Issue 88 - Apr/May 2022  |  
On Sale Mon 11th April 2022

By the time you read this the roar will be well underway!

We were able to squeeze in a couple of epic trips that you’ll see on the new season TV Show episodes very shortly. As I write this we have just gone into the Red Traffic Light setting due to the imminent Omicron outbreak, and who knows just how this is going to affect our hunting for the foreseeable future? The rules around close contacts and self-isolation mean potentially a significant percentage of the population may have to stay at home at any one time.

We’re about to head in on a West Coast Red stag mission, a little early yet but hopefully we can find a big old stag going walkabout checking what hinds are where before he settles down to the serious business of passing on his genes. The East Coast is copping a lot more rain so hopefully the West Coast will stay fine and cloud free – clag being the perennial problem of a “Coast” hunter even when it’s not raining!

And for the waterfowlers, we’re in the run down to the duck season, only a month to go. I was in the Canterbury region over the two weekends NC F&G ran their trial “Summer Duck” season this year, and was interested to see how it worked out. There are some potential issues with shooting Mallards in February:

  1. Only a small percentage of hunters actually do it, and they wise up or kill many ducks which definitely will have an effect on the traditional opening weekend when all hunters do go out
  2. The combination of skinnier young ducks and warmer temperatures mean there will be less utilisation of the meat
  3. They are shooting on harvested crops so they are not helping with crop predation issues (if any) at all.

On the plus side it does provide an extra shooting opportunity for a few shooters, and if duck populations are extremely high there may be a harvestable surplus that might die off before the traditional May opening. I simply do not believe this to be the case in the North Canterbury region. As any biological reasons for it are dubious, I believe F&G NC must run a survey of their gamebird hunters and see if the majority support the summer season. If not, then don’t do it.

The big, bad news for North Island Sika hunters is East Kaweka Helicopters shutting up shop. Anyone who’s had the pleasure of flying with our dear mate Chris Crosse from EKH will know what a disaster this is for the Kawekas. He has such a wealth of knowledge on all things Sika and Kaweka. You only needed to look at the huge number of 8 point heads right around the walls of his hanger, all shot by him throughout the Park during his many years as a passionate recreational hunter, until he started EKH which put a stop to his own hunting. Then he devoted his energy to helping his many clients get the best out of their own experiences. When he told you to go here and have a look there, it’s because he’d done the hard yards on the ground and really knew his stuff. He was also invaluable in our Kaweka Liaison Group working with DOC trying to get the best for both conservation and recreation in our beloved Kaweka Forest Park. His eye in the sky gave us hugely helpful up to date Intel on things like where the Contorta pines were getting away, tracks and huts that needed attention, and he also donated a huge amount of helicopter time for our Save Our Kaweka Kiwi operation run by dedicated volunteers.  Not only flying in traps, but when the girls had to do a nest raid in some far flung corner of the kiwi area, Chris and his R44 yellow bumble bee was always there to bring the chick out so it could be got to the crèche a lot quicker than if by “shank’s pony”.

Chris lost out on his busiest part of the year when the Covid outbreak first hit two years ago which was a huge set back. And now this roar with Omicron rampaging through the country, it was going to make a one man band operation like his near impossible. If he came down with Covid during the peak of the roar when he had hunters in the hills everywhere, it would have been a disaster. Having to self-isolate, and pay another operator if he could find one to service his clients was going to be a logistical nightmare and a huge cost. On top of that there were the new requirements after the DOC helicopter crash in Wanaka to be able to continue to do DOC work including having to install further electronic equipment including video and audio data recorders. Then his DOC concession to operate an air transport operation in the Kawekas, Kaimanawas and Ruahines was up for renewal, requiring a lengthy consultation process – which is a very slow and laborious process as we know all too well. Chris also battled DOC over their unrealistic demands for concession fees which impacted hugely on his clients. The last straw was the ever-increasing compliance costs from CAA in order to run an air transport business.

Simply, poor old Chris has had enough, and now another hugely valued and iconic small business has found it impossible to continue. A sad indictment on where we seem to be headed in our overly bureaucratic, PC society where no one has any personal responsibility anymore…

The only bright side is if Chris manages to get his business closed down and helicopters sold in time, he might be able to come Sika hunting this roar and you’ll get to see him on an episode again!

Please all take care this roar.

The winners for last issue are Robin Thompson and Tom Wright. The logos were on the AJ Productions advert on page 37 and the Huntech advert on page 74.


In this issue:

  • Lockie McKenzie and his friends’ Alpine Double
  • A Kaimanawa Giant by Clint White
  • Kaweka Crusty Demons in the George
  • Alex Gale – It’s Called Perseverance!
  • Pat Barrett’s Tahr Tangle at the Tarns
  • Mr Consistent – Richard Williams in the Ruahines
  • Kevin Watson – Sounding Out The Rut
  • Search and Rescue by Mark Kirkwood
  • Andrew Allen, the Fiordland First Timers
  • Tahr Ballot Blocks |The Mahitahi - by Cam McKay
  • Matt Winter – New Zealand Plants | Manuka & Kanuka
  • Hunting is Active Recreation  by Michael McCormack
  • Robin Saddle Hut– Permolat
  • Luke Care hunts Wyoming Coyote
  • Public Land Waterfowl by Callum McKenzie
  • Mai Oh Mai by Corey Carston
  • My Kaweka Hunting Adventure by Spencer Simkin
  • Whole Rotisserie Duck by Richard Hingston

Test Fires: We Evaluate...

  • The Ironman Swag Bag Sleeping Bag
  • Sig Sauer’s Kilo 5K Rangefinder
  • Ridgeline Hybrid Trek 45l Daypack
  • Zamberlan Mountain Trek GTX RR Boots

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