40,000 Kiwis get duck shooting season underway

Around 40,000 Kiwis packed their guns and ammo on Saturday and headed out at dawn for the opening of this year's duck shooting season.

The season is shorter this year due to COVID-19 but the hunters are just happy they're getting one at all.

Dawn broke in Canterbury, picturesque but not peaceful. Saturday marks day one of New Zealand's duck shooting season and three hunters on a Springston maimai were among thousands of Kiwis very happy to be there at daybreak.

"It's been a great morning," Steve Coates told Newshub.

"I just love hunting," Murray Robson added.

After the pandemic hit, it was touch-and-go whether there'd be a season at all. And hunting types found lockdown rather tough.

"She called it a staycation, I called it home detention," Coates said.

They got the green light and now the opening is later and the season is shorter. But any season is better than none, they said, because duck shooting is about more than just hunting.

"We have a lot of fun, it's all about companions and mates just as much as the shooting," Robson told Newshub.

Level 2 hasn't changed too much in terms of the protocol on the maimai this year, just no big groups of over 10.

And step aside Jamie Oliver, this is how you cook your duck in Springston.

"I'm an oven bag man for a whole bird, orange raro with a wee bit of water, bit of flour, salt and pepper," Terry Lassen told Newshub.

A method also apparently used for black swans.

"Three swan breasts and a sachet of raro orange, and you make a casserole of it, put your vege in, absolutely beautiful," Robson said.

So let's hope the raro is in good supply because there's certainly no shortage of the main ingredient with day one a big success.