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Dead eye . . . Waimate man and duck-shooting veteran Ross Nichol celebrated his 45th year in the sport by shooting at Wainono Lagoon for opening day. PHOTO: RHYS ADAMS

Hunters across the Waitaki district were up at the crack of dawn last Saturday, hidden in their mai mais and waiting for their winged targets to emerge.

It was another successful opening weekend of duck-shooting around the district, Central South Island Fish and Game officer Rhys Adams said.

“The general feeling I got was that it was a pretty good opening, with just a few weather issues,” Mr Adams told the Oamaru Mail.

Early morning fog created some difficulties for duck-shooters in the Waitaki Valley, he said.

It was not until the fog dispersed later in the morning that some hunters could finally shoot again.

Although numbers had not been confirmed yet, Mr Adams estimated 20,000 mallard ducks and 5000 paradise shelducks were harvested from the Central South Island region during opening weekend.

Mr Adams believed different areas had varying degrees of success.

“The wild birds .. they can go anywhere, so the success can vary from year to year, even in the same spot.”

In line with the national trend, Fish and Game officers had a very quiet weekend in terms of enforcing duck-shooting laws.

Mr Adams only heard of one incident in the region, pertaining to the type of ammunition being used near open water.

“The hunters were very well behaved and very easy to deal with, so we thank hunters for that.”

North Otago shooter Brent Growcott was one of many in the region to spend the weekend shooting.

He hunted on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and said the weekend was “unbelievable”, with the most ducks he had seen.

Saturday was the pick of the first three days, with perfect shooting weather to get birds.

“Saturday was probably as good as you could get – grey sky and windy.”

Mr Growcott was shooting close to the Morven township.

“The area was very busy,” he said.