6 May 2018

Quacker of a start for duck-shooting season

7:06 am on 6 May 2018

Duck-shooting season is off with a bang, with tens of thousands of people turning out across the country for the opening weekend.

050518 Photo: Richard Cosgrove / Fish & Game NZ
Opening Day of the 2018 water fowl season in Canterbury hunters in action on a pond in the Selwyn District

Photo: Fish & Game New Zealand

The season officially started at 6am yesterday and runs through until August.

Fish and Game's spokesperson Don Rood said hunters were on good behaviour and there were no reports of serious injury on day one.

"That's all credit to our licence holders for doing the right thing. We've been pushing the education message with them. Safety is the very first priority before anything else - no duck is worth a shooting accident."

In 2016, three people were accidentally shot at the beginning of the season.

Mr Rood said opening weekend was the most popular part of the season.

"We sell around 40,000 hunting licences a year and most of those are used on opening weekend, so there would have been tens of thousands of people out there today."

He said it was a chance for "die-hard" hunters to get back into it, and for those who hunt recreationally to meet up with friends.

"This is the one date in the calendar where traditionally through generation after generation people have come and got together and gone out duck-hunting."

"In some regions it's so popular they cancel all the club rugby... in places like Waverley and that part of Taranaki they often hold the club games on the Friday night because they know no one will be turning up on Saturday, as they'll all be out duck-hunting"

He said there had been no serious reports of protests held by animal-rights activists.

"People on the most part in New Zealand look on duck-hunting - those that don't do it - with a bit of mild bemusement but those who do do it, really enjoy it."

"People have a right to protest we accept that and we have a right to do what we're doing."

All hunters must carry both a game bird hunting licence and a firearm licence.