Mark and Blaise of Hunting and Fishing Wairarapa show some of the gear hunters have been snapping up in anticipation of opening day on Saturday. PHOTO/ARTHUR HAWKES

Good keen men ‘fizzing’

ARTHUR HAWKES
arthur.hawkes@age.co.nz

Hunters across Wairarapa have been gearing up for the start of duck hunting season, leaving shops scrambling to supply the fresh need for guns and gear.

The season is set to start this Saturday, after a two-week delay caused by covid-19 restrictions.

Phil Teal of Wellington Fish and Game said it was likely there would be a high turnout of hunters in Wairarapa.

“Now we’ve been released from lockdown, a lot of hunters are champing at the bit to get under way,” Teal said.

“There was a lot of uncertainty around what form the open season would take this year – and even whether we were actually going to get the go ahead at all because of covid restrictions.

“We’ve seen a huge amount of activity over the last few days, with hunters prepping their mai-mais, and some retail stores experiencing an unprecedented run on gear.”

Willie Roseingrave, owner of Masterton hunting shop King and Henry, is relieved duck shooting season is on this weekend.

He and his father Tony had bought in extra stock in advance of the lockdown.

“If we’d not opened now, we would’ve got into trouble,” Roseingrave said. “It’s really good to be open for the season – and we’re very busy.”

Being family owned and operated, King and Henry received a surge of custom from the hunting community.

“We’ve had lots of support. People could obviously buy online elsewhere, but they’ve come in specifically to support us.”

Greg McKinney, co-owner of Hunting and Fishing Wairarapa said it was “kind of hard to tell” if business had picked up with hunting, as they had been without any trade for so long.

“We’ve been shut down for a month, so whether it’s more than it would normally be crammed into a shorter period, because everyone’s been locked away, I’m unsure,” McKinney said.

“I think it won’t be as good as previous years, but I don’t think it’s going to be too bad apart from a whole month’s trade missing.

“We’ve got some duck hunters here that are all fizzing at the bung to get out there.

“You can hear them making calls, blowing their duck horns wandering around the shop – the keen ones are all keen as!

“It doesn’t seem any more crazy than normal, but people are just very happy that they’re going to get a duck hunt in – and that it’s been extended.”

Hunters in the Wellington region will have a daily bag limit of 10 for mallard and grey varieties, and a further 10 for paradise shelduck.

Hunters are being advised to get their gear early, and to purchase licences online [www.fishandgame.org.nz] to ease pressure at hunting store check-outs.

Fish and Game is also directing hunters to read up on requirements for safe hunting under covid-19 Alert Level 2.

Information has been sent to all hunting stores in the lower North Island and is available on the organisation’s website.