For Brent Growcott and his mates, Saturday is about shooting the breeze as much as it is about shooting ducks.
This duck-shooting opening weekend he will meet up with friends from all over New Zealand to hide out in a mai mai and wait for some ducks to fly overhead.
“Its the same crew every year, we are old hunting and fishing acquaintances,” Mr Growcott said.
“It’s not just about the shooting, it’s about catching up with mates I have known for a long time.”
He would not disclose the location of his mai mai, but said there were a lot of ducks around this year, so he was hopeful of a good shoot.
“We aren’t too worried about the numbers these days, it is just a good chance to catch up.”
Fish & Game New Zealand officer Rhys Adams confirmed duck numbers in the central South Island were the highest on record.
Mr Adams said mallards, which would be most in demand by duck shooters, made up the vast majority.
Their population was “a complex equation”, he said. They must have had a good breeding season, which meant wet weather would have provided a lot of small, shallow areas of water.
He reminded all hunters to ensure they had the correct licence on hand at all times, as officers would be out patrolling the district, including private land, from May 4.