Issue 87 - Feb/Mar 2022  |  
On Sale Mon 7th February 2022

The Christmas break is over and I hope you all managed to make the most of it.

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.

With Omicron’s spread being so explosive, everyone is going to be affected to some extent at some stage. One major concern is what the Department of Conservation decides to do with public conservation land (PCL). They have shut PCL down in previous lockdowns with the reason given being the drain on/risk to emergency services if anyone gets sick or has an accident in the hills. With the potential for much larger numbers of people to be coming down with Omicron while in the hills than with the previous strains, and some potentially needing medevac’ing, we’ll just have to wait and see what our risk averse Government and Department decide to do.

Let’s hope we can still access PCL over the coming roar and rut periods, and we don’t end up shut out like the roar before last…

The usual race to the bottom has begun with hunters egging each other on with the “They’re hard already!” at Christmas time and such like claims on social media. Shooting velvet stags before they have fully calcified leaves you with a “polystyrene” trophy that doesn’t weigh anything like it should, even if they look fully formed on the outside.  

The Europeans measure trophy quality by antler weight, and maybe if we did the same, there would be less incentive to target stags too early. The NZDA also used to only allow trophies naturally rubbed up to be entered in their competitions. A stag taken before the roar is robbing the area of essential genetics, and this is why the FWF has stopped all pre-bugle hunting. Ideally we need the best stags/bulls to at least cover the hind’s/cow’s first cycle before they are taken out, so their genetics carry on.

With Waro largely targeting stags at the moment, our deer herds are seriously out of balance in a lot of places, with the hind/stag ratio all wrong. It’s a hard call some times, but please think really carefully about what you’re shooting. If it’s the trophy of your life time then nobody’s going to criticise you for shooting it, but if it’s just another nice stag that’s going to end up in your shed, then take a photo and leave it for the herd.

Don’t be like some you see on social media or TV who should know better, shooting the best stags they can find out of every valley, doing huge damage to the genetics of the deer herd they leave behind. And if you want some good meat then please shoot a hind!

Stop, evaluate and think before you pull the trigger this roar - and both our deer herds and our fellow hunters will be a lot better for it!!

The winners for last issue are Bryan Vickery and John Bowen. The logos were on the Hunters Element advert page 18 and the Rab Clothing advert page 68.


In this issue:

  • Hard Work Paid Off – Shaun Travers and Jack Rowe’s incredible pair of 300DS stags
  • Karl Puklowski’s epic Dark River Wapiti bull
  • Moa Versus Deer – Hannah Rae explores the debate
  • Luke and Samantha explore the Hopkins River
  • Mitch Thorn – Somewhere New
  • Privilege and sacrifice by Kate Aynsley
  • What Camera Should I Buy? Part 7, Photo Editing
  • Born In The USA Part II – Treestand techniques by Cody Weller
  • Greig Caigou - Everything Less Matters
  • Tahr Ballot Blocks |The Jacobs - by Cam McKay
  • Scamper Torrent Hut– Permolat
  • British Columbia Elk by Timothy Mclanachan
  • Getting the best out of your layout blind – Part 2 by Corey Carston
  • Wagging School by Joel Dustin
  • The Stalk – Zac Wing
  • Venison shank ragu and pasta by Richard Hingston

Test Fires: We Evaluate...

  • Benelli Lupo in 3
  • Hunters Element Atlas Coat

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