Opening day won't be quite the same for the Hilton-Jones mob next year.
They'll be back at Lake Waipareira, north of Waiharara, but two of the Old Guns, Russell Hilton-Jones and Mate Radich, will be sleeping in.
They called it quits this weekend, leaving the maimai to the younger generation.
The ducks might be pleased to see the last of Russell, who has a pretty good eye, but Mate confessed in a rare moment of candour that he had never anything with feathers great cause for concern. Show him a barn and it's a similar story.
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One of this year's mob, John Stewart, who went undercover for the Northland Age, said he and his mates bagged "a good feed" over the weekend, plenty of paradise ducks but mallards were few and far between, and there were no swans on the lake at all.
That delighted Murray Hilton-Jones, he said, who had never been an especially enthusiastic plucker.
Beautifully fine weather had sided with the ducks, he added, but he wasn't entirely sure that Mate had retired.
"He hasn't submitted his written resignation yet," he said, "and until he does it's only rumour."
"Mind you, if he doesn't come next year we won't notice much difference. He usually disappears at the most productive moments, saying he has to go and feed his pigs."