A lot of hunters were worried there would be no duck shooting season at all this year - so despite an unproductive opening day they were happy to finally get out.
The season got under way on Saturday, delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown and following alert level restrictions, with Eastern Fish and Game expecting smaller duck numbers to be recorded on opening weekend as hunters faced testing conditions.
And while most were well behaved, there were some who had guns seized, were hunting without a licence or dangerous behaviour.
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Fish and Game Eastern Region manager Andy Garrick said overall results were a "mixed bag". While he had heard from Bay of Plenty duck hunters who had a successful weekend, Garrick expects game hunter surveys to reveal a slow opening weekend.
"There are probably a couple of reasons for that. A dry spring followed by a dry autumn is just not conducive to productivity and I think the bird population was depressed as a result of that. You've got to have a good breeding season to have a good hunting season," Garrick said.
"The other thing with those dry conditions is a lot of wetlands and farm ponds just don't have water in them. That makes it hard and on top of that, parts of Bay of Plenty, particularly south of Rotorua and inland, had a lot of fog on Saturday morning."
Garrick said most hunters in the Eastern region were well behaved and followed all the safety and firearms rules.
"We had some incidents where we seized guns. We had a couple of people who didn't have a hunting licence and a couple of issues with semi-automatic shotguns in which the magazines weren't restricted.
"We also had an incident with hunting from a boat under power on the Waikato River. We find that really disappointing, it's obviously a temptation for some but it's a dangerous pastime as well as not sporting."
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But most were responsible, happy to be out hunting.
"It was very clear to us that a lot of hunters were concerned there would be no season at all so they were just over the moon to get out there. While it wasn't as productive as we all might've liked, we didn't encounter a hunter who had any issues with it which is always encouraging.
"The tradition and experience is a big part of it. A lot of people only get together once a year just for that very purpose - the hunting is one element of it, getting birds to eat is another, but certainly a major element is the camaraderie."
Among those out hunting was Rotorua's Shane Leon Wells who took his 5-year-old son Jayden Wells along for the first time.
"He loved it, absolutely loved it. I skipped the last two seasons for work and all that but it just seemed to fall into place this year.
"Our mate has a big private farm with three average-sized ponds so we were lucky enough to hitch a ride with him. I got five with five shots and one in the afternoon."
He said he learned to hunt ducks from his dad and he believed it was a good skill for children to learn.
"It's better than being inside on the Playstation. It's a good time and it teaches kids skills, gets them outside. We're all family orientated out that way, in Ngakuru, so everyone gets along."