With the duck shooting season in their sights, some hunters are counting down the days to one of their favourite times of the year.

The 2019 season gets under way on Saturday, when many of the region's 1000 or so duck hunters will be looking to bag a bird.

Fish and Game Taranaki/Whanganui manager Glenn Maclean says it's a very exciting time for spending time outdoors.

"It's certainly an activity and time that keen hunters look forward to from one year to the next.


"For some hunters it's up there with Christmas in terms of anticipation."

Game bird license sales have been tracking similarly to recent years, but Maclean said it can be common to see a rush before opening day.

"Typically many hunters leave it to the last week to get a license, but lots of the hunting in Whanganui is done on private land so there's no need to tag your maimai to ensure you have it.

"It's tagging the maimai that is often the reason hunters get in earlier so they can get a tag and get it on there."

Maclean said it's not hard to see why duck shooting is popular among the Whanganui and Taranaki hunting fraternity.

"For many hunters it's a time of year that friends all come together and it might be the only time in the year that old friends catch up.

"The whole weekend is a much wider experience for many hunters than just hunting."

When it comes to Saturday, Maclean says there should be plenty birds but it'll be a question of whether they show up.


"We've had several years of good duck breeding because of the wet springs that we've had, rightly so some hunters are anticipating some reasonable shooting.

"The weather will play a big part, it's looking like it'll be another calm opening weekend that allows many of the ducks to sit at places where they're quite safe.

"It might be that the weather will be helpful to the ducks rather than the hunters but that's all part of it."

The Mallard/Grey duck, and Paradise shelduck season closes on June 30.

The California quail, Pukeko and Cock pheasant season closes on August 25.