Stay safe this duck season

Duck-shooters are being encouraged to keep off the booze until after locking their guns away as the season begins.

The season begins on Saturday and will run to July 31 in Otago and July 10 in Southland.

Fish & Game officer Bruce Quirey said about 4000 game licence holders hunted in Otago and every year sales surged the day before opening.

As of yesterday, game bird licence sales were slightly behind this time last year, which was believed to be down to Covid-19.

The weekend forecast was for fine weather and light wind tomorrow then a southerly change and rain developing on Sunday.

Fish & Game rangers would patrol across the region this weekend with police support.

“We want every hunter to have a safe and successful season. Always take care around firearms and water, and let’s have an accident-free weekend.”

Otago Fish & Game councillor Blair Trevathan putters his boat, which he shoots from, across Lake...
Otago Fish & Game councillor Blair Trevathan putters his boat, which he shoots from, across Lake Dunstan to prepare for the duck-shooting season. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Federated Farmers vice-president Karen Williams said vehicles, firearms and water remained the key risks to duck shooters.

It was fun to celebrate opening day, but people needed to stay responsible.

"Leave the beers or whisky until after the firearms are locked away."

Otago Fish & Game councillor Blair Trevathan said it was looking to be a good season.

Breeding had gone well and duck populations were good.

Changes to the Arms Act which included new rules for transporting firearms were moving in the right direction, but could prove challenging for some shooters.

He had been shooting with his father since he was seven-years-old and had seen many changes in the way people hunt.

The biggest change was the introduction of social media, which allowed people to explore beyond their home ponds and discover new hunting techniques.

It was a positive change, as the diversification allowed duck populations to be more sustainable.

He would spend opening weekend hunting with his father. Beyond that, he would take out a group of children who did not have parents in the hunting community.

He hoped to see others doing similar things, as the tradition of waterfowl hunting was important to keep alive.

It was not about shooting as many birds as possible, it was about enjoying the outdoors New Zealand had to offer.

Safety tips from police

Police and Fish and Game will be out and about to ensure everyone has a safe and memorable opening weekend. Police would like to remind everyone to:

• Hunter should refresh themselves with the Seven Firearms Safety Rules and to ensure their firearms are in safe working order.

• While most hunters make sure safety is paramount in hunting activities, it pays to take time to ensure safety practices are up to scratch and that all your gear is in good, safe working condition.

• As most of the season’s shooting accidents happen on opening weekend, a safe and sensible attitude on the day can ensure a successful season for all and puts you in the best position to hunt safety and have a good time when you’re out.

• Keep alcohol until after you’ve finished shooting and your firearms and ammunition are safety locked away.

• Anybody handling a firearm should always treat it as loaded; that means always pointing the firearm in a safe direction and keeping your trigger finger outside the trigger guard.

• When your firearm is not in use, police would encourage hunters to unload the firearm and insert a chamber flag into the breech.

• When travelling with firearms make sure you are complying with the updated transport rules.

• Please make sure your firearms are not left unattended in your vehicle. The last thing you need is to have your firearms stolen and them ending up in the hands of criminals.

• Visit Mountain Safety Council resources for further reminders and safety advice.


man shows once again his might
as another frightened bird
crumples up in flight
and plummets
to the ground
with the sound
of breaking bones
and ripping flesh
and lying there
a last view
through the grass
of the sky
the dog sees the life
leave his eye
and picks him up
just as he dies.

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