Threatened environment to benefit from game bird hunting licence sales
Game bird hunting licences are going on sale (March 17) with some of the money raised from the sales going towards preserving New Zealand's shrinking wetlands.
The licences, which cost $92 for the whole season, allow game bird hunting throughout the country in all 12 Fish & Game regions.
The hunting season begins on Saturday May 7 and ends late August, depending on the region and species being hunted.
Each licence carries a game bird habitat stamp produced by New Zealand Post which raises money to preserve, enhance and develop wetland areas.
"The game bird habitat stamp is a great example of hunters protecting the environment," says Fish & Game's Communications Manager Don Rood.
"New Zealand has lost 90 percent of its wetlands, yet they provide a vital role in providing habitat and protecting the environment and water quality.
Don Rood says non-hunters can also help preserve the environment by also buying the habitat stamps.
"You don't have to be a game bird licenceholder to protect these valuable areas. Anyone can buy a habitat stamp in the knowledge that their money will be doing a great deal of good for conservation," he says.
Fish & Game says game bird hunting remains popular throughout the country, with upwards of 40 thousand licences sold every year.
Prospects for the 2016 season are good, with good numbers of ducks being recorded. The rise in numbers has been enough for some Fish & Game regions to increase their bag limits and season lengths.
"In recent years, duck numbers have not been as high as they have been historically and season duration and bag limits have been reduced accordingly," says Don Rood.
"A lot of science goes into determining the season duration, with Fish & Game staff closely monitoring populations and breeding success. The results of that work mean some regions have been able to lengthen their seasons and increase bags slightly for 2016," he says.
While ducks are the most popular quarry, many regions also offer good opportunities to harvest what are known as upland game birds – pheasant and quail.
"The dry summer experienced in some areas means that there has been a good breeding season for pheasant and quail, and an opportunity to harvest some great tasting birds for the table," says Mr Rood.
Licences for the 2016 game bird hunting season can be bought online or at approved licence agents.
If you're a keen hunter you can reclaim your maimai or hunting stand from last season as soon as you've bought your licence, up until 10am pegging day, April 10.
If you are new to game bird hunting, visit Fish & Game's website www.fishandgame.org.nz and click on Hunting and then 'Getting Started.'
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