With a good game bird hunting season predicted, duck shooters are being urged to buy their licence online ahead of time.

The 2018 game bird season opens on Saturday, May 5, and hunters must have a game bird hunting licence.

However, Fish & Game New Zealand says in previous years most licence sales have been the day before opening day.

"Hunters are notorious for leaving their licence purchase to the last minute," Fish & Game policy manager Robert Sowman said.

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"More game licences get sold in the last days before opening morning than any other time of the year. Unfortunately, that can mean long queues of hunters at sports shops waiting to buy their licence."

He recommends hunters buy their licence online on the Fish & Game website. An adult licence costs $94 and a junior licence is $21.

Hunters should also familiarise themselves with the rules for the region they are planning to hunt in.

"The rules are different depending on which region you are hunting in, so you need to read the regulation book you get when buying a licence," Sowman said.

Sowman said everyone who bought a hunting licence was helping to improve wildlife habitat.

"For a licence to be valid, it must display a habitat stamp. The money raised from stamp sales goes toward protecting and saving wetlands.

"These places are fast disappearing so saving them provides great habitat for native birds and fish, as well as game birds.

"The best bit is you don't have to be a hunter to buy one. If you care about saving wildlife habitat, then buy a habitat stamp safe in the knowledge that the money helps fund many worth environmental projects."

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The game bird season runs until August 26.