SOUTHLAND duck-shooters hit a milestone this season with the lowest non-compliance rate in years, a Southland Fish & Game ranger says.
Hunters from across the country took to their mai mai last weekend to begin the 2020 game bird hunting season.
Southland Fish & Game ranger Cohen Stewart said he was “very happy” with the level of compliance from hunters this year, after only four cases of hunting without a licence were detected.
“A vast majority of hunters were compliant with all the rules. This year’s compliance rate was very high, much higher than last season.”
Those who did not have game bird hunting licences had their firearms seized, he said.
Several teams of rangers, with help from Southland police officers, spent the weekend visiting locations throughout the region to conduct licence checks on public and private land.
Mr Stewart said a ranger’s role was to make sure hunters had their game bird hunting licences, were using non-toxic shot and complying with bag limits.
“It was great to catch up with hunters over the opening weekend and see them taking the opportunity to harvest wild food for the table.
“It was also great to see several generations all hunting together and everyone from grandparents to grandkids getting involved.”
A Fish & Game spokesman said despite the weather across the region making for “trickier hunting”, there were plenty of ducks seen on opening day.
“Overall, hunters were satisfied by the sheer numbers of ducks seen, and it was great seeing plenty of families out enjoying themselves with several hunters reporting limit bags.”