Reports that duck shooters had jumped the gun resulted in a warning for a Hawke's Bay pigeon shooter.

Police responded to a report of duck shooters at Clive Estuary at 8.15 am on Sunday, only to find shots were being fired at feral pigeons.

Police attended the callout with a Fish and Game New Zealand representative.

A police spokeswoman said one person was given a warning as they were shooting from public land which is prohibited.


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Two other people were shooting on private land and had the permission of the landowner.

Hunting feral pigeons on private land is permitted under Level 3 of the Covid 19 lockdown.

Hawke's Bay Fish and Game rangers were out this weekend - the first Saturday in May is traditionally the start of duck shooting season - to check hunters were not shooting early.

The game bird season will open on the second Saturday after Alert Level 2 is introduced.

The exception would be if the second Saturday fell on Queen's Birthday weekend (May 30-June1) to avoid a clash with Moving Day on June 1, when farming stock is annually moved between farms.

Hawke's Bay Fish and Game Field Officer Nick Page said it was good to see no breaches of the delayed start of the duck shooting season.

"Hunters will be looking forward to the gamebird season and it is great that everyone will have an opportunity to hunt ducks this season after we get to level 2.''


Hawke's Bay Fish and Game monitoring indicated there were good numbers of mallards and paradise ducks this year.

Meanwhile, Page urged hunters to support local businesses

"Hawke's Bay hunters can now pick up supplies for the coming season from their favourite local hunting shop, although it's best to ring ahead".

Gamebird licences can also be bought via the Fish and Game website or in your local hunting store.

Meanwhile, potential duck shooting shots may have been fired in Central Hawke's Bay.

John McCormick, who lives near the Hatuma settlement south west of Waipukurau, said he heard shots between 4pm and 4.30pm on Saturday then three rounds of shots from more than one gun at 5.30pm from northwest of the Hatuma settlement beyond the Hatuma hills east of SH50.