Otago duck numbers are looking good for the upcoming season, with a slight increase on last year.
Otago Fish and Game officer Paul van Klink, who has recently completed the annual mallard monitoring flights over Coastal and South Otago, said, "total numbers are well up on last year and on par with 2015-2017”.
“It was interesting to see how the ducks were spread throughout the region. The pattern was different from previous years."
The Southland and Central South Island counts were way up from previous years and van Klink suggested that while the data didn’t show a large increase in Otago, hunters should be very happy with the numbers overall.
Van Klink said the results backed up what the MetService and farmers had been saying—it has been very dry in South Otago, so several ponds lacked enough water and habitat to support mallard populations.
"Many smaller ponds were much lower or completely dry with no ducks at all. Mallards were in good numbers in larger ponds and along the river transects, especially the Taieri and the Pomahaka,” he said.
Recent rain in Otago should have helped the situation and the ducks should spread out amongst the smaller ponds dotted around the countryside—just in time for opening.