Great for duck-shooting - unpleasant for duck hunters.

That is how the weather is shaping up for much of Otago and Southland on the opening weekend of the duck hunting season.

A front is expected to hit Fiordland and the south coast about noon on Saturday, bringing heavy rain to parts of Fiordland and showers to Balclutha, Gore and Invercargill for much of the weekend.

Queenstown and Wanaka will be cloudy and windy on both days, while Alexandra, Dunedin and Oamaru can expect warm cloudy weather on Saturday, and some brief showers and light winds on Sunday.


Otago Fish & Game officer Nigel Pacey said recent bird counts had shown numbers of "Parrys, Mallards, swan and geese are very healthy across the region", and paired with the weather, he expected the opening weekend to be "first rate".

"Hunters now have to do their part to bag a few birds for the table."

Pacey said about 4000 game bird licences were expected to be sold before the season opened tomorrow morning.

Gun safety would be closely scrutinised again this year and teams of rangers would be out doing the normal compliance checks across the region, he said.

"All hunters are reminded of the new firearms laws, with no gun to be used that has a capacity of more than five shots in a fixed tubular magazine.

"There will be no real change for a majority of game bird hunters."

New Zealand Police Acting Superintendent Mike McIlraith reminded duck hunters to ensure they were up to speed with firearms safety before they went out this season.

"This includes refreshing yourself on the seven rules of firearm safety, and making sure you're familiar with your firearm and have inspected it, especially if it's been in secure storage since last season.


"The last thing we want is hunters facing serious injuries, or worse, because they weren't being careful with their firearm at all times.

"We know this year is going to be a little different with the new firearms laws and we want to make sure people are clear about the changes and what they mean for their hunting this season."

A video has been posted on the New Zealand Police website, which answers frequently asked questions and supports people in their understanding and compliance with the new laws.

He encouraged all game bird shooters to visit the website.

Additional police staff will be working with Fish & Game staff in Otago and Southland over the weekend, and will be taking an educational approach when engaging with shooters.

Federated Farmers environment spokesman Chris Allen reminded duck hunters that access to farms was a privilege, and encouraged them to leave gates "as you find them", control dogs and not to disturb stock.

"And with serious new [biological] threats such as Mycoplasma bovis, hunters need to ask land owners about any special requirements, particularly when driving between different properties."