'Access to farms is a privilege': Farmer's message to duck shooters

Keen duck hunters heading out for the season opening on Saturday are being reminded about the etiquette around access to private farmland.

The ‘Opening Day’ of the duck-shooting season is a big deal in rural New Zealand, with 40,000 annual participants across the country. 

While hunters pay their money to Fish and Game for a duck shooting licence, access is usually reliant on the goodwill of local farmers. 

Many hunters find themselves beside a wetland built and maintained on private farmland. 

Federated Farmers said many of these arrangements are several generations-old, established on a handshake.

"Farmers and visiting hunters alike look forward to the opening weekend of the duck-shooting season," said Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson Chris Allen.

Chris Lewis said access to farms comes with responsibilities for both hunter and farmer.
Chris Lewis said access to farms comes with responsibilities for both hunter and farmer. Photo credit: Supplied

However he said access to farms comes with responsibilities for both hunter and farmer. 

"Farms are businesses, homes and places of recreation, and we ask that people recognise this when they head out for a shot this weekend."

He said health and safety around firearms, water and vehicles remains the number one consideration, but there are other things for hunters to think about as well.

"Biosecurity is essential on farms, and with serious new threats such as Mycoplasma bovis, hunters need to ask landowners about any special requirements - particularly when driving between different properties."

"For sheep farmers, sheep measles is a big concern, and all dogs must be dosed for worms at least 48 hours before going on to farmland."

He said the basics of rural etiquette such as leaving gates as you find them, controlling dogs and not disturbing stock remain the same.

"Remember that fewer and fewer people come from a farming back ground, and what was once rural common sense may no longer be known by all farm visitors."

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz