Sport to enjoy, even when you're out for a duck

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 05/05/2014
Taranaki hunter Howard Bracegirdle, with his retriever Marley, and father and son hunters Les and Rio Martin

TOTAL QUACKERS: Taranaki hunter Howard Bracegirdle, with his retriever Marley, and father and son hunters Les and Rio Martin co-operated to bag their share of birds over the opening weekend of duck season.

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Some turn it into salami but Rio Martin reckons you can't go past cashew masala when it comes to dealing with a duck.

Rio was one of hundreds of Taranaki hunters who bagged a bird or two on the opening weekend of duck season.

Together with his father Les and friend Howard Bracegirdle, the trio's two-day haul was a heavy sack of mallards, greys and paradise ducks.

"I like cutting it up and making a cashew masala. Or butter chicken, or tikka masala.

"It has a lot more flavour than chicken," Rio said.

With large numbers of ducks around in the weeks leading up to opening weekend, most hunters went home with a bird despite patches of fine weather making shooting conditions less than perfect.

Methods of enticing ducks to fields and ponds include old school decoys and high-tech electronic callers able to mimic all manner of bird species and their calls.

"I prefer the manual callers," said Les.

"The trouble is, if you don't know how to use them properly, you can end up scaring them away."

In two days shooting the group combined shooting along creeks with sitting in their maimai to get their prey.

Much praise was heaped on their retriever dogs, which sniffed out hiding ducks and grabbed those that fell into the water.

Taranaki Fish and Game field officer Allen Stancliff said the generally fine, calm weather gave the ducks the edge on opening weekend.

Unfortunately no-one seemed to have told paradise ducks of this advantage with the obnoxiously loud quackers shot in large numbers, Stancliff said.

Fish and Game wardens checked 150 hunters to ensure they carried hunting licences and were sticking to the steel shot rule.

All complied, Stancliff said.

He said as far as he was aware there were no incidents of hunters being injured by firearms in Taranaki.

One man was arrested in the Wairarapa yesterday and charged with careless use of a firearm causing injury. The arrest followed an incident where a 44-year-old duck hunter was shot in the elbow near Masterton on Saturday.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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