Issue 79 - Oct/Nov 2020  |  
On Sale Mon 5th October 2020

Most of you will be aware of the result of the new consultation the High Court ordered DOC to do over the second half of their 20/21 Tahr Control Operational Plan.

The whole hunting sector put a huge amount of effort into presenting facts, population modelling and options to the Department, but unfortunately it largely fell on deaf ears. We could not save the bulls in the National Parks, and DOC intend to continue to do all the hours they originally planned in their initial farcical consultation. Outside the NPs the GAC has been able to sit down with DOC and make suggestions based on the GAC’s submission including population modelling showing areas DOC should spend their hours on and the areas they should leave alone - areas where the population is already low, or are very popular and accessible places for recreational hunters. There was no opportunity for any further input into the culling inside the NPs, which is a real shame. Hunters have the best information on where the odd population hotspots still exist in the NPs – not DOC.  

There also needs to be some accountability for the cost of this whole tahr process. The hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees – both DOCs and ours, the real cost of the thousands of hours expended (the monetary value of DOC’s time, and the huge personal cost for all us volunteers who have tried to work constructively with the department) and the total undermining of the relationship between the hunting sector and DOC on what the High Court judge agreed was a fundamentally flawed consultation process. Those DOC officials responsible for this fiasco must be held to account.

The Department of Conservation is well underway with its discussion document on controlling deer numbers in various parts of New Zealand. If we end up with the current Minister of Conservation back after the election, then be prepared for another fight over our valued deer species in National Parks, after the precedent set with tahr.  There are, as we know, some areas with too many deer, and we hunters need to increase our efforts to control hind numbers in any areas where the population is medium to high. This is especially the case in the likes of some Recreational Hunting Areas, as we are the only ones currently who can control hinds in there. We cannot continue to allow numbers to sit above levels consistent with good environmental outcomes.  A current case in point is the Lake Sumner RHA, where access is good and you are allowed to land a helicopter anywhere. There are also reasonably priced local helicopter operators who fly hunters in there regularly so you can fly your meat out. There are high hind numbers in there at the moment and too many hunters go in there looking for a trophy stag and don’t shoot any hinds. A self-imposed rule of taking say three hinds per stag would help get numbers down, or if hunters won’t do the job, we may need to get the GAC to look at other ways of getting hind numbers down.

We will be working with the Department once the document is out, trying to get a more sensible outcome for hunters than with the tahr, but for all our sakes guys – get out there and shoot some hinds wherever you hunt! It will give us a much better foundation to work from if we can show hunters are doing their best. There will need to be some official control in some areas if WARO doesn’t start up again, and we need to be proactive about where and how this might happen. (None of us want uncontrolled, open slather, boom and bust WARO again either, but we need a means of controlling hind numbers)

Obviously any government that includes the Greens and the current Minister of Conservation will mean an escalation of the blitzkrieg campaign against our game animals.

At this stage I cannot tell you who to vote for. If you look at what all the political parties have said, Act stands out with Nicole McKee saying all the right things on hunting, firearms and conservation. Nicole has integrity and if she does make it into government, then we most certainly will have someone we can work with there. NZ First has been able to moderate to some extent the excesses of the Greens on some issues like firearms and Tahrmageddon round one, but were unable to persuade the Minister of Conservation to be reasonable this time round. As to the major parties, we rarely make any headway with either of them as they don’t seem to see our votes as that important in the big scheme of things. National has been saying the right things on our issues such as reviewing the tahr plan but history shows they have been quick to forget us once actually in power and busy on major issues. We cannot find any Labour Party policy on outdoor recreation other than funding pest control and this could be interpreted as including deer etc.

One of the minor parties getting into a coalition government who will get stuff done for us is the only way we will make headway. Our recommendation is give your party vote to either Act or NZ First – depending on how good your crystal ball is as whether either of them can make it into government. As I said last issue, another three years of the current Minister of Conservation and the eco-fundamentalist ideology does not bear thinking about! 

Spring is round the corner, so get out there and shoot some hinds and fill the freezer before another cycle of fawns hit the ground!!

In this issue:

  • ‘No Good Yarn Starts With A Salad’ A West Coast Epic by Brad Ramsay
  • Steve Gillan’s Twilight Twelve
  • Fiordland Winter Chamois with Adam McGrath
  • Few and Far Between – Another West Coast Tahr with Jarrod Mclauchlan
  • Advice From A Hunting Newbie, Part 3 – Hannah Rae
  • The Bracken Face Boar by Jonathan Fulton
  • Toby Nicolls – Hunting with Llamas
  • Troy Mackenzie’s Sika Rut Trip
  • Points South – Spring Opportunities
  • Bush Hunting With Bow and Arrow, Part Two – Cody Weller
  • Johnny Bissell talks Day Hunting
  • Luke Care and Pronghorn of Wyoming’s High Plains
  • Recovery Strategies for the hunter by Michael McCormack
  • Josh Wiggins’s Tararua Hunting Trip
  • Stories From our Kids
  • Conservation Week – Jason Van Beers
  • Permolat
  • Something’s Missing by Corey Carston
  • Pot Au Feu by Richard Hingston

Test Fires: We Evaluate...

  • Sako S20 Precision and Hunter with Steiner Optics
  • Bakewell Burner Basecamper Deluxe
  • Point6 Merino Socks

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