Issue 86 - Dec 2021/Jan 2022  |  
On Sale Mon 29th November 2021

This spring has been totally dictated to by Covid, and as I write this the Auckland outbreak is now well and truly marching its way down the country.

Those in the South Island have not been affected too much yet, but we can all see it’s only a matter of time. Auckland hunters have been locked at home for months now, and frustration is spreading throughout the community. It’s going to be a very interesting Christmas indeed! 

At the end of October lobby group Forest & Bird did another of their media beat ups, claiming that game animal numbers are at “crisis level” and our forests, our “largest living carbon sinks are on a death watch”. This is yet another case of carefully chosen language, inuendo, data misuse and manipulation to try and tell a tale. They misused DOC’s FPI plot data in which they count all ungulates poos including sheep - but F&B neglected to tell you that didn’t they! The quality of the data is made clear when we look at one of these so-called crisis points which is in fenced sheep farmland on Kaitorete Spit between Lake Ellesmere and the sea on the Canterbury Plains! I’ll give you one guess as to which species has caused dangerous amounts of poo in that plot – and it ain’t deer! There have been periods in our history where animal numbers were much greater than they are today and when I last looked the forest was still there.

The intent of this F&B campaign is to totally mislead the public into thinking deer are exploding everywhere (which they most definitely are not) and that our forests are about to collapse around us at any moment. One picture of a deer in the Wellington water catchment, which is basically closed for hunting, and suddenly they are in plague proportions. There are certainly places where we need more control of numbers on and around a lot of farm land but on large chunks of the backcountry deer numbers are still only slowly recovering from the extensive Waro of a couple of years ago and there is still Waro going on in some areas at the moment. Yes, there are some areas of that backcountry that do need some hind management, and we are already working with the GAC and the Department of Conservation on programs to address these areas right now. 

But do you see F&B contribute in any way to these management programs? Not on your life! They just sit outside the processes, claim catastrophic consequences using cooked up data, and threaten court cases against the Department when it suits them – just as they did in the tahr debate. I have had the misfortune to sit round the Tahr Liaison Group meetings with them, and they do not contribute constructively at all, sticking to outdated ideology like expecting DOC to eradicate tahr out of National Parks which is unachievable and pointless as long as you control nannies to low levels. Targeting all the bulls is totally counterproductive, as we’ve discussed many times recently.

So, are they really about conservation? No this is nothing more than a money go round. It is about making noise and creating conflict in order to try and hoodwink the uninformed public into believing F&B are the savior of the planet and so give them more money to make more noise to get more money. They actually don’t want solutions to any of these issues because solutions mean no conflict which means no money. Remember F&B’s staff are all paid and need to generate money to keep their jobs. They are not volunteers like the vast majority of the hunting sector who are trying to contribute constructively to managing game animals. I wonder how many would carry on if they were volunteers like the rest of us?! Hunters and hunting organisations contribute far more to real, on the ground conservation than F&B ever has… 

The one shining light currently is the Minister of Conservation Hon Kiritapu Allan.  As many of you may be aware the Minister took the opportunity to attend this year’s Parliamentary hunting trip organised by the Game Animal Council where she and other MPs were able to experience hunting first hand. We also had the privilege of sitting down with her recently to discuss issues around hunting, conservation and what she wants to achieve during her term as Minister (See the interview page 12). There has been a massive change in direction from the previous Minster which has meant the Department of Conservation is now far more able to constructively and collaboratively engage with the hunting sector on hunting and game animal management issues to formulate sensible solutions for the future – for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

As we said above there are some areas with too many deer, and the GAC is working on some solutions for these at the moment. If and when deer management/control comes to your favourite area, please support this hunter lead management, even though it means a few less hinds. If we want a say over how deer are controlled, then we have to accept a low to moderate population of quality animals that don’t cause unacceptable damage to our environment. Destroyed habitats and skinny deer with poor trophy potential are no use to anyone.

And lastly, Johnny B is taking a break from writing for a while, but I’m sure we’ll see him back refreshed and renewed at some stage in the future!

Make the most of the summer hunting opportunities and we’ll see you all in the New Year when the new season of the TV Show kicks off in February!

Logo winners are Raymond McKenzie and Paulette Lloyd. Logos were in the Tikka advert on page 11 and the DPT suppressor on page 52


In this issue:

  • The Wapiti Dream – Emil’s story of his huge bull
  • Greg’s interview with the Minister of Conservation, Hon. Kiri Allan
  • Mountain Solitaire by Alex Pirouz-Schlutter
  • Pete Ryan – The Borrowed Gun
  • The Death of the Volunteer by Roy Sloan
  • What Are The Odds? A Kaweka Roar article by Dan Fake
  • The Sixth Instalment of ‘What Camera Should I Buy?’ - Lenses
  • Born In The USA – an Introduction to Tree Stands by Cody Weller
  • Art For The Wild At Heart, Madison Coulter’s Art Story
  • Matt Winter’s Series on Native Plants – Coprosmas
  • Summer Chamois Hunting by Cam Mckay
  • Young Kaedin Van Der Poel’s Red Stag Story
  • Protein – Part Three of a Nutrition Series by Michael McCormack
  • Pell Stream Hut – Permolat
  • Texas Auodad Rams by Tyron Southward
  • Corey Carston on Getting The Best Our Of Your Layout Blind – Part 1
  • Rabbit Kofta by Richard Hingston

Test Fires: We Evaluate...

  • UoVision Cellular Trail Camera – Cloud 3g LTE
  • Zamberlan Lynx Mid GTX boots

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