The weather wasn’t perfect and particularly in the South East hunters had to keep reminding themselves it was really summer.
Unseasonal weather for mid-February in South Australia was more than made up for by the friendly banter around the duck camps, great food and across the landscape, good to excellent hunting on opening morning.
Many hunters bagged out on opening morning and an average of six or seven birds meant most hunters got food for the table and reward for their effort.
The content of the bag varied across the regions with a lot of mountain duck and grey teal in the south east and grey teal and pink-eared duck dominating the Riverland.
Reports from all regions indicated hardhead and blue-winged shoveler present in good numbers; both were not included in the game species able to be taken in 2017 because population trends suggested it would not be sustainable.
Protected freckled duck were also a common sight but not in large mobs. The response to the presence of excluded and protected birds from hunters observed by FGA was to be deliberately cautious and we saw game species foregone because the hunter wanted to be certain.
It was again disappointing that on at least two wetlands shots were heard before the official start time. No matter where hunters are, or where they are from, the rule is clear and simple, find out the official start time and don’t shoot before for any reason. It is not only illegal it is disrespectful to fellow hunters who have put in just as much effort to be on the wetland and deserve the equal opportunity provided by the uniform start time.
For Field & Game Australia’s growing South Australian membership, a reminder to keep your 2017 Hunter Report Card up to date and return it to your nearest Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources office at the end of the season.
The season closes on June 25 so there will be plenty of opportunity to enjoy some great wetlands and harvest some wild food from natures supermarket.
The FGA team dropped in at Keith Field & Game before the opening weekend before dispersing tp other parts of the state for the opening. Keith president David Rehn and Kym Makin provided a tour of the Cortina Lakes and other regional systems and a briefing on hydrology and ecology issues. Keith members hosted a barbeque at their shooting ground which also incorporates a 160m rifle range; a great model for Field & Game’s multi-discipline shooters.