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Game bird season 2020 delayed

2 min read
Game bird season 2020 postponed

Photo: Lindasay from Pixabay

Game bird season 2020 has been delayed, the government announced earlier today.

The season is being postponed from Saturday, 2 May to start on the second weekend after that date that is decided for when New Zealand moves to Alert Level 2, conservation minister Eugenie Sage said.

“I know this is disappointing but for many duck hunters, the social interaction around hunting is an important ​​part of the activity, especially at opening weekend. The risks associated with groups of people coming together is too high.

“The two-week delay to the start of the season after a decision is made to move into Level 2 was determined in consultation with the New Zealand Fish and Game Council and I want to thank them for their constructive engagement with these decisions.

“All New Zealanders will still have an opportunity to hunt ducks, at the same time, once we return to Alert Level 2.”

Sage added that New Zealanders are still encouraged to spend time in nature where possible “if it’s local” but added that this “is not the time to take up hunting as a new hobby or explore the backcountry and go on an overnight tramp.”

In a statement released, Fish & Game NZ said that based on current government projections, the season might open mid-May or early June.

Read more: Govt announces rules for hunting under COVID-19 Level 3

An example of how this would work is:

  • Level 2 introduced between May 11 and 15 – Opening Day May 23
  • Level 2 introduced between May 16 and 29 – Opening Day June 6

“Game bird hunting is a national tradition and an important population management tool. It is great we can confirm a season will take place,” Fish & Game New Zealand chief executive Martin Taylor said.

Fish & Game NZ added that the new date would allow hunters and retailers some time at Alert Level 2 to get a license and get themselves set up for the new season start date.

“All hunters will have to comply with the restrictions of Alert Level 2 while hunting and travelling to their hunting spots. This includes hunting with your bubble if possible; keeping it local, no non-regional hunting; keep your social distancing if hunting outside your bubble; no overnight trips; travel in your own vehicles; and limit your exposure to people outside your bubble.

“All hunters will start hunting on the same day and it will be illegal for any game bird hunting to take place before this as it is a legal change to the season dates. This applies to people hunting on private land, their own land and in publicly accessible areas.

“Fish & Game New Zealand will be undertaking compliance work throughout the game bird season and prior to the season to make sure that the new season dates are being adhered to.”

Earlier today, the government also announced rules for hunting under COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

For more information, visit

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