Duck-shooting opening day in Southland is like celebrating Christmas again, Gore man Jochen Clemens says.
A GP at the Gore Medical Centre, Dr Clemens migrated to New Zealand from Germany in 2008 and has taken part in opening day ever since.
He had never shot ducks in Germany, he said.
“For starters, there are not maybe as many ducks around [but] hunting licences are extremely expensive so I actually did not have a hunting licence in Germany,” Dr Clemens said.
When he was living in Germany, a hunter needed to pay about $10,000 and pass a three-day examination to get a licence.
“I’ve done some hunting before, but it wasn’t duck-shooting.
He had taken part in rabbit and hare hunts from a young age.
“From the age of about 8 or so I was always in charge of skinning the rabbits.”
For the past 10 years he had shot ducks on opening day with his friend Gavin Roy.
The first year he went out with Mr Roy, Dr Clemens had not used a shotgun before.
“He was expecting me basically not to hit anything.
“First time I used the shotgun there were three ducks there and three ducks came down, so ever since he quietened down.”
He really enjoyed opening day.
“It’s action-packed, there’s a lot of shooting, a lot of camaraderie, but that is again because it simply is opening day, once a year.
“It’s coming bit of a tradition for me as well.
“Down here it’s like [having] Christmas all over again.”
In Germany duck-shooting was not as popular as Southland.
“If you go duck-shooting [you] might shoot two or three on a good day.
“There are not as many ponds around on farms.
“Most of the ducks are probably on ponds in parks.”
His favourite way to eat duck was to marinade the breast with chilli sauce and grill it on the barbecue.
“I do it like a steak.”
This year’s tally was 69 ducks, a big improvement on the 21 shot last year.
He might get some of this year’s meat made into salami.
Mr Roy said opening day was much better than last year.
“We had a good shoot on the ducks.
“They came in twos and threes all day, fours and fives.
“It was awesome,” Mr Roy said.
The ducks were not the most healthy he had ever seen.
“[They were] a bit thin, but plenty of them and that makes the difference.
“The ducks seem to have plenty of lice.”
He said the lice were really hard to kill as they were “flat as a pancake” as if they had been “run over by a tank”.
He was especially pleased with his hunting dog’s performance.
“My young dog went like a rocket.”
“The dog was named Joe, after his father.”