Authorities happy with opening weekend

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Authorities were happy with the opening weekend of duck hunting season with a 97% compliance rate amongst hunters.

Police from around the region joined forces with Fish & Game rangers in the operation which involved checks on game bird hunters including hunting and firearm licences and safety measures.

Fish & Game officers were pleased to turn up very few offences by game bird hunters in the operation that took in the Rotorua lakes district, East Coast, Tauranga, Taupo, and the Rangitaiki Plains.

Fish & Game officer Anthony van Dorp said a total of 217 hunters in total were checked turning in only six offenders in total - four for hunting without a game bird hunting licence and two for illegal use of lead shot, which represented a 97-plus per cent compliance rate.

"We are grateful to the police for again joining us in the operation - the joint approach works very well."

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48 HOURS: Duck hunting opening weekend

"The great bulk of hunters must be congratulated for doing the right thing - buying their licences and hunting to the letter of the regulations, which, it must be remembered are there to ensure we have game bird populations to hunt in future," he said.

Mr van Dorp said it was particularly pleasing to see little alcohol in evidence among hunters.

"We have seen a huge improvement where drinking is concerned over recent years. It appears that the majority of hunters had taken on board the message that combining firearms and alcohol is a risk simply not worth taking."

He also reminded hunters not to leave spare firearms and ammunition in vehicles.

The fine dry weather made conditions hard for hunters and results were mixed. In some areas there were healthy numbers of mallards and hunters did well.

In the Gisborne region there were reasonable mallard bags, while further up the coast in the Tolaga Bay area mostly paradise shelduck were taken and some hunters achieved bag limits.

"Rather like fishing some do well game bird hunting and others don't," said Mr van Dorp.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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