All-girl crew takes to the mai mai

(From left) Jayne Law, Jess Turnbull, Nadine Duff, Kate Boylan, Janice Gerken and Jamie Edwards have been duck-shooting together for seven years.

DUCK-shooting is no longer just a boys’ club.

Although men still account for the majority of duck-shooters in Southland, the number of women involved has increased in recent years.

However, it was still a small rise, Southland Fish & Game manager Zane Moss said.

Fewer than 10% of the game bird licences were issued to women.

“We [Fish & Game Council] would love to see more women joining the sport and breaking this stereotype.”

The season began last Saturday after a delay because of Covid-19 restrictions.

A group of female Southland duck-shooters believed it was a fun activity for everyone.

Kate Boylan, Nadine Duff, Jaimee Edwards, Janice Gerken, Jayne Law and Jess Turnbull have been duck-shooting together for the past seven years at their mai mai near Balfour.

“We named it Hen House,” Mrs Edwards said.

Some of the group grew up on farms and their parents taught them to shoot.

“We all knew each other before and grew up with duck-shooting around us. We decided we wanted to get together as a group of girls to have some fun while we went duck-shooting,” Mrs Gerken said.

Mrs Turnbull agreed.

“Doesn’t matter who you are or what sex you are. It [duck-shooting] is about having a good time,” she said.

“There are a lot of only-girls’ mai mai out there and they have way more fun than the boys.”

But the gathering was not only about girl time.

Every year, the group also paid homage to Mrs Edwards’ husband, Liam Edwards, who died four years ago in a helicopter crash near Athol.

She said he had encouraged her to get into duck-shooting and when her friends decided to create a girls-only mai mai, Mr Edwards had helped them build it.

“We used to compete against his mai mai. It was a hell of a time.”

As Mr Edwards died a week before the beginning of the duck-shooting season, the group supported Mrs Edwards through the rough time and they decided to create a new tradition.

“We do a salute to him every duck-shooting season. We toast to the great man he was.

“We usually arrive at the mai mai the day before the beginning of the season to prepare everything. It is like a slumber party.

“I believe the best thing about duck-shooting with them is the camaraderie. We take care of each other.”

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