Time to gear up for waterfowl season

As the opening weekend of the waterfowl hunting season draws near, there’s a sense of anticipation in the air.

For Southland hunters, opening weekend holds great significance and is eagerly anticipated as a time to reunite with friends and family in the great outdoors. It also provides an opportunity to connect with nature while harvesting some wild, healthy and free range food.

For those who may be considering joining in the tradition of waterfowl hunting in Southland, I encourage you to give it a try this season.

For the avid waterfowl hunters out there, as you make plans for opening weekend, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to increase your chance of success.

Begin by preparing your hunting spot ahead of time. If you haven’t scrubbed your mai mai, get it done ASAP. This will allow local resident ducks to settle into your hunting location well before the season begins. Also, ensure your mai mai is constructed so you can safely and effectively swing your shotgun.

One simple way to harvest a few more ducks on opening day is to add movement to your decoy spread. Movement can be achieved by motorised decoys or a simple jerk cord.

When Fish & Game staff are doing compliance checks on opening weekend, we find hunters with one or two moving decoys consistently harvest more ducks than hunters with a static decoy spread.

As we are still a few weeks out from opening weekend, now is also a great time to practice your duck calling. YouTube has an abundance of duck calling tutorials which can help you refine your calling skills. However, it’s important to remember you don’t need to be a master competition duck caller; familiarity with basic calls and their timing is what counts.

Finally, if you hunt with a canine companion, it is worth conducting a few drills to make sure your furry mate is ready to fetch your ducks. Building their confidence and reinforcing commands will ensure smooth and successful retrieves.

Southland Fish & Game wishes all hunters a safe, successful and enjoyable season. Warm barrels.

 - Cohen Stewart Southland Fish & Game field officer