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Fine weather and light winds favoured the ducks on the opening day of the season on Saturday, before late rain improved hunting conditions.

Most hunters did the right thing but a small number ignored the rules, Otago Fish & Game officer Bruce Quirey said.

Almost 4000 game bird licence holders took part on opening day in the region.

“Licence holders have a chance to harvest free-range food from the sky for the next three months,” he said.

“Duck hunting has a long tradition of friends and family coming together for the harvest and is as legitimate today as it was 100 years ago.”

Piper Gibb-Jeffery (6), of Dunedin, with a Canada goose on her first opening day in Omakau. PHOTO: CODY JEFFERY

Rangers patrolled across the region with police support and found about 95% of hunters were complying with regulations.

“We are pleased our ranging efforts on opening weekend found the vast majority of duck hunters doing the right thing,” Mr Quirey said.

“But we were disappointed that a small number of hunters chose to ignore the rules and they will face consequences.”

Four firearms were seized for offences in Otago, including hunting without a game bird licence, leaving firearms unattended, and shooting with lead near water.