Some "outstanding" hunting is in store for game bird hunters when the new season opens on Saturday if the weather plays its part, according to Fish and Game.

The season kicks off on May 4, with some regions in both North and South islands anticipating their best seasons for some time.

Fish and Game communications advisor Richard Cosgrove said that rain that had fallen over large parts of the country in recent weeks topped up dam and pond levels after a hot summer and restored river flows.

In the Auckland/Waikato region Fish and Game field staff are reporting healthy duck numbers.


Staff in the region say that it had been a great season for mallard breeding.

"All that rain that was cursed before Christmas meant a very prolonged breeding season for the ducks in Auckland/Waikato Region," Cosgrove said.

King Country paradise shelduck populations are healthy, just below the threshold used to consider holding special shelduck seasons.

Cosgrove said that Fish and Game has made every effort to make every licence holder aware of how they are affected by the new firearms laws.

Fish and Game had already noted that there will be no real change for the majority of game bird hunters "as a case was successfully and sensibly made to retain semi-auto and pump shotguns for game bird hunting," he said.

Game bird hunters can use these firearms so long as their internal magazines only hold five shots.

Fish and Game hopes that by now every hunter is completely familiar with the new firearms laws - and what they need to do to comply, Cosgrove said.

"We have used the channels of newsletters and online postings, in particular, to spell out to our licence holders as concisely as possible details of the new laws.


"We have also pushed the message that hunters need to be extra sensitive to the public's reactions - so they are super aware of how they transport firearms, and how people nearby might react if they hear shots," Cosgrove said.