You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Hunter Michael Bonney, who was shooting on Lake Tuakitoto, near Kaitangata, said his family had been hunting on the lake for six generations, and would pitch in together plucking and preparing the birds before dividing the bag among whanau, friends and neighbours.
"It’s more than shooting, it’s hunting. You spend years understanding how the game behaves and if you don’t have a strategy, you’ll be lucky to have any ducks to shoot at."
"I like Peking duck," another hunter, Terry Wilson, said.
"Nothing is wasted. Cure it like bacon or salami, pate, pies ... you can tie the feathers into trout flies. With food prices the way they are it’s good to know older family and ones with kids have got something in the freezer."
Fish & Game officer Bruce Quirey said many harvests on opening day had been light to average, and had been dominated by paradise shelducks.
There were over 4000 licensed hunters taking part in the opening weekend, some of whom had travelled from as far away as Perth, Australia.
Fish & Game rangers patrolled across the province on opening day, in some cases with support from the police, and 95% of hunters had been found to be in compliance with the regulations.
"However, we’re also disappointed in a small number of hunters who have let others down," Mr Quirey said.
Two hunters had their guns taken for leaving shotguns unattended in a mai mai and for shooting with lead near water.
Two other hunters had their guns seized and received infringement notices for hunting without game bird licences.
The season for mallard, grey and shoveller ducks, and in some areas black swans, continues for the next three months.
- Andrew Marshall and Nick Brook