Duck shooters will head to their maimai in droves for the start of the season this weekend and Federated Farmers is urging them to stay safe.
The start of the duck shooting season is a time of excitement for duck shooters, and the delayed start to the season because of Covid-19 has only added to the anticipation. With 40,000 hunters participating across the country, it is also the weekend when most game bird hunting accidents happen.
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"Over 40 per cent of duck shooting accidents occur on the opening weekend. All hunters, experienced or not, need to stop and take time to think about safety," said Federated Farmers firearms spokesperson Miles Anderson.
"With excited hunters operating in the dark in a confined space there is always potential for an accident. Many hunters won't have had a chance to shoot a round of clays this season, and with all the focus on Covid-19 management it is easy to forget about basic firearms handling safety."
It is not only about personal health and safety, many hunters are also recreating on a working farm. Hunters with dogs must dose them for worms at least 48 hours before entering a property to prevent the spread of sheep measles, and check their equipment for any weeds, seeds or other forms of biological contamination.
For those hunting on private land it is important to remember that it is a privilege, and to always consider the wishes of the landowner. Hunters must have permission to hunt, regardless of who owns the land - no permission, no access.
"This time of the year is eagerly anticipated by duck shooters and landowners and we want everyone to enjoy themselves, respect the farm they are shooting on, and come back safe to their families and communities," Anderson said.