Good post Nathan,
I haven't hunted NZ but have hunted Australia.It was my understanding that years ago farmers etc got the Govt of New Zealand to kill a great deal og the non native introduced specie of wild game from helicopters etc in order to stop them from competing with their flocks of domestic animals for sustenance etc.
I also was under the inpression that Most of the hunting in yuor country was conducted behind Hi Fences.It appears from your post that i am wrong. Please comment.
38 replies [Last post]
Mon, 2007-06-04 04:17#21
Good post Nathan,
Tue, 2007-06-05 02:13#22
Hi Widux, sorry, this is going to be a long response as its not easy to explain NZ game in one sentence so here goes.
Native Maori arrive in NZ during 1200-1400's after migrating from PNG via the cook islands. Maori discover giant flightless birds which they name Moa (smallest Moa same size as a turkey, the largest Moa 14 foot tall) For the next 200 years the Maori population flourashes and grows using the Moa as athe main source of food and clothing.
1600's- Moa become extinct from hunting. The native forest ,which covers much of NZ and was grazed by the Moa now grows to the point of choking. The only mammals in NZ at this time consist of rats and Bats.
1800's- the first settlers arrive. Botanists take records of the native forest believing its choked state to be natural.
1800's- The acclimatisation society release game species to NZ to promote tourism and colonisation. By 1900, NZ has been divided up into settlements however the British Empiire set aside millions of acres of wilderness country as "crown owned land". This land (confiscated from the Maori). Modern terms include "State Forest", "recrational Hunting Area" and "National Parks".
1914- First world war takes most NZ males away to Europe. Mild winters and abundant food allow game to flourish to epidemic proportions. Game begin to decimate the native forests which sparks the Government to emply cullers. Forest service begin employing cullers after the war. Cullers rack up tallies of 1000 plus deer per season per culler.
1939- 1945- Second world war causes a repeat situation, after the war the cullers return in great numbers. Lee enfield barrels worn out in one season, aerial drops of case loads of .303 ammo are needed to supply cullers. Cullers begin experimenting with new cartridges/ calibres during the 1950's.
1960's-1970's- Deer gain commercial value (skins and meat), NZers returning from Vietnam war use airborne cavallry experience to pioneer Helicopter deer recovery. Combined with culling, game numbers drop dramatically.
1980's- Game numbers at an all time low. The Forest service is renamed The Department of Conservation. Most field staff are laid off however the offices of DOC grow considerably. In an effort to gain government funds and justify jobs, DOC staff continue to make issue about introduced game being a threat to the preservation of Native forests. Aerial shooting and poisoning campaigns begin in the 1990's. DOC strike a deal with hunting clubs to remove all rocky mountain Elk from Fiordland and re-introduce them into a more suitable reserve. Aerial recovery of Elk begins with the help of hunters however the animals are never relocated and instead become farm stock. Fortunately a number of El;k survive in the wild and begin to repopulate Fiordland.
2000- New Zealander Tony Orman releases a book called "About deer and deer stalking". In his book he writes about "the period of unnatural growth" refering to the period 1600-1800, from the time the Moa became extinct up until the first botanists recorded what they had thought was the forest's natural state but was infact an unnatural state. He also writes about the value of deer as an asset to Tourism. This book along with much hunter protests and media attention finally breaks DOC's regime. DOC is forced to change its zero Tolerance policy towards Deer in Native forests and wilderness Zones.
Present day- Elk, Sika, Rusa, Sambar, Fallow, Red deer, Thar, Chamois, wild European Boar, wild cattle, wild sheep, wild goat- all flourishing in wilderness zones. The public can hunt these areas free of charge at any time. That said, NZ wilderness zones have dangerous weather and must be traversed by foot (helicopter access is permitted). Keen hunters travel into these areas however many hunting guides prefer to buy or use private land bordering onto wilderness zones to secure private access (literally, a private portion of wilderness zone) and minimise hunting pressure.
One ruling that stays is that no guided hunting outfitter may introduce a game species from one area into another area which is not the typical home range of that species. As an example, the Home range of Elk is in the South Island therefore if an outfitter wants to have Elk in the North island, the outfitter must ring fence his land. This is where the high fence outfitters come in. In total there are three types of fenced hunting reserves in NZ.
The first is where the outfitter is hunting animals native to the area but wishes to be able to better manage game numbers without pushing game into harsh and remote zones due to hunting pressure. The client will hunt these animals in their natural environment while the guide is able to guarantee a good success rate.
The second form of fenced hunting comes from those who want to introduce a non native species from its home range into a new area. These blocks are usually located in wilderness zones also and consist of thousands of acres of mixed open country and native forest. Guides will usually do this due to their own fascination with a certain species along with a passion for preserving that breed.
The third type of fenced hunt is the one we don't like to talk about. Perhaps a deer farm that has gone bust, the size of the farm may be up to 150 acres and fenced into two acre paddocks. The deer have little to no cover and no escaope routes.
Apart from this, the majority of NZ guided hunting is performed on blocks of land that border directly onto Wilderness zones and are essentially the same country but under private ownership. (The system I use). These blocks do not need to be fenced and are often 10,000 plus acres with the option of hunting the hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands. Most of this land was parceled off to returned soldiers of the first world war for the purpose of farming however during the depression of the 1930's, many folk were forced to walk off their land, after which the land reverted to its natural state.
This type of land is essentially, private access to public lands. These blocks are the best as the private access ensures that public hunters are not accessing your hunting area keeping several miles distance between private and public hunting parties. Much of the returned tribal lands also fall into this catergory.
Guides, like myself, can take clients anywhere in the country onto public lands but our success rate may go down as low as 20%. This is because of normal hunting pressure as well as the country offering plenty of cover for game, most game have adapted incredibly well to the NZ environment. For those who wish, the services of a guide could easily be utilised for hunting public land at any time of the year. The daily guide fee would be the only cost as there is no tag system here. Success rates may be low but this type of hunt could be mixed with a private access type hunt. It pays to helicopter into the NZ bush in order to save l;arge amounts of time climbing etc. It would be very unwise to travel into the NZ wilderness alone or without expertise as NZ weather takes the lives of several solo foreign trampers per year.
How wild is the NZ wilderness? The acclimatisation society released canadian Moose into Fiordland around 1905. In 1954 a hunter managed to shoot one and had it mounted. This was the last sighting of a Moose in NZ. Around 1980, hunter Ken Tustin dedicated his life to finding the Moose. So far all he has found is fresh sign, hairs on trees that have been sent to Canada for DNA confirmation which have tested as positive. Police Infrared equipped helicopters have failed to help due to the density of the forest canopy. Tustin also has a motion sensored video shot of a proposed Moose backside which looks to be correct. Other cameras have failed to survive the environment.
NZ is a wild, rugged and beuatiful country. Whenever I go into the hills, like most hunters, the feeling that you are an early settler or pioneer still prevails. The sense of newness and untamed beuaty is an awesome feeling.
Now- I don't want to push my guiding but please go to my site and have a look at the galleries to see a little of the NZ terrain etc. The shots you will see are examples of private land that is either surrounded by or bordering onto "state Forests". The private land is essentially the same country. You will see mixed open country combined with native bush country. The major advantage of the private land being the ability to observe and manage wild animals without outside hunting pressure and also the luxury of being able to use quad bikes to access valleys and private huts etc. The only fences encountered on this type of land are the occasional old sheep fence. These fences do not control wild game at all. Game pass from pasture to forest at their own will. While I try to provide 100% results for clients, animals will allude me if I do not spend time studying game movements prior to my clients arrival. Too much hunting pressure will also cause animals to "head deep into the native".
Hope this helps answer your questions
Tue, 2007-06-05 05:11#23
That is a very well presented ,clear, concise, and enlightening, explanation and I thank you very much. I wish I had known this and about your operation when my wife and I went to Australia. I had met a fellow hunter from Sidney who had been a F&G officer but was on leave due to a poaching/ shooting incident. he had wanted to know more about muzzle loader hunting in AK. One thing led to another and we ended up going over for 30 days which we felt was not enough to do both NZ and Australia. We hunted Pigs,goats,roos,etc in Queensland and NSW as well as visiting Cairns and had a very interesting 5 days in Kowenyama(SP) on the York penn. This is a aboriginal villege far removed from city life. We fished,ate native foods,and learned quite q bit about village lefe. I also gave a short talk at the school about AK. We also spent time on a sheep station ,listened to the "State of Origin" Game. and gave another talk in the local school.
We then traveled south to our friends home at Corunna lake where they have taken over the family vinyard.Then it was on to Wangaratta Vic. to chase sambar in the bush etc. All in all it was a great trip and we want to go back but have trouble finding the time now that my wife and i are both retired.
The next two years the guys from Aust. came to AK where we set them up to hunt moose, caribou, grizz and aslo took them to the kenai for salmon, halibut,ling cod etc. They are wonderful folks and this was one of the best things that has happened to us through the internet. Well i got a bit long winded also -sorry. I
ll go to your site later today. I just got home Sun from a Canadian bear hunt/fishing trip and leave Thurs for a prairie dog shoot in SD.
Tue, 2007-06-05 16:42#24
thanks for the great information, nathan. i really enjoyed your post. i hunted the south island, on one of those "high fence hunts", only it had 10,00 hectares, and an innumerable amount of hills to climb. (i live about 18 feet above sea level). we went over a 3-4,000 foot hill to get at the arapawa rams on the other side. when we chased the feral goats, the closest i got was the scent trail in the tall grass--they do stink --and the sight of waving grass moving rapidly away. i never even saw the entire extent of the place in 5 days.
Tue, 2007-06-05 21:41#25
Very good post. Thanks for the info and the look into your part of the world. It looks like paradise to me! I especially like the looks of the razorback block.
Wed, 2007-06-06 02:46#26
Thanks for the kind responses guys.
Wed, 2007-06-06 14:41#27
Nathan, enjoyed your posts.
This is the cool thing about the internet and this forum - I get to talk to people from right here in KS, to across the USA and all across the world.
Wed, 2007-06-06 16:13#28
It's a BIG world out there Todo.
Wed, 2007-07-18 13:27#29
I too enjoyed the posts from Nathan.
I have taken particular offense to the statements from Kmac. He should mind his own business and stop worrying about others. In the United States of America we still have the freedoms to hunt the way we want within the limits of our laws. I certainly don't want the U.S.A. to end up as over regulated and over priced as the European hunting experience with their oppressive gun laws.
Besides, the Europeans should NEVER badmouth anything or anyone that's American.........Especially since we saved their bleeding heart, liberal behinds..........TWICE!.....with our Canadian blood brothers.
Apparently, a European bird hunt, where pheasants (non native to Europe) are thrown into the air and shot out of the sky is somehow different than hunting on a preserve here in the States.
Kmac can stay in Denmark where he belongs. Kmac is not welcome to hunt the wild, free ranging whitetails where this red blooded American calls home.
Sat, 2007-07-28 12:04#30
Kmac, I wrote this to another know-it-all, but it applies to you as well, so here it is!
Kmac it is evident you are looking for a donny-brook, but that is not my reason for replying to your post. My reason is to let those who may not know, you included, that a fence is not all that is needed to make a shooting in a cage, canned hunt! The size of the property behind that fence is not as much a factor as one might think, either. Let me explain!
For example, lets take Two 1000 acre plots, behind high fence, that is perfectly square. One with no trees, and only two foot high grass. The other with trees, brush, hills, gullies, rock outcroppings, under brush, with a couple of creek arms running through it . In each of these two properties we place about one deer per 5 acres, that is 200 deer, of which 1/3 rd are shootable bucks.
In the 100 acres with only grass, and flat, what you have is exactly 100 acres of surface area, with no cover, bedding areas, or escape routes. Additionally one could,convievably, tae a stand in the exact center of this property, and with a good rifle, hit a deer standing any place on that 1000 acres. To me this would be a shooting, not a hunt, and could be called CAGED, but not a HUNT ! Still most who would shoot a deer under these conditions, probably wouldn’t be able to hit a deer there, because someone who would be there is too lazy to practice.
On the second property, the legal outside measurement is 1000 acres, however, if this land was flattened out, the surface area my be five times that 1000 acres, of surface. Add to that, the fact that game has only to move a short distance to be out of sight, and out of sight, is as good as being ten miles away. In this property there are hidden bedding areas, water courses through the property, so the deer doesn’t have to depend on a single water place, food is plentiful, and escape routes are as well. The land is more than the normal range of a whitetail deer. One thing most who decide what is good, or bad about hunting , do not know is, a whitetail deer lives, and dies within about one mile from where he was born, in his natural range, regardless of fence or not. What this indicates to me is, if the property has food, water, escape routes, bedding, and cover, and not over populated, then the fenced area that is larger than his natural range, cannot be a canned hunt, and long as the deer are not hand fed, and tame, or drugged, before being released in the property, and have a few weeks to learn the property, no canned shoot is taking place here.
What I’m saying is the size in combination with a high fence, can be very misleading, and those two conditions alone, do not a canned hunt make! Some very large places may be easier than a smaller place with the proper habitat, and placing a minimum size limit to make it legal, or illegal is not a true assessment of the value of the hunting on a property, with high fence. Some animals, IMO, are not good in areas where they can’t migrate. Things like ELK are far more effected by the high fence than other animals, unless the property is VERY LARGE, regardless of cover, and food, because their natural range is so large, but most so-called exotics are not bound by migration, and are faire chase, if the conditions are met within the property!
Most of the species in exotic hunting ranches would have been extinct many years ago, if not for the monetary value placed on them for hunting, and as long as they are valuable, they will not be shot out!