Wet summer bodes well for hunters

EMMA GOODWIN
Last updated 12:00 04/05/2012
Jerry and Russell Tocker
LEILANI HATCH/Fairfax NZ

GET YOUR EYE IN: Duck-hunting season opens tomorrow and there is an outdoor larder full of waterfowl that could be destined for Jerry and Russell Tocker's pot.

Duck shooting

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The recent wet weather could mean a bumper year for Manawatu hunters when the duck shooting season begins tomorrow.

Hunting and Fishing sports shop owner Kerry Macdonald said the word among hunters coming to his Palmerston North store was that there would be plenty of ducks to be had because of the wet summer.

"There are more ducks around than in recent years and they are big birds too.

"It's not been a case of more than average hatching, it's more a case of good survival rates."

Mr Macdonald said business had been brisk as hunters, new and experienced, were buying ammunition and new gear.

The wet weather theory was backed by Wellington Fish and Game regional manager Phil Teal, who said the prospects were good, with the duck population faring well. "Weather that isn't good for camping over summer is good for ducks, and it's been pretty wet in the lower North Island," he said.

Mr Teal said hunting success depended on where the ducks had settled.

"The season start will now depend on how the birds are dispersed following an extended period of fine weather."

Survival rates could also be put down to successful pest control programmes too, Mr Macdonald said.

Most of the birds would have been born last August, though some new season birds will be the result of a second round of hatching in December.

Waterfowl, such as mallard duck, paradise duck, pukeko and shoveller, are all fair game, as are swans and canada geese.

Mr Macdonald said the wilier older birds would be noticing there was more action around the watercourses and would probably head for refuge.

"The coast is often used as a refuge and you can find them there in high numbers after the season starts."

The waterfowl season starts on Saturday and continues until the end of June, with some species extending beyond this date.

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- Manawatu Standard

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