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Some people are known to get a bit depressed in the autumn.  Maybe it’s the thought of winter coming, shorter days and a weather pattern that’s not inspiring.  But for me there’s a lot for the southern man to look forward to.  Fish are running to spawn, stags are roaring and Duck shooting is just around the corner.

This year I kind of missed some of the action.  Work pressure.  I had a meaningful discussion with a stag in the Hokonuis one night that lasted more than an hour but in the end his better judgement of not closing in for the challenge probably saved his life.  The weather in the Te Anau basin during April meant all my favourite rivers were almost unfishable except for one challenging Saturday afternoon when I was able to hook three fish in the Upper Upukerora in less than ideal conditions.

Duck shooting has come and gone and would you believe it, we had a twenty five year flood in the week preceding this hugely important male bonding event.  Duck hunting and especially the first weekend is a significant event in our family.  If you are not in hospital and are resident in New Zealand you are expected to be there.  One son even travelled from Australia this year.  Pity about the rain, we were able to harvest about a quarter of our usual tally.  The ducks just had too many options, surface water everywhere.  They are dabble ducks and love to feed on worms and grubs washed out by the rain and flooding.   But that’s why we hunt,  the challenge of the conditions is part of the attraction. A bit of generosity from some who took pity on our paucity of catch has made sure we will not miss out on the culinary side of the event.

One of my wetlands

Over the year I’ve created three wetlands.  Duck hunting is a small part of the pleasure that they give.  They certainly add character the property, and are visually attractive.  The increased bird life is a real plus.  Last year I even saw a marsh crake, well outside their expected range.  The older I get the greener I seem to be getting.

From time to time I get a bit of stick about the cruelty aspect from the ducks point of view.  The food chain is actually a bit like that.  Those at the top of the protein pyramid tend to make use of those underneath.  In the sixties and seventies Tom Caithness was employed by Internal Affairs, before Fish and Game days, to conduct surveys and shooter kills and impacts on duck populations.  I diligently used to complete that survey so was lucky enough to get the results for consumption each year.  Interestingly hunters only kill on average 20.3% of the total duck population.  So why are we not getting more and more ducks, as they can produce large clutches each year?  Nature takes care of it.  The biggest killer of ducks is starvation during the winter, especially coupled with predation by cats, hawks and stoats etc.  By shooting them we save them from a fate worse than death, well that’s my justification.

Ducks can vary quite a bit in flavour.  For some people they are much to strong.  When ducks are eating worms or insects like crickets, they can develop a strong ‘nutty’ flavour.  There are many ways of improving the palatability for sensitive palates such as the attached menu.

BARBEQUED DUCK BREAST

The success of this recipe is the detail applied to creating the marinade.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raspberry vinegar, 2 tbsp raw sugar, 3 dsps Kikkoman soy sauce, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 dsps olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, plus ground black pepper.  Blend together.  This is enough marinade for 4 duck breasts.

Marinade for two to three days, will then keep in the fridge for up to 10 days.  BBQ as if rare or medium rare steak.  Slice across the grain of the breast to serve.

Contact Me

Thanks for visiting my website.
You can contact me either by email me here, phone my electorate office on 218 7749, or call in to 97 Dee Street Invercargill (opposite Waxy O'Shea's).

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Authorised by Eric Roy, 97 Dee St, Invercargill

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