Issue 89 - June/July 2022  |  
On Sale Mon 13th June 2022

We’re rapidly approaching winter for real now, with the longest day not far away

I would suggest anyone wanting to experience a tahr rut hunt without any helicopter disturbances would do well to get into the Southern Alps this year, as with borders opening up the helicopter operators tell me they have a lot of bookings for trophy bull tahr heli-hunts/AATH next year. With the significant (and much needed in some areas) lowering of tahr numbers, there are going to be a lot less bulls to go round in the future, and the competition for those bulls is definitely going to become more intense.

This roar has been a real mix of emotions for us, with some wonderful fine weather allowing hunters to get far and wide and into places they’ve never been before. This has been both a boon and unfortunately a disaster, due to far too many hunters not adhering to the simple principles of game management and backcountry etiquette.

The poor old Wapiti herd copped a real pasting, with all the wrong sorts of bulls going down through all the essential core Wapiti blocks. The transport boat operator told us he was appalled by what hunters were bringing out – eight immature bulls out of one block in the same period alone! Some hunters were shooting not only all the wrong three to seven year old bulls, but in some cases several of them each! Then posting videos on social media laughing about it saying things like “This bull needed another 3 years haha…” and similar. We are seeing videos of bulls getting shot with no attempt at all to follow the FWF’s aging guidelines. Unfortunately the same thing happened to a greater extent than normal right across all our iconic deer herds.

We also witnessed complete ignorance of the most basic high country manners and ethics. My wife Fiona finally won her first Wapiti block this year and on day six of the 3rd period we dropped down to the popular camping site at the start of the Nitz Flats. We were greeted by the disgusting sight and smell of unburied human excrement and loo paper everywhere. And 100 yards upstream a young Wapiti bull lying rotting in the middle of the river, after whoever shot it had made a pathetic attempt to bury and hide it. I challenge those who had the Lower Glaisnock 1st and 2nd periods to name those responsible for that mess, or you will all be blamed for it. You guys will know who it was…

Yet again we encountered the same human excrement issue and other rubbish in Sika country. For Pete’s sake people - bury your shit! And I don’t mean sprinkling a little moss or some such on it that is gone with the first shower of rain or a blackbird or weka can scratch off. Roll a rock/rocks or a log/logs, or bury it with a spade/trowel, and make absolutely sure no-one else is going to have to witness your doings or the loo paper that goes with it! In one case the same people leaving their excrement everywhere also shot multiple young Sika stags and took nothing more than the back steaks.

Then we roll on to the opening weekend of duck season, and again see examples of indefensible ethics with ducks getting dumped everywhere with no effort to take meat off them. And the guys shooting the most ducks seem to all-too-often be the ones doing the dumping. Its bloody simple - if you shoot it, you eat it! Or process the meat and give it to someone who will eat it. That is the only way we can justify what we do, especially in regards to waterfowling where no one can say they couldn’t carry the whole carcase of a duck - as is the case a lot of the time big game hunting in the mountains.

For those of us who spend so much of our time fighting politically for the future of game animals and hunting, this stuff is hugely disappointing. Those selfish, disgusting individuals among us who are responsible for this type of behaviour do all of us a huge disservice, and I really do wonder if I’m wasting my time trying to represent us to those in power and the wider public when that kind of behaviour brings us down. We are not the only users of public land, and I continually get told “You hunters are just selfish pigs with no consideration for other back country users so we care little for your views” when I’m trying to further our cause among wider interest groups. It’s the same old bad egg minority dragging the rest of us down, but the only way we are going to bring these clowns into line is via peer pressure. We have no laws to punish this sort of behaviour and if their own moral compass doesn’t tell them to change their ways, then the only repercussions for their actions are the rest of us standing up to them and saying enough is enough. Have a word to anyone who’s letting the side down, and if that doesn’t work then publically out the serial offenders and make it very clear they do not represent the hunting majority! The future of our recreation that we are all so passionate about is in the hands of every one of us!

On a more positive note, see the GAC update on page 80 for yet another fantastic example of hunter-led management following on from the Tahr Foundation’s effort last issue. Hats off to the GAC team who really made this happen. This is the sort of stuff that gives us real credibility in our fight for game animal management.

Following on from that is the announcement of the Te Ara Ki Mua plan for deer management and goat control. We’ll have an in-depth article on it next issue when the whole plan is released, but from what we’ve seen so far even the language is a huge step forward. See this quote directly from the central government 2022 Wellbeing Budget:  'designed to balance the ecological impacts with the cultural, recreational and economic values that these animals may provide’ - a far cry from 1956 and Noxious Animals Act!

This has come about from the hard work of those in the GAC and Wapiti, Sika and Tahr Foundations, earning us a seat at the table at the earliest stages of management plan formulation.

Now really is the time to capitalise on all their hard work - not give others reasons to ignore us!.

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.


Spot the logo: The winners for issue 88 are Mark Sceats and Erol Johnson. The logo appeared on page 111, the Gunworks advert.

Subscription draw winners are: Steve Healy - Helicopter voucher valued at $1200 | Tristan Corbett -  Garmin Instinct Tactical Watch (RRP $869) | Steve Berrill - Huntech Tussock Jacket (RRP $499)

In this issue:

  • Luke and Samantha explore the Barlow River tahr ballot landing site
  • A Roar to Remember for Laurie Aitken
  • We All get Lucky – Whitetail with Lucas Orr
  • James and Riley Maw with a cracker first Sika
  • The Bush Piglet – A new rifle build series
  • Mitch Thorn’s Winter Tahr Hunting
  • Chamois By Bow – Josh Wright
  • Roy Sloan – How To Invent an Environmental Disaster
  • Cody Weller runs through post-roar hunting opportunities
  • Upper Greenstone Fallow – Johnny Cooks
  • Franco Formisano shares the details of the Pinkeye Project
  • Tahr Ballot Blocks |The Otoko - by Cam McKay
  • Skin Tanning – What’s Involved?
  • Stan’s Hut– Remote Huts
  • Game Animals of New Zealand – by Gwyn Thurlow and Franco Formisano
  • Archie Landals and his hunt for Artic Muskox
  • On Golden Pond – Opening Weekend with Tracey Morrow
  • Lemon, Honey and Hawberry Tart by Richard Hingston

Test Fires: We Evaluate...

  • Beretta’s A400 Lite
  • MSR Hubba Hubba 2p tent
  • The new Fish and Game Cookbook

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