Wairarapa duck hunters awaiting the season opener on Saturday have plenty of reasons to believe it could be a profitable day for them but one big variable remains -- the weather.

According to Fish & Game regional manager Phil Teal bird populations in the prime hunting areas are strong thanks to a good breeding season, although birds tend to be more concentrated than usual as they seek open-water areas.

Coupled with promising numbers is an extended season with mallards able to be hunted for eight weeks, as opposed to six weeks last season, and shooters able to bag up to eight birds each a day -- two more than last year. For paradise ducks the season has been extended to 10 weeks and the bag limit to 10 birds. As always the weather will play the biggest part in opening weekend success.

Rain is forecast for tomorrow and Friday but the skies are expected to lighten for Saturday and Sunday.


Mr Teal said because birds were concentrated near open water and avoiding other parts, some shooters would find the hunting to be good "and others could be in for a more skinny time" although many hunters setting up their maimai had reported "positive bird populations".

Be safe around guns

Fish & Game wanted to remind hunters to take care and be sensible when shooting.

They should follow the seven basic rules when using firearms:

Treat every firearm as loaded

Always point firearms in a safe direction

Load a firearm only when ready to fire

Identify your target

Check your firing zone

Store firearms and ammunition safely

Avoid alcohol or drugs when handling firearms