Eastern Fish & Game is pleased the majority of hunters stuck to the rules during the opening of the new game bird season, but several others may face fines or prosecution.

Fish & Game Eastern Region manager Andy Garrick said there were reasonable numbers of hunters out over the weekend and the vast majority were doing the "right thing".

"They ranged from family groups to new hunters enjoying the outdoor recreation and camaraderie that hunting provides, as well as harvesting wild game for the table."

Fish & Game rangers joined forces with police officers to check compliance and spoke to about 200 hunters in total including 45 in the Gisborne district and 18 in the Wairoa area.


"All hunters spoken to had current game bird licences, and were all found to be complying with the new firearm laws," Garrick said.

"Pleasingly, overall only a small number of relatively minor offences were found, with breaches of the three-shot rule the most common.

"Seven hunters were using guns which hadn't been pinned to restrict magazine capacity to only two shots as required under Eastern Region regulations," he said.

Six hunters at five locations were either using unpinned guns or in possession of lead shot ammunition in breach of the ban on possessing or using lead shot within 200 metres of open water.

Fish & Game rangers also seized a shotgun from another alleged offender in the Bay of Plenty, Garrick said.

Disappointingly, of the offences detected, most were located within the Gisborne and Wairoa districts, he said.

"The circumstances surrounding each case will be considered and actions could include the hunters being prosecuted," Garrick said.

The game bird season for mallards will continue until June 3 for Eastern and Auckland/Waikato regions, and June 16 for Hawke's Bay.


Any hunters planning to harvest game birds are again urged to check the regulations booklet before venturing out.