Paradise shelduck in duck hunters' sights

By Ilona Hanne

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Fish & Game has declared a special two-weekend hunting season for paradise shelduck to help farmers disperse flocks which can damage pastures and crops.

The first weekend is Saturday and Sunday, February 27 and 28 and the second is March 5 and 6 in Taranaki and Whanganui Game Management Areas only. Hunting hours on the four days are from 6.30am until 8pm. The daily bag limit is 10 paradise shelduck per hunter.

Fish & Game officer Allen Stancliff says the aim is to disperse the ducks, moving them back to their home territories after they collected for their annual moult.

"This reduces the potential for mobs to cause damage to recovering hay paddocks, chicory crops and areas of new grass before the main game bird hunting season gets underway in May."

Hunters who want to take part must hold a 2015 game bird hunting licence and obtain a $5 permit from Fish & Game or a local gamebird licence agent. The permit is free to land occupiers who want to hunt their own land but they still need a permit.

The special March season applies to paradise shelduck only, and all other game birds remain protected. Fish & Game rangers will be out checking on compliance over the four days.

"This is a great opportunity for some enjoyable summer hunting that helps farmer. All we ask is that hunters stick to the rules."

Breaches, including shooting protected species or more than the bag limit, or possessing 12-gauge lead shot within 200m of water, can lead to stiff fines and the loss of gear. Penalties include a maximum fine of $5000 and possible forfeiture of shotguns and hunting equipment which would wreck an otherwise great day.

"Also please remember that hunters need permission to hunt on private land - don't forget to ask the landowner."

- Stratford Press

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