The weather conditions suited the ducks for the first weekend of the 2021 game bird season around the country. Around 45,000 hunters were out in calm, sunny conditions. Fish & Game says hunter numbers were strong and in the Auckland/Waikato region, with the ducks flying high out of range of the hunters the clear weather making hunting hard and meaning the number of birds harvested was low. The Gisborne area bucked the trend with squally weather leading to paradise shelduck numbers harvested being up. In the Southern Wairarapa Rangers initially clear weather led to a slow start but when the weather worsened hunting improved. On the West Coast fantastic weather was very much in the ducks’ favour while North Canterbury hunters had low cloud and drizzle to start, but it cleared and the birds flew high. The Mackenzie country had a cracker of a morning but plenty of birds were still harvested while early fog in South Otago lifted to clear skies and a little breeze.