6 May 2017

Thousands turn out for first day of duck hunting season

4:28 pm on 6 May 2017

Thousands of hunters have turned out for the opening day of duck hunting season.

Duck hunter Trent Lassen from Selwyn.

Duck hunter Trent Lassen from Selwyn. Photo: Fish & Game

Fish and Game said it was shaping up to be a good season, with the miserable summer encouraging healthy duck breeding in the North and South islands.

Its spokesman, Don Rood, said some of the best spots had been in Auckland and Waikato, as well as the central South Island.

"The bags have been good, so most people seem to be going home with a duck dinner and some going home with enough to put in the freezer as well, so if that keeps up it will be the best duck season we've had for many years."

Mr Rood said there so far hadn't been any reports of accidents involving duck hunters and hunters were being reminded to put safety first this weekend.

Mountain Safety Council head Mike Daisley said about 45 percent of reported incidents happened in the first two days of the season.

Incidents included instant deafness from guns being fired too close, powder burn and injuries from ricocheting pellets.

Mr Daisley said using a gun in a confined space such as a maimai could be hazardous, and care was needed.

The season runs until the end of August.

Slime warnings

Meanwhile, Southland duck shooters have been urged to keep their dogs away from toxic algae in rivers.

The regional council said several rivers had been affected this year by increased growth of the slime called cyanobacteria.

Council science director Graham Sevicke-Jones said cyanobacteria could accumulate in dark-brown or black mats which grew in the shallows or became attached to rocks.

He said if a dog ate even a small amount, it could be harmful.

Most council warnings have now been lifted, but Mr Sevicke-Jones said not all the reaches of every river were monitored, so extra awareness was needed.

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