Hunter left duck to die slowly after shooting incident, animal rights group says

A duck needed urgent medical care after it was hit by stray shotgun pellets and left to die, animal rights group SAFE says.

The Paradise duck, now named Honey, was found with six bits of steel shot in her body, as well as a fractured leg.

Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust (WBRT) trustee Craig Shepherd said in a statement she may need a pin in her leg to allow her to walk again, and she would have died without human intervention.

"She wasn't killed instantly and was then left to suffer. Lucky she was found when she was!" the WBRT said in a post on Facebook.

SAFE said in a statement Honey's injuries should never have happened and it shows why duck shooting needs to be banned.

"When a shot is fired, hundreds of steel pellets fly out and can hit birds flying alongside the target bird," SAFE CEO Debra Ashton said.

"Losing the ability to fly or move properly is an early death sentence for a duck. Fish & Game claim that shooters retrieve all ducks, but Honey is proof that this isn't always the case."

Duck season began on May 4. It will end at different times for different regions and species of bird from June 16 onward.

Fish & Game CEO Martin Taylor said at the beginning of the season ducks would not be left behind if injured by stray shots.

"When a bird is wounded a dog can actually sense it and bring them down," he told Newshub. "The whole idea that there is no mechanism to address wounded birds is incorrect.

"We respect SAFE's position that they want to protect all animals, but the reality is we're hunters. We don't reconcile than that."