Issue 80 - Dec 2020/Jan 2021  |  
On Sale Mon 30th December 2020

This spring has had the usual mix of weather so far, but we have had a few cracker days in between fronts that we’ve managed to get up high on the mountains and down low in the rivers and make the most of.

By the time you read this the deer should be mostly in their summer coats except for the yearlings which are always the last to change, making these young and tender animals easier to distinguish – just try and leave the knobbies, the yearling stags!

The election has been and gone and we have a new Conservation Minister for the next three years. Kiripatu Allan is by all reports a very astute person and I am hopeful we will be able to build a good working relationship with her and work constructively on some of the issues that we were shafted on under the previous regime. As we said last issue, there are some very important issues to be dealt with over the coming year – what we are going to do about deer where their numbers are above what is environmentally sustainable or good for hunting? Then the next iteration of the yearly tahr control plan and the longer term plan going forward. Yes, we’ve only just finished this year’s debacle over tahr but we need to start planning for the coming year including trying to get the Department to do the science and research we recommended at the recent tahr research forum in Christchurch. An adaptive management process is how the ’93 HTCP stipulated tahr management was supposed to be undertaken. Do some culling, monitor the vegetation, then re-evaluate the need for further culling. Without good science, we cannot make informed management decisions on whether tahr need to be culled or not. This leaves tahr at the mercy of the outdated target levels set out in the ‘93 plan.

We have seen the Department’s briefing paper to the new Minister, and it’s very disappointing to see the blatant inaccuracies in it regarding tahr. It says only 11,000 tahr have been culled since 2017 (clearly untrue with more than that number killed in 2019 alone, and 2018 and 2020s hugely increased control effort being completely left out), and that there will be a further 14,000 culled by June 2022. At the next tahr liaison group meeting the 2021-2022 operational plan is due to be discussed. It seems that this will be a waste of time again as DOC has already made up its mind that they are going to kill another 14,000 tahr. We are not sure where they think they will find that many to kill without spending exorbitant amounts of taxpayers’ money looking for the very last animals? The briefing paper indicates that the number killed is the objective, which is not adhering to the intervention density principle as stipulated in the ’93 HTCP. DOC quotes chapter and verse from the ‘93 plan when it suits them and then completely ignores it when it doesn’t. This blatant campaign of misinformation to the incoming Minister by the Department is hugely disturbing, and we can only assume it has been done to unfairly influence her. This is just yet another example of blatant lies and propaganda by some within the Department recently on the tahr issue in particular. I really do not understand why DOC hierarchy continue to allow this sort of BS to be put out by their staff? This is continuing to do huge damage to relationships between the Department and the big game hunting sector. With the deer issue next on the agenda and needing a much more collaborative approach, why do they continue to allow a few staff members to continue to undermine these processes? Again, it is time these individuals were held to account for the money they have wasted and the damage they have done, or things do not bode well for the future.

In the meantime, as is clearly stated by Cam and Roy in the start of the new article series on page 26 in this issue, do your bit and help control deer numbers by shooting hinds as much as possible. No one is insisting you shoot hinds with fawns at foot - but hinds yet to drop, yearling hinds and barren hinds should most certainly be targeted. As Cam says, in a lot of these over populated areas 50% of the hinds do not give birth every year, so there are plenty of females you can target over the summer period without any animal welfare issues. And the hinds are day in, day out the fattest animals in the herd – until late summer when the stags are piling on the condition before the roar. Your eating animals for the freezer over summer should be females – not silly spikers and stags in velvet.

We hope you all have a great Christmas and holiday period, but don’t spend all your time eating and drinking – get out and make the most of the hopefully settled summer weather and climb some hills and see some new country!

The Spot the Logo winners for last issue are Andrew Lang and Duncan Spall. The logos were on page 57 in the A-Tec advert and on page 71 in the Ledlenser advert.


In this issue:

  • The Midnight Bull – Jason Van Beer’s huge 2017 Wapiti bull
  • Exploring some Marlborough high country with Luke Care
  • Hamish Norton’s redemption alpine double
  • West Coast Summer Chamois with Brenden Yaxley
  • Whitetail on Stewart Island by Gordon George
  • Women in hunting – Hannah Rae
  • What calibre do I choose? By Luke Care
  • The anatomy of a rifle cartridge – by Jared Hearsey
  • Hiding in plain sight – Cody Weller
  • Overnight hunting – Johnny Bissell
  • Bill Calver’s hunters guide to growing old disgracefully
  • Ash Trobridge – Hunting in Africa
  • Top Tuke Hut - Permolat
  • Is it safe to eat? Part VIII by Corey Carston
  • Well seasoned – Tracey Morrow
  • Barbequed Rabbit legs by Richard Hingston

Test Fires: We Evaluate...

  • Garmin Alpha 200i – Dog tracker and InReach
  • Ridgeline Microlite summer shirts

placeholder image
placeholder image
placeholder image
placeholder image
placeholder image
placeholder image

e-magazine available online

You can purchase electronic versions of the magazine on ZINIO for viewing on the following devices: Rim, iPad, WebOS, Android, Win8, PC/MAC.

Buy the Printed magazine:

You can also easily subscribe to our original printed magazine plus if you are looking for older issues we can help you with that also.

Hunting for a Back Issue?