Thousands of enthusiastic hunters hit the ponds, rivers, and lakes of Bay of Plenty in pursuit of ducks at the weekend.
A Fish and Game Eastern Region release said hunters in the greater Rotorua and Bay of Plenty areas were greeted with less than ideal, clear weather conditions for the opening.
Gisborne and the East coast started the day with perfect, wet, and windy weather for duck hunting. Fine clear skies make tough work for duck hunters, as birds tend to fly high and be more cautious, the release said.
Despite the conditions, many hunters around the region met with success, although duck numbers were generally down on previous seasons.
Around the Gisborne area, mallard and grey duck numbers were low with many farm ponds being dry.
"Some locations shot quite well, whereas others struggled with low bird numbers and testing conditions," Eastern Fish and Game manager Andy Garrick said.
"When it's tough, hunters have to work a little harder and longer to get the results they're after. Hopefully, weather conditions will be a bit more favourable for hunting as the season progresses."
Some locations throughout the Eastern Fish and Game regions also suffered from low water due to a dry autumn period.
At times like these, it's often the permanent water bodies such as large lakes and rivers that tend to attract more ducks.
Teams of rangers, assisted by the police, were active throughout the region and reported good compliance levels.
Several new regulations have come into force over the last few seasons and hunters have generally accepted these new rules well.
Three hunters had their firearms seized by Fish and Game rangers, one because he was hunting without a licence and the others because their guns hadn't been restricted to hold no more than two rounds in the magazine.
Rangers were pleased to see a number of family groups enjoying the weekend. Duck hunting is a tradition that goes back more than 100 years in New Zealand with some families sharing time together to put healthy food on their tables.
The mallard and grey duck season runs until May 30 in the Eastern Region, whereas pheasant and quail can be hunted until August 29.