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Birds in the hand . . . Sisters Emma (17, left) and Louie (15) Adams hold some of the ducks shot on the pond at their grandfather Alan's farm.PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Ducks – there are plenty of them and they make good eating is the verdict of Southland Fish & Game manager Zane Moss.

The duck-shooting season opened at the weekend, three weeks later than usual because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Moss said he had heard good reports about the weekend.

“As we predicted, there were very good numbers of ducks around,” Mr Moss said.

“People staff talked to, out ranging, were having a great day and really enjoying themselves.”

Hunters were impressed with the quality of the ducks shot, he said.

“The ducks are in extremely good condition, very large and healthy, so there’s a lot of excitement around the eating quality of the birds.”

The only “fly in the ointment was the weather was extremely calm and generally pretty sunny and a lovely day, which does make hunting a bit harder”.

“People were pretty happy with their bags.”

He expected people would go out again this long weekend.

“There are certainly plenty of birds about to support that.”

Half a dozen hunters were caught without a licence and were likely to be prosecuted.

“We are disappointed to find people without them because the consequences are significant.”

Having a conviction for unlawfully hunting would jeopardise the renewal of a firearms licence, he said.

“Someone that’s convicted of criminal offences involving firearms is unlikely to be considered fit and proper to continue to have a firearms licence.”

Ken Adams, daughters Emma and Louie and friend Greg McDonald spent the weekend shooting from a mai mai on a pond on Mr Adams’ father Alan’s farm.

Mr Adams said the group shot 127 ducks.

“We breasted a few and plucked most of them,” Mr Adams said.

It was the first time he had shot from this mai mai but understood about 40 ducks were shot there on opening weekend last year.

Delaying the start of the season had not affected the quality of the birds.

“We reckon it being three weeks later, the ducks were in better condition than they usually are.”

Leaving grain at the pond for the ducks to eat had also been held up this year because of lockdown restrictions.

The ducks started flying in about 8am.

“They flew in all day in dribs and drabs.”

A breeze came up in the afternoon, which helped bring the ducks in.

“They don’t like flying in the wind.”

His daughters had a smaller-gauged shotgun but did not shoot at the weekend.

A keen shooter, Mr Adams was relieved when it was announced duck-shooting would go ahead.

“We were all quite happy that they carried on with it

He would go out most weekends during the season, Mr Adams said.