Keen foul hunters have a great excuse to take aim this winter – bird numbers have ballooned in the Wakatipu.
Fish and Game officer Rasmus Gabrielsson is encouraging licensed hunters to help keep the numbers of Canada geese and California quail at bay.
Canada geese, which eat winter crops, are prevalent in the Glenorchy area.
California quail, which he describes as a “good quality eating bird”, inhabit the lower hills around Queenstown as well as along the Kawarau River and Tucker Beach Wildlife Reserve.
“It appears to be the best season we’ve had in a decade,” Gabrielsson says.
“Because of the dry spring and summer it was an excellent breeding season. If you’re thinking about it you should make the most of the opportunity while the season is still open.”
The quail season finishes on August 29.
Canada geese can be shot all year round, except during April.
Fish and Game is offering free use of their hunting blinds – a body-length camouflage box – and decoys for hunters who are helping farmers to lower geese numbers, otherwise they can be hired for a small fee.