New Zealand Game Birds.
Early European settlers introduced different species of Waterfowl and Upland Game birds for hunting. Only four species of Waterfowl established and of the upland game birds, only Californian Quail, Brown Quail, Chukor and Pheasant remain in huntable populations.
14 bird species may be seasonally hunted, and are known as game birds. They can be divided into Upland Game and Waterfowl. New Zealand should not be regarded as a volume shooting destination as for example many of the South American countries are. Rather it should be viewed as a place to collect some unique and beautiful Waterfowl. Normally hunters will take home a variety of excellent specimens for mounting. New Zealand Waterfowl can be very abundant and limits are generous so normally good to excellent hunting will be enjoyed.
New Zealand Waterfowl hunting
In New Zealand the Waterfowl hunting is an excellent, a stand-alone reason to come here. The Natural habitat for both the Upland Game birds and Waterfowl is spectacular. Endemic duck species (naturally not found anywhere else) are prized by collectors and include Paradise Shelducks (Tadorna Variegate), Pacific Black Ducks (Anas Superciliosa), Australian Shoveler’s (Anas Rhynchotis). Mallards and Canada Geese have thrived since introduction, as have Black Swans (Cygnus Atratus), since self-introduction from Australia, and comprise the bulk of the New Zealand Waterfowl hunting bag. Puekekos sometimes called blue pheasants, are native species that dwell along wetland margins and prized for the collector value.
Waterfowl (which live in wetland areas)
Waterfowl Hunting Season: Runs from the first weekend in May to the end of July.
Canada Goose: May – November and January -April: No limits
Paradise Shellduck: May -September and January-March: Bag limit 15-20/day.
Two men went duck hunting. Five hours passed with no luck. Finally, one of the men said to the other, “Maybe we ought to try throwing the dogs a little bit higher.”
Duck and Geese hunting in New Zealand is usually from comfortable Maimai, (blinds) either on land or water, with usually only 2 hunters per Maimai. Baiting is legal and feeding or roosting birds are enticed from air to pond, lake, paddock, river or stream, through quality calling and large spreads of decoys. (Though not always necessary because Waterfowl remain unpressured by hunting) and guns may be unplugged. Ducks and Geese in New Zealand are not following migratory paths, just flyways, so a guide is useful in putting the client on such highways through his local knowledge and experience and his access network of contacts. Jump shooting of waterways is also very successful. Fifteen to 30 waterfowl are a reasonable expectation,
Weapons and Shot
Shotguns can be semi auto, pump or double barrel. There is no limit on magazine capacity in pump or auto guns. 12 gauge is standard here but 10 gauge can be used for geese. Over water, non-toxic steel shot must be used, while on land 200 meters or more from water lead shot is still permitted. You may bring your own shotgun, but a selection of semi-automatic shotguns can be included in game-bird hunting hunting packages.
Hunting with dogs
To be shot legally, birds must be flying and within range (30–50 meters) of the hunter, who uses a shotgun. A well-trained and competently-handled gun dog is essential, as these birds rarely take to the wing unless flushed by a dog. Dogs should not move further than a hunter can fire at a flushed bird. The hunter needs to shoot within seconds of the bird flying up from ground cover in a whirr of wings – All of our guides have very experienced dogs.
Useful equipment for duck hunting includes chest waders and camouflaged clothing. Guides have decoys and dogs.
Protected Species (not hunted)
Grey Teal: This Australian duck was thought to have come to New Zealand last century. However, its bones have since turned up in centuries-old midden sites, suggesting a much earlier arrival. Their fondness for nesting in hollow trees has led sportsmen and women to put up thousands of nesting boxes to encourage an increase in numbers. However, grey teal numbers will have to be raised still further to justify a limited hunting season.
Scaup: New Zealand’s only diving species, the native Scaup, (also known as Black Teal), is a dumpy little duck common on clear water lakes such as those around Rotorua. Farm sediment has clouded many other lakes, causing Scaup to abandon them. “Streamcare” groups that aim to restore water quality may hold hope of the scaup’s eventual return. They have been protected since the 1930′s.
Blue Duck: This native New Zealand duck is a “torrent” species, at home on forest streams and rivers where it feeds among rocks on aquatic insects. Because of this specialized niche, Blue Duck have a flexible bill unique among the world’s many Wwaterfowl.