The annual Paradise Shelduck hunt in the last weekend of February has just been. As tradition has been for quite a few years now, my hunting mate Craig and I spent the Saturday morning on the farm outside Kaikohe. This time my boy Aidan also came along. Now we just have to wait until May for the proper hunting season to kick off again. The pictures are from the past four-five years of the February parrie-hunt, with silhouettes, camouflage nets et al. Often it's quite warm, as seen on this year's photos in shorts and sandals... Something different to my Arctic upbringing!
The Paradise Shelduck is a large goose-like duck endemic to New Zealand. They were hunted by Maori already before European settlement but the population really exploded with Europeans cultivating the land, and also benefited from the work hunting groups and societies did by further creating good habitats. The huge increase in bird numbers hasn't only been positively received, as the shelducks can be to some nuisance for farmers. This is in particular the case at this time of the year, when the parries gather in big flocks and raid on new crop. To try and do some compensation to this, Fish & Game introduced the annual February hunt - only targeting Paradise Ducks. The farm where Craig and I hunt saw 33 parries taken on Saturday February 27th. There are many more left and we'll probably shoot the occasional parrie later during the normal duck season.