Patearoa Feral Goose Cull

Patearoa Feral Goose Cull

Hunting and Wildlife Magazine - Spring Issue 222

Words By: Murray

Over Waitangi weekend 2023, 24 shooters accounted for 1100 birds.

The Upper Clutha Branch is arranging a goose cull in the Upper Taieri catchment based around a number of dairy farms in the Puketoi/Patearoa area of the Maniototo over the weekend Friday/Sunday 2,3 & 4 February 2024 and is looking for additional shooters.

The target species is the Greylag or ‘feral’ goose which inhabit this part of the Taieri River in epidemic numbers, fouling pasture and competing for stock grazing – birds that can cause significantly greater destruction than their Canadian cousins because of their highly territorial behaviour.

This will be our second major cull – the first was held over Waitangi weekend 2023 where 24 shooters accounted for 1100 birds. This hunt was covered in some detail by Selwyn Smith (Otago Branch) in the winter issue of Hunting and Wildlife. Lesser events have been held – 286 birds were shot in one day by 9 shooters in August ’21 and more recently in June ’23, 10 shooters dealt to a further 266 birds. Regular helicopter culling of the population takes place on several occasions each year accounting for literally thousands of the birds. The overgrown nature of the river fringes provides a safe refuge for the survivors from overhead shooting, and they then need to be driven, flushed and shot by hunters on foot in a methodical, organised manner for maximum effect.

We are looking to recruit between 30 and 50 shooters – we expect that for practical reasons the majority of these volunteers will come from the Mainland but of course our kin from Aotearoa are welcome too.  With a little coordination and management there is the potential for a record kill and an opportunity to develop an ongoing relationship with the local farming community to ensure ongoing, subsequent excursions.

The overgrown nature of the river fringes provides a safe refuge for the survivors from overhead shooting so they need to be driven, flushed and shot by hunters on foot.

A paddock campsite adjacent to the river is available nearby. Not too many facilities – room for your tent or caravan and a BBQ and a Portaloo provided by the organisers. Upmarket accommodation is able to be arranged by individuals at nearby townships to meet your own requirements – you need to be available and punctual when attending briefings and shooting assembly points. The initial briefing will be held onsite on Friday 2 February at 7pm, so plan to be in residence by then. Morning/evening shoots will be held Saturday and Sunday, extending to Monday if required.

To participate you must be a financial NZDA member with a current Firearms Licence. The shooting will be disciplined and controlled and only the experienced and skillful need apply – it’s not a place for shotgun novices. Shooting is limited to shotguns – the use of lead has been approved by Fish and Game and the recommended shot size is from buckshot down to #3 minimum – take as much ammo as you can afford to buy – a slab is recommended. There is a possibility that some ammo may be provided by our farmer hosts.

No dogs or ATV’s but buggies are allowed. Ground conditions are tough – mud, head high grass, willows, ponds and creeks. You’ll be wading wet – and there’s a lot of walking involved.


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