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Local Hunting Locations & Access

Otago is a gamebird hunters’ paradise. The region offers hunters a wide variety of different experiences; from decoying mobs of mallards over costal wetlands, to flushing quail in high country scrubland, and stalking Canada geese on mountain riverbeds.

Waterfowl hunting is a fascinating sport. If the Fish & Game Councils can assist you get more from your sport, we will only be too happy to do so. Enjoy your hunting.


Fish & Game Otago has a variety of information to help your gamebird hunting:

  • Brochures on waterfowl hunting for beginners, Canada goose hunting, Parrie hunting, evening shooting, wetland development, Pheasant hunting, Quail hunting, maimai building.
  • Wetlands and ponds: Otago staff are happy to discuss and visit a site to advise on wetland creation or enhancement.
  • Fish & Game New Zealand magazines: Our office and major licence agents have free additional copies of the Fish & Game magazine.
  • Hunting advice : we can advise you on all aspects of hunting and hunting areas
  • Riverbank management: Otago staff can provide information to assist with the management of riverbanks to minimise erosion and provide sport fish and game habitat.


A hunting licence does not give you access to any land. Riverbeds of the larger rivers are usually crown-owned but you should still clear access to these with the local city or borough council. All farms are privately owned and permission must be obtained first from farm owners, but make your enquiries about access for the shooting season after the lambing season (October) and before the end of February as this is a fairly quiet time for most farmers.

Wildlife Management Reserves exist in most Fish & Game Council regions to which you can gain access, and many of these have permanent duck blinds, which are balloted for each year. Enquire at your local Fish & Game Council or DOC office. Joining your local Fish & Game Council club or gun club will also put you in touch with other hunters who can give you additional information on where you can hunt, and where you may find a hunting partner.

One aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked is the possibility of building your own dam or duck-shooting pond. Most farms have a marshy area that could be ‘blown’ or a small stream that could be dammed to provide waterfowl hunting. Pamphlets from Fish & Game Council offices can assist you in how to make ponds, and of course you are providing much-needed habitat for all the wildlife that are dependent upon wetlands for survival.


The stronghold of the mallard population is located in the fertile and productive farmlands of South and West Otago. Large numbers of mallards can also be found on coastal estuaries, the Lake Waihola/Waipori wetlands, Lake Tuakitoto, Lower Taieri and Upper Taieri wetland areas.

Lakes Waihola and Waipori are two large coastal lakes set in a wetland complex including the renowned Sinclair Wetlands. The lakes and much of the wetland complex is publicly owned and therefore open to shooters to claim a hunting possie.

After the opening weekend rush there is always a vacant mai mai to hunt from and some good bags are taken right through the season. The same can be said for Lake Tuakitoto a little further south and the lower Clutha and Taieri Rivers.


Canada geese are concentrated into several areas and can be hunted every month other than April. The most popular times to hunt are in winter, early spring and late summer.

Geese can be found in most high country areas with resident populations in the Matukituki, Makarora, Hunter, Upper Taieri and Manuherikia River valleys. There are also excellent hunting opportunities in the Upper Clutha basin at Glenorchy, and on many of the Central Otago reservoirs. Smaller populations can be found on many of the coastal estuaries and wetlands as well.

Central Otago and the Southern lakes area are the best locations, just call our Dunedin or Cromwell office for up to date locations of goose populations and we can even hire out decoys to bring 'em in.


Upland game hunting for Californian quail is generally done on private property, mostly high country sheep stations in the drier parts of Central Otago including the Earnscleugh, Omakau, Bannock Burn, Ida, Patearoa and Tarras areas to name a few. Healthy quail populations are scattered throughout Central Otago and the Southern Lakes.

Permission from landowners is required before hunting, but using a polite approach, hunters are seldom denied access and may even be given a few pointers.


Canada goose decoys, coffin blinds and camouflage nets are also available for hire.

More information: Contact our Dunedin Office for advice and brochures on hunting and wetland creation.