• May 20, 2020
UNKNOWING DUCKS ON LAKE ROTORUA. PHOTO: GORDON PREECE
Duck-dog training and father-son bonding alike have been delayed as lockdown conditions made it difficult for the shooting season to get underway.
The season is now set to restart this week after being postponed from May 2 until the second weekend after New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2 for Covid-19.
Lockdown caused all nationwide gun-dog trials to shut down, said Graeme Palmer, New Zealand Gundog Trial Association president.
“The effect that’s had on people is they haven’t been able to get out and train their dogs for duck-shooting season and the rest of the year,” he says.
Mr Palmer says training commences once someone gets an 8-week-old pup and the first 18 months are putting in place all the basics before upgrading to advanced training.
“I’ve got a mate whose dog is 14 months old and is in the middle of the important training phase and couldn’t get out to the Waimakariri River to train it as the area was gated off,” he says.
Rotorua duck shooters Jim Tamblin and Dural Lash say their tradition for opening weekend is going to a Gisborne farm with their sons and is a time for father and son bonding.
Mr Lash says the delayed season has a "funny feeling" as he was almost getting use to the idea it wasn’t going to happen.
“I don’t think it’s going to work for my son to get up from Wellington, so it won’t be the norm. Our expectations are lower,” he says.
Mr Tamblin says that his tradition is to go to Rotorua Rod & Gun Club every season.
“I do clay bird shooting for target practice to ensure my guns are working safely,” Mr Tamblin says.
Rotorua Rod & Gun Club closed at the beginning of lockdown.
The season will run until June 21 for all regions.