Special hunting season for paradise shelducks

JILL GALLOWAY
Last updated 11:45 05/02/2014
Paradise Shelducks
Fairfax NZ
SPECIAL SEASON: A special two-week season will seek to reduce paradise shelduck numbers in the Wellington, Wairarapa and Manawatu regions.

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Game bird hunters are being asked to help farmers disperse big flocks of paradise shelducks from paddocks and crops on private land.

A special two-week [three-weekend] hunting season which starts this Saturday is being held in the Wellington region, which includes the Manawatu and Wairarapa areas.

Wellington Fish & Game regional manager Phil Teal said the special season had been introduced to help landowners who had groups of birds starting to feed on new grass and crops.

He said it was the third time the special season had been held.

"In January and February, after the shelducks moult, they mob up into flocks of 200 and look for food and that causes problems for farmers." Crops and newly planted grass often stood out to paradise shelducks as good food.

"This year we are restricting the season to private land only because that is where they do the most economic damage," Mr Teal said. "This will hopefully focus efforts on areas where there are potential problems for crops caused by large numbers of birds."

Public areas, including Conservation and Fish & Game land such as Lake Wairarapa, would not be open during the special season.

"Putting this special season in place demonstrates another way in which Fish & Game and hunters are working in good faith with landowners and local rural communities," Mr Teal said.

He said duck numbers were about the same as in previous years, but the mobbing up could cause a headache for farmers.

The special hunting season is open to all 2013 licensed game bird hunters from February 8 to 23, with a five birds per day limit. New licences are available.

"A five-bird limit is minimal, but it does create a disturbance for the birds, and they usually go down to smaller numbers of two to 10 and so cause less damage."

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