Kurtis Smith in foreground Photo: Fish and Game

Duck season off to a good start

by Mike Isle

Rangiora resident Kurtis Smith has spina bifida, but that hasn’t stopped him living the long-held dream of going duck shooting — thanks to a mate he met on Facebook.

Kurtis has always wanted to go duck hunting, and when he saw a Facebook post from Jarrad Melhopt offering a new hunter the opportunity to go game bird hunting, Kurtis took it.

With Kiwi ingenuity, they made a bridge from two old fences and some plywood to give him access to the hunting spot. Kurtis parked his wheelchair for the day and could use his crutches to get out onto the pond in the Selwyn District. He soon bagged his first duck and many more were to come as the day progressed.

It was one of many success stories coming out of the first day of the 2019 duck shooting season.

In Selwyn, weather was pleasant with fog in northern areas helping pond hunters in particular. North Canterbury Fish & Game officer Dirk Barr said hunters were out in large numbers.

“Most hunters in the area shot two or more birds in the first hour, and some in the right places had very good tallies, with some reaching their bag limit of 25 birds,” Mr Barr said.

One seasoned hunter said that he hadn’t seen as many birds in the past 20 years.

Fish & Game communications adviser Richard Cosgrove said that hunters appear to have taken on board ‘safety first’ advice and other messages — those relating to new firearm laws.

“We’ve had no reports of any firearm-related incidents or injuries, which is gratifying given the thousands who have headed out to harvest birds.