Hunters in Otago are in for an above-average duck shooting season this year, if recent aerial surveying is anything to go by.
According to monitoring completed by Fish and Game last week, mallard numbers are up 10 percent on the average count since 2015.
The aerial survey was conducted across parts of the Taieri, Clutha and Pomahaka.
"Parts of the Clutha and Pomahaka rivers had some of the highest recorded concentrations of ducks since 2015," Otago Fish and Game officer Bruce Quirey said on Thursday.
"One river section had almost double its previous highest count."
Despite the "promising" results, Quirey warned that mallard monitoring is a trend count and said results can be affected by a number of variables, such as water levels and weather, on the day.
Because some parts of Otago are very dry, there would be variances between areas across the region, he said.
The survey showed river transects had more ducks on them this year than usual, with many permanent ponds also having good mallard counts.
However, a third of all ponds surveyed had no ducks and cross-country transects also had below-average counts, Quirey said.
"Rivers and other permanent bodies of water are likely to offer the best shooting for mallards due to dry conditions, unless there is substantial rain before opening weekend on May 1."
Quirey said farmers in the region had reported large flocks of ducks on harvested grains in south Otago and west Otago, including "nuisance populations".
He said providing weather conditions are good hunters can expect a good harvest.
"Hunters want low cloud, rain and some wind on opening weekend."