Shooters bag ducks in 'disgusting' weather

BRIDGET RAILTON AND JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 05/05/2014
duck shooting
ROBYN EDIE/ Fairfax NZ
OLD SCHOOL: Ginge Burnett with sons Josh, 13, left, and Ben Burnett, 11, and friend Sam Thornbury at their old-school basic maimai on their Waimatua property on duckHunting nteshooting opening morning.

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It's Murphy's law really. The one weekend all of Southland was hoping for drizzle, they were drenched in sunshine.

Despite the "disgusting" weather, duckshooting opening weekend started on a positive note.

Phil Norman, who shoots each year at a pond in Mokoreta, Eastern Southland, said this year was probably on par with previous years for duck numbers, but the fine weather was "disgusting".

He and his crew of five others, who have been shooting together for nine years, bagged a total of 53 ducks across two ponds. But it was not about the numbers.

For them, opening weekend was more about having fun with the boys, he said.

"It's awesome to have a weekend away with your mates. It's tradition."

Scott Findlay, of Wanaka, echoed those sentiments.

He and five others, including his 13-year-old son Gregor, make the "annual pilgrimage" from towns around the South Island for opening weekend.

One companion even hitch-hiked from Christchurch one year so he wouldn't miss the opening, he said. Their duck tally was slightly down on last year, but they put that down to "average shooting", he said.

"We missed most of the ducks."

From a police perspective, opening weekend was a success.

Southland area commander Inspector Lane Todd said there were no incidents in the Southland area from duckshooting, which was fantastic.

Police had extra patrols to cover the weekend and he was not aware of any issues, he said.

While Southland was incident-free, Otago's opening weekend had one bum note.

A duckshooter is nursing minor gunshot wounds to his backside and one leg, inflicted while shooting with friends.

Acting Sergeant Feleki Uhrle said the man was with three friends at Paradise Valley in Glenorchy on Saturday when the incident happened.

"He claims some pellets ricocheted off something and hit him."

St John Ambulance spokesman Ian Henderson said they were alerted at 6.05pm to the incident, and an ambulance was sent to the Glenorchy Hotel.

"I don't know if this is where the incident had happened. However, this is where the patient was located."

The man, in his 40s, had minor wounds, he said.

"From what I can tell, the incident had happened earlier in the day. However, an ambulance wasn't called until some time later. The patient was assessed at the scene but we didn't transport him anywhere as his injuries were minor."

Queenstown police are investigating the incident.

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