Big Hunter Turnout Expected For ‘Second Opening’ Of The Season

Fish and Game say second start hunting season gets underway at Queen's Birthday weekend

The long weekend ahead is being heralded by many duck hunters in the lower North Island as the “second opening” of the season, and Fish & Game is expecting a big turnout.

Wellington Fish & Game manager Phil Teal says although the start to the season was a bit slow due to fine weather, there are still plenty of birds around and, combined with the bonus day off on Monday, this will entice many hunters back to their maimais over Queen’s Birthday.

“Most hunter effort tends to go into the first weekend (or Opening) of the season,” he says.

“Post Covid, however, we’ve seen a resurgence in interest and licence sales in 2021, and people are certainly making the most of their ‘freedom’. So, word around the traps is that there’ll be plenty of hunters out over Queen’s Birthday.”

Brisk winds and a touch of rain later in the weekend are not what most holiday makers would wish for, but the conditions should be favourable to waterfowl hunters.

“The weather forecast is looking better than the calm spell we had for the actual season Opening at the start of May so that will also pique hunters’ interest,” says Mr Teal.

He is encouraging hunters to use the opportunity of the long weekend and good conditions to introduce someone new to the pursuit. 

“Duck hunting is a great social pursuit that brings generations of families and mates together, and you can’t beat it for putting prime, free-range organic meat on the table.

“Now that we’re midway through the two-month season, and the hype around Opening is behind us, we’d like to see hunters taking new participants out for a shot over this ‘second Opening’ weekend.”

Teams of rangers and Police were out in force in the Wellington Fish & Game region early in the season and the expected high turnout of hunters over Queen’s Birthday will see compliance efforts ramped up again.

Hunters must have a game bird hunting licence to harvest waterfowl. These can be purchased on the Fish & Game website where helpful information on getting started can also be found.