford told the Otago Daily Times yesterday shooting from drifting boats was a long-standing and legal practice on the Clutha River between lakes Wanaka and Dunstan.

But with improved public access to the river, including new cycle tracks, it was "becoming a bit more difficult".

"It's just unfortunate sometimes historical users [such as duck shooters] can get shoved out of the way. It is really quite disappointing."

He knew of no incidents of anyone being injured through that form of hunting. He considered it was up to individual duck shooters to be responsible firearms users "knowing there could be anglers on the river, or walkers or bikers".

- Otago Daily Times

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