New Zealand duck hunting is a high-quality experience that can provide fun for the entire family. The natural habitat for New Zealand’s waterfowl is spectacular. In addition to duck species popularly hunted in the United States are indigenous species that top avid bird hunters’ lists. New Zealand is a fun and unique destination.
Endemic duck species prized by collectors include Paradise Shelducks (Tadorna variegate), Pacific Black Ducks (Anas superciliosa), Australian Shovelers (Anas rhynchotis). Mallards and Canada Geese thrive, as do Black Swans (Cygnus atratus), and comprise the bulk of the New Zealand waterfowl hunting bag. New Zealand waterfowl hunting is characterized by high-quality wingshooting. Waterfowl are plentiful, with daily bags usually exceeding the lawful take in the US, but New Zealand duck hunting is about decoying exotic species in the most enchanting scenery imaginable. Fifteen-plus waterfowl are a reasonable expectation. And just for the fun of it there’s sometimes a barrel-burner of decoying pigeon hunt.
Duck hunting in New Zealand is from comfortable maimais (duck blinds) on land or water, usually 2-3 hunters per blind. Baiting is legal, but not always necessary because waterfowl remain unpressured by hunting. Guns may be unplugged. New Zealand duck hunting season runs May through July and coincides with prime hunting for many big game species. You may bring your own shotgun very easily, but firearms are included in these New Zealand duck hunting packages for those so inclined.
Upland bird hunting in New Zealand rounds out our wingshooting programs perfectly. There’s plenty from which to choose, too. Puekekos (Porphyrio melanotus), sometimes called blue pheasants, are native species that dwell along wetland margins and prized by collectors. California quail most common of the introduced upland game birds and are found in both islands in coveys of usually between 10 and 100 birds.
For the best of all worlds, be sure to look at the New Zealand Hunting Calendar when planning your trip.
Duck Hunting is available early-May through June (North Island) and through July (South Island).
$825 Daily New Zealand Duck Hunting
Opening Saturday-Sunday of the season $1,225 per day. Limited to 2-3 guest hunters only. Minimum 3-day hunt (3rd day standard rate). The opener truly high-volume duck hunting.
South Island New Zealand Waterfowl Hunting Packages include: round-trip airport and all local ground transfers (from Christchurch), accommodations during the hunt, all meals and beverages (non-alcoholic), fully-guided hunting, firearm supplies (Benelli and Beretta semi-autos). Hunting license, export permit, ammo and gratuities are not included.
$875 Daily New Zealand Duck Hunting, includes some upland bird hunting. Non-hunters $400.
For the first 2 days of the season (first weekend in May), a $350 per-day premium is applied. It’s worth it: this is a huge weekend to include undisturbed waterfowl and an excellent organized pheasant hunt.
North Island New Zealand Waterfowl Hunting Packages include: Accommodations during the hunt, all meals and beverages, fully-guided hunting, firearm supplies. Hunting licenses, export permits and airport transfers are not included.
Our New Zealand Pre-Trip include a general what-to-bring list.
Getting There – New Zealand Hunting
US Visitors fly from LA across the Pacific, a 12-hour direct flight to Auckland. From Australia, it’s a 3-hour flight across the Tasman Sea.
North Island: Arrive into Auckland International Airport in the North Island, go through Customs. Transfer by domestic air to Palmerston North Regional Airport, about 1 hour flight, where hunters will be met by staff and transfered 2 hours to the coastal ranch.
South Island: Direct flights from LA and San Fransisco directly to Christchurch airport. Hosts await at Christchurch Airport to meet and greet, and provide 2 hour transfer to lodge.
What to Bring – New Zealand Bird Hunting Combo
Useful equipment for duck hunting includes chest waders and camouflaged, brown or green colored clothing. Guides have decoys and dogs. For upland hunting stout walking boots and a shooting vest for shells and birds are helpful. A warm hat, thick woolen socks, rain clothes, thermal underwear, binoculars, daypack, camera. Rifle and prefered ammunition, or may be purchased locally. Shotguns may be rented at South Island Lodge. Shotshell ammo is available locally.
Gratuities – New Zealand Hunting Trips
Gratuities for lodge and field staff are not included in New Zealand duck hunt package cost since tipping, in general, is discretionary. Because clients have repeatedly asked that we provide general guidelines the following is suggested. Generally 5-10% land package cost is appropriate. Your host will accept gratuities when settling your account prior to departure, and will dispense among the staff accordingly.
New Zealand Fly Fishing
New Zealand trout fishing is the stuff from which dream are made. Our South Island outfitter-affiliate delivers extraordinary guided fly fishing for large, wild Brown Trout in crystal clear mountain streams in various locations, all of them great. Trout average 5 pounds but each season some double-digit trout are caught. Abiding strictly to catch-and-release principles, experienced guides intimately familiar with the local rivers, share their knowledge of all aspects of fly fishing with all anglers, from complete beginners to seasoned veterans. Traveling by vehicle, or helicopter, ensures an exciting day in beautiful remote scenery, and every opportunity to outwit the smart New Zealand Brown Trout. Present a selected nymph or dry fly…wait…there he is!
Species – New Zealand Duck Hunting
New Zealand waterfowl hunting offers some unique species. These include the native Paradise Shelduck, commonly called a parrie, Pacific Black Duck, or Grey duck, New Zealand Shoveler, and the Black Swan which has introduced itself from Australia 1500 miles to the west.
The grey duck favours secluded areas in contrast to the introduced mallard which is happy to live around humans. Originally the primary target of duck hunters, the grey duck now comprises only 20% of the New Zealand duck population of 6 million birds.
New Zealand Shovelers are the least abundant of hunted ducks, but possibly the most attractive. They are certainly the most difficult to locate. They frequent coastal lakes but move a lot making them rather unpredictable.
Paradise Shelducks only occur in New Zealand. They have a 4-foot wingspan which compares with the 3 foot wingspan of a mallard. They can be found in large flocks on pasture to which they have adapted well after the conversion from forest to grassland of much of New Zealand by European settlers from 1840. Paradise Shelducks can provide exceptional shooting over decoys on grass fields or barley stubble. Unusually, the female with white head and bronze breast is more colourful than the black male, but they are both strikingly attractive birds.
The Black Swan may not be hunted in Australia but is a popular gamebird in New Zealand. Large bodies of water where they feed on aquatic vegetation are favoured habitat. Flying swans are spectacular. They are often seen in large groups.
Mallard ducks were introduced from North America in the late 1800’s and are widespread. They interbreed with the native grey ducks. They move within New Zealand but do not migrate. They are now our most common duck and a very popular gamebird.
Greater Canada Geese are widepread especially in the South Island with increasing population and distribution in the north.
Bag Limits – New Zealand Duck Hunting
New Zealand should not be regarded as high-volume shooting like South American destinations. It is best viewed as a place to collect some unique and beautiful waterfowl; to experience quality not quantity. Normally hunters will take home a variety of excellent specimens for mounting. New Zealand waterfowl can be very abundant and limits are generous so normally good to excellent hunting will be enjoyed. Duck limits vary between Fish and Game regions but are typically 10 to 20 birds per day. Limits for Canada Geese and Mallards are considerably more liberal. Pheasant hunting is best in the North Island with daily limits on roosters about 5.
Species – Big Game Hunting in New Zealand
There are 12 species of big game available for hunting in New Zealand: Wapiti (Elk), Red Deer, Sika deer, Rusa Deer, Sambar Deer, Whitetail Deer, Fallow Deer, Himalayan Thar, European Chamois, South Pacific Goat, Wild Pig, and Asiatic Buffalo. All provide good trophies and many species have exceeded the trophy potential of their county of origin. Red Deer Stags provide the quintessential experience for trophy big game hunting in New Zealand. Red Deer are most popular among guest hunters. Trophy potential is very good. Challenging hunting is available in both free-range and intensively-managed, game ranch settings. Fallow deer, the second most widely-distributed big game animal in New Zealand, are often taken while red stag hunting. In the Southern Alps, Tahr and Chamois challenge hunters in higher elevations, but the effort pays handsomely with trophies that can be hunted at the same time nowhere but in New Zealand. No license fees to hunt big game in New Zealand. More Information: Big Game Hunting in New Zealand
Related Links – New Zealand Hunting and Fishing
About the Area – New Zealand Hunting
Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island), and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is notable for its geographic isolation: it is situated about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and its closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. During its long isolation New Zealand developed a distinctive fauna dominated by birds, a number of which became extinct after the arrival of humans and the mammals they introduced. The South Island is the largest land mass of New Zealand, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps. There are 18 peaks over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) the highest of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3,754 metres (12,316 ft). The top of South Island contains areas of forest in the Kahurangi and other national parks. The south-western corner of South Island is Fiordland, an area of high mountains cut through with steep fjords.
The North Island is less mountainous but is marked by volcanism. The highly active Taupo volcanic zone has formed a large volcanic plateau, the North Island’s highest mountain, Mount Ruapehu 2,797 metres (9,177 ft), and a deep caldera filled by Lake Taupo, the country’s largest lake. The island’s north is a flatter area, once covered by huge kauri trees.
The latitude of New Zealand, from approximately 34 to 47° S, corresponds closely to that of Italy in the Northern Hemisphere. However, its isolation from continental influences and exposure to cold southerly winds and ocean currents give the climate a much milder character. The climate throughout the country is mild and temperate, mainly maritime, with temperatures rarely falling below 0 °C (32 °F) or rising above 30 °C (86 °F) in populated areas.
Of the main cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving only 640 millimetres (25 in) of rain per year; Auckland, the wettest, receives almost twice that amount. Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive a yearly average in excess of 2000 hours of sunshine.
The first Europeans known to have reached New Zealand were Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman and his crew in 1642. Indigenous Maori killed four of the crew and no Europeans returned to New Zealand until British explorer James Cook’s voyage of 1768-71. Cook reached New Zealand in 1769 and mapped almost the entire coastline. Following Cook, New Zealand was visited by numerous European and North American whaling, sealing and trading ships. They traded European food and goods, especially metal tools and weapons, for Maori timber, food, artefacts and water. On occasion, Europeans traded goods.
Because of its long isolation from the rest of the world and its island biogeography, New Zealand has extraordinary flora and fauna, descended from Gondwanan wildlife or since arriving by flying, swimming or being carried across the sea. About 80% of New Zealand’s flora is endemic, including 65 endemic genera. Until the arrival of humans, 80% of the land was forested.
New Zealand’s only native mammal is a bat, so European settlers introduced several hunting species specifically for sport. In the absence of natural predators, and as forests were converted to grasslands, these animals flourished. Today, population control is achieved with safe and controlled hunting. Game animals include deer (including red, fallow and sika), chamois, tahr, pigs. First-rate waterfowl and upland game-bird hunting in New Zealand is also available.
When I contacted Ramsey Russell at Getducks.com about a trip to New Zealand hunting ducks he asked what specifically did I want to hunt. My response was that I’d not yet hunted Paradise Shelduck and anything else was a bonus. Well the boys sure delivered, from the moment we were greeted at the airport to our drop off 5 days later. License and transport sorted, ample opportunity and varying habitat experienced. Paradise shelducks were one of six species added to the bag in plentiful number. Firearms and ammunition supplied were top notch. Accommodation, food and company were second to none. And the Kiwi vs Aussie banter was all I needed to feel right at home. New Zealand duck hunting highly recommended!
Glenn Falla, Australia
Referenced Hunt: New Zealand Duck Hunting
New Zealand duck hunting was truly a fantastic trip made all the better by our hosts. The trip was nothing short of spectacular….once the flight was out of the way (ugh!). Certainly no lack of birds, and we had bagged all the birds we were after by the second morning. Ducks, geese, pukekos, and even pheasants just came out of the woodwork. Paradise shelducks are just about the coolest bird I’ve ever hunted…kind of like dumb geese. Bagged some really cool mallard/grey duck hybrids, too.
The food and hospitality were absolutely top-notch. I certainly didn’t lose any weight, and Sheryl and I had a blast just staying up late BS’ing with our hosts and probably drinking way too much beer, wine and port. Awesome trip that we’ll never forget. You’ve got another winner. In the meantime, we’re trying to figure out a cool trip for next season. Sheryl wants to try Obregon…wouldn’t take much arm twisting to get me to go. I’d like to go someplace to hammer specklebellies. Or we may just pull the trigger and do another Argentina trip. Life is full of tough decisions.
Referenced hunt: New Zealand duck hunting
While duck hunting in New Zealand, we greatly enjoyed the accommodations, food, finding birds and the way we were treated by the outfitter. The country side was beautiful. Working birds and meeting new duck hunters in a different country were memorable. I’ve traveled a lot with alot of other outfitters that keep 9 to 5 hours but an immediate Sunday reply by Ramsey will have me booking all future trips with GetDucks.com. Ramsey is a good man and duck hunter, not another used car salesman. New Zealand duck hunting was my third hunt at a GetDucks.com destination and I recommend them all.
Karl & Herman Busing
Referenced Hunt: New Zealand Duck Hunting
Very well pleased with our entire New Zealand turkey hunting experience. Wonderful people along the trip and Adrain was great! Lots of turkeys – Got the peacock! Beautiful place, liked everything about the trip. Ramsey and Anita always answered emails or got right back with us.
Joe and Jan Smith
Referenced Hunt: New Zealand Turkey Hunting
Dear Mr. Russell,
I just wanted to take a minute and send a quick note regarding my recent trip to New Zealand for duck hunting. When I originally contacted you regarding the hunt, I had planned to travel a couple weeks later than what the trip dates finally became. With your feedback, we decided to move the trip up, so we could be in New Zealand for opening day of the duck season. So glad we took this advice. Opening day was a tremendous success and the following days were action-packed. Our hosts knew we had come to their country looking for five species and they all worked hard to get us our birds.
Ramsey, I give the New Zealand duck hunting trip my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION. The hosts are knowledgeable, professional, and eager to please their guests. On opening day, our hosts gave us preferential treatment when it came to assigning hunting blinds (mai-mais). While I felt this was unnecessary, I certainly appreciated the gesture when the birds were flying.
I hope to take my sons to NZ in future, so they can enjoy gunning exotic waterfowl in Kiwi country.
Thank you for your assistance in booking this hunt and exceeding all our expectations in NZ.
Howard from WA, President of Cupped Up Outdoors, makers of The Muskrat Hut Duck & Goose Blind
Referenced hunt: New Zealand Duck Hunting (North Island)
My New Zealand duck hunt hunt was excellent. They were able to get me on all the different ducks I wanted. I most enjoyed hunting black swans! I was able to get a couple pure Gray ducks. They are a great family. GetDucks.com is easy, one-step outfitting. After reading about Netherlands, I’ve put that one on my list too. Thanks.
Referenced hunt: New Zealand Duck Hunt (North Island)
“Seeing the paradise ducks decoy so readily was beautiful. There were plenty of ducks, but we had to go find them (i.e. it was a hunt, not a harvest). The challenge of shooting in a gale-force nor’wester was energizing! I enjoyed shooting 5 shells – I had three birds on the ground in one volley (and plenty of misses as well!). I love the landscape around Hanmer and we were very lucky to have sunshine both days.
Our New Zealand host-guide, John, was very easy to be with, clear in his directions, did good calls and had good eyes. He had done his homework about where the ducks were hanging out, though the ducks didn’t fully co-operate on day 2. Nevertheless, he found them and we had very good shooting. I liked the blind set-up. It was very clever, and portable, and easy to put up and take down. Swivel buckets would be an improvement on the seating but what we had worked for me.
I loved the apres-hunting wine and hors d’oeuvres, and having my non-hunting friends join us was a bonus. We were very well looked after by Robin and the chefs. Robin was fantastic, just like an old friend. Bruce getting a double on mallards was good! Chasing away the hawks from the kills was memorable. Having lunch delivered to the field was very spiffy. GetDucks.com was fantastic, responded quickly to inquiries and I recommend you for this New Zealand duck hunting trip.”
Referenced Hunt: Duck Hunting in New Zealand