Duck Shooting Deplored

‘Wetland Terrorism’ ruining wildlife habitat, says Otaki resident

By Alan Tristram
 

A well-known conservation campaigner at Otaki says duck-shooters are ruining the environment in  a rare wetland near the Otaki township.

Mari Housiaux, of Te Hapua Road, says: “Duck shooting is cruel and totally inappropriate in the Te Hapua environment.

And she says the duck-shooting-opening-day in Te Hapua Road is ‘a cacophony of barking dogs, neighing horses, squawking pukekos and shot gun explosions.’

Ms Housiaux adds: “That’s only the surface — ducks drop onto surrounding properties – some maimed and flailing; and all birdlife makes an exodus of flight and fear.

“The first weekend of duck shooting, is frenetically embraced by ‘commando-looking’ fancy-dress individuals – cartridge belts strung over them and blowing duck calling whistles.

“They sit in the dark in camouflaged mai-mais waiting for the dawn assault,” she says.

“The ducks don’t have calendars for this onslaught, which can only be described as wetland terrorism.”

Wildlife disappears

The result, she says,  is that all pond and swamp wildlife disappears along with the ducks.

“The frogs (a feature of Te Hapua and declining worldwide) have habitats disrupted as the guys and dogs trawl the landscape to pick up shot ducks. Ms Housiaux says.

“The Te Hapua Wetland – is one of the 3% of coastal wetlands remaining in New Zealand.

“Several properties share part of it. Ninety percent of owners have placed QEII Open Space Covenants on their portion.

“All have embraced wetland restoration to encourage the conservation of the species of wildlife reliant on wetland habitats for survival – some species are endangered.”

Ms Housiauz ‘appalled’

She concludes: “I am appalled at this antithesis of to the majority aims of conserving and protecting our unique ecosystem.

“Duck shooting is cruel and totally inappropriate in the Te Hapua environment — and should in fact be banned throughout New Zealand.”

 

 

nd I believe some have been shooting on not only their own land but on and over neighbouring properties where there is no shooting. They are barbarians in my opinion.

There’s quite a difference between can’t fly, having to hide wearing dull camouflage, going bang bang … against can fly, wearing beautiful colours, having endearing looks and funny quacks …
“If the rabbit had a gun … ah wouldn’t be so trigger happy … if the ducks had guns.” Apologies to Memphis Slim.

You are missing the big picture. We have lost 90% of the wetlands in this country to drainage for farming. This environmental destruction is still going on and perfectly legal. Duckhunters and their governing body (Fish and Game) are the only ones fighting this wave of habitat destruction and the only ones actively creating habitat for waterfowl. The species hunted are not endangered and are closely managed so that their populations don’t become endangered.

As an example Paradise Ducks are one of the more heavily hunted populations and are now more numerous than they have ever been in the history of NZ. Hunting and conservation are compatible.

It saddens me to see articles like this because hunters and conservationists should be allies fighting for the survival of the habitat and species they love.

Non target species may fly away at the sound of gunfire but they will be back later that day or the next.

Massive, you are not seeing the big picture. Creating habitat for waterfowl is converting high value wetlands to less value lowland in the excavation of open water. This not only disturbs and kills the small invertebrates and amphibians but also destroys the indigenous vegetation on which the food sources for wildlife is essential. Further open water evaporates which in turn lowers the water table and hydrological processes which make a wetland what it is.

I agree that agriculture and development has wiped out 90% of NZ’s natural wetlands but that’s no excuse for encouraging further degradation of the natural wetlands left, nor any excuse for shooters to disturb and and by their actions cause animal injuries on other properties around them. And how do you defend the cruelty of maimed ducks that drop elsewhere? As for the increase of paradise ducks you claim, that’s absolute rubbish. They have declined alarmingly in Te Hapua and how do you explain that the season has been shortened by a month this year? Obviously because the water fowl are declining.

Yes Mari it is true. I had 1 pair and 2 females on my property and I don’t even have a boundary with the wetland. The pair is now a single male and we know 1 of the females has been shot as she was flying off a shed while out for a walk with a neighbour. She had been hand raised by me as she was orphaned as a duckling so was very tame. She was shot on a property where apparently no shooting took place so it would seem it was by a neighbour who was trespassing. How low can they get?
Oh yes and the last female she too has disappeared but that is no suprise is it?

Deb, that’s appalling. Regardless of your thoughts on others people’s pursuits, whether recreational or for the table, the fact that you’re advocating murder is disgusting.

I wish those ‘hunters’ would die too. Sorry excuse for human beings….

How bout we have a duck-hunter shooting season instead.. and blow some of those self-inflated egos to bits. Why should wildlife pay for an ego.. because that’s all it is.

I am a proud duck hunter and I always will be. You guys/ladies are welcome to come hunting with me next opening day just make sure you have your firearms licence and a game bird licence on you. Enjoy the rest of your day.