D-day for Bonniedoone blokes hunting ducks
Poll: As the sun rises across a frosty southern landscape tomorrow thousands of people will be up to greet it.
Peering furtively from behind camouflaged visages and armed with shotguns, duck callers, and a sense of camaraderie southern men - and women - are ready. It's D-day. Duck hunting opening.
Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated weekend on the southern calendar begins tomorrow.
For many, the joy is in the bragging rights, but if you can't get the ducks, you might as well be comfortable.
That's the attitude of one southern syndicate anyway.
Nathan Sloan, Warren Ross, Dave Campbell, Nathan Smith, Harman Singh and Chris Campbell, from as far afield as Clyde, Riverton and Wyndham, come together each year for duck shooting.
A 20 foot (6 metre) shipping container, expanded over the years to become what's affectionately known as "Bonniedoone" - though no-one's 100 per cent sure of the spelling - is the crowning glory of the six blokes, who have been shooting together for 10 years.
Complete with sound system, flush toilet, pressure hot water, fridge, an indoor barbecue and, of course, crude artwork, it's the perfect man-cave, in their humble opinion.
They have even had a couple of strippers out there, as well as two stag do's.
And though they have a "to do" list that's been rolling on since they moved to their new location four years ago, they say they are all ready to go for this weekend.
The six will be camping out from 9am Friday till Sunday afternoon to get the most out of opening weekend.
Southland Fish & Game manager Maurice Rodway said based on the number of licences issued and estimates of private land shooters, there would be about 8000 people out in the region for opening weekend.
Mallard numbers were slightly down on last year, but there were still plenty of opportunities to get a bird or two, he said. The weather was looking to be calm and clear like last year, which wasn't ideal, and hunters would need to be on their game.
Fish & Game rangers would be out in force too, ensuring people were complying with rules and operating in a safe manner.
The Southland Times