by Greta Yeoman
A successful duck-shooting season is coming to a close, a Fish and Game spokesman says.
Central South Island Fish and Game officer Rhys Adams said the season for shooting mallards and grey duck, which accounted for about 80% of bird game, was set to finish on July 30, after starting on May 6.
He said Fish and Game officers had only found four people hunting without licences in South Canterbury during the season and it had been a group of “mates” who had decided to risk not buying a licence on the first day of the season.
Penalties for hunting without a licence could result in a fine of up to $5000, the confiscation of their guns and jail time, he said.
The low number of unlicensed hunters had made it a “pretty good” season, Mr Adams said.
Fish and Game had sold about 2400 licences for South Canterbury, but a lot of these were to visitors who came from the North Island for the good hunting conditions.
“[It is] quite a popular region for visitors,” Mr Adams said.
Although the season had got off to a slow start, hunters being on a rate of about “one mallard an hour”, it had “certainly improved” during the past few months, he said.
People had been shooting between four and 20 mallards in an outing, meaning that a quick trip out after work was often successful, he said.
But 10% of duck-shooters were returning empty-handed, he said.
Keen hunters could still set their sights on paradise shellducks until the end of September, but only west of State Highway 1.
Quail and pheasant could be shot until August 28.