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Otago Fish and Game officer Bruce Quirey said monitoring recorded more than 23,600 paradise shelducks in Otago last week.
Despite yearly fluctuations, Otago’s paradise shelduck population trend had remained constant over the past three decades.
The long-term trend count showed the ducks were in good hands and shooters could look forward to a good harvest this year, he said.
Aerial surveys covered the East Coast, Ida Valley, Manuherekia, Maniototo, Lakes, South Otago, Strath Taieri, Upper Clutha and West Otago.
Fish and Game spent about 13 hours in fixed-wing aircraft and about four hours monitoring the ducks from the ground.
The largest single mob was 2200 at a Central Otago irrigation pond.
Maniototo and South Otago had the highest count this year, he said.
The main 2022 game bird season opens on May 7.