Skip to main content

Hunting with Hamish from Muddy Waters

New Zealand is a land of practically unlimited hunting opportunities – for those who know where to look and how to get there. However, if you live in suburbia, or you’re new to hunting, it can be really hard to get into it and pick up the skills you need to be confident going out solo. It was for this very reason that I took my wife, Kassie, to Muddy Waters to hunt her first deer.

Getting there

Muddy Waters is about 35 mins north west of Whanganui. We travelled from Pukekohe, and total drive time was 5 hours 45 mins, with the best rest stops along SH4 being Otorohanga, Te Kuiti, Taumaranui or Whanganui if you need the luxuries of a bigger town (fast food, petrol station, etc). Although you’re driving south, you do end up going west and then north again, as the location is up a road that has no northern access. This ends up being one of the great features of the block , as it is hemmed in by native bush and other large farms, with no encroaching suburbs or human population. All this means better conditions for the fallow deer that the Whanganui region is known for.

Your last 25 mins or so are on a metaled road with lots of twists and turns, so take it easy, you’re almost there

The Muddy Waters experience

I’ve been to Muddy Waters a few times now, but when I took Kassie there it was my first time there too. The GPS took us a little past the gate, and we backtracked and found our way. We drove down to the woolshed, where we met Hamish and discussed our plan for the hunt. With a little bit of daylight left, it was decided that the best course of action was to do a quick sight in / zero check, settle in for the night, and hit the hills in the morning.

Kassie was shooting my Tikka 6.5×55, which you may have seen a few times on our social media pages or in other articles on this website. We had just switched to ELD-M handloads, as they had only been out a couple years at this point. I was shooting a sporterised Swedish Mauser in 6.5×55 as well, shooting factory Federal ammo.

I checked zero on a kill-zone sized steel gong at 200 metres, as I hadn’t used the ammo before. This zero-checking exercise is also Hamish’s opportunity to identify how comfortable a shooter is taking a reasonable hunting shot. When I put a couple rounds on target, Hamish said “Oh, you guys can shoot, that’s going to make my life a bit easier”.

Kassie then immediately showed her skill, as she stacked two rounds on top of each other, sparks flying off the steel in the fading light. “Oh shit, you can really shoot!” Hamish exclaimed. Yeah, I was a proud husband at this point… Zeros confirmed, we packed away the rifles and saved the rest of our ammo.

If you’re driving from further afield, like us, you may want to pay the bit extra to stay the night and be fresh for your  hunt (or your drive home). The woolshed has a bunk house attached, with four bunks, a reasonable kitchen facility and a shower and toilet. After a quick packed dinner, a couple beers and plenty of yarns, we turned in to get some rest.

Kassie with the fully suppressed Tikka 6.5×55 and her first deer – a well-conditioned doe

Being early June, the crisp weather and short daylight hours meant deer would likely be out grazing most of the day, catching sun where possible. We ambled out after a coffee, without too much pressure on time, and took a quick ride in the side-by-side to the back of the block to start scouting around. I couldn’t believe how many deer were around, and we passed some beautiful looking bucks, but we were there for a meat hunt, not a trophy animal.

It’s easy to forget how much elevation you’ve gained from sea level, but on a clear day the views from the hilltops are outstanding. You can see all the way to snowcapped peaks of Ruapehu in one direction, and out to the sea on the west coast in the other.

After leaving the vehicle we walked a winding track, up and down ridges and gullies, keeping the bush edge largely on our left. After a while we reached the area we had planned to hunt, and passing through the gate we were told it was time to keep quiet and load up our rifle magazines. From here it wasn’t long before Hamish indicated to get low. We started to crouch and move into position, looking into the next valley. Luckily we had the wind in our favour, as the mob of deer ahead of us started to move up towards us and to our left, but at a steady, walking pace – definitely not spooked.

As we were on the side of a hill, with the slope going up to our right, there was no way to get a comfortable prone position. Kassie quietly got into a sitting position, and took a clean shoulder / heart shot on a nice fat doe at 180 metres. Hamish did mention afterwards it’s not the kind of shot he would usually advocate a beginner hunter taking (in terms of distance and position), but having seen her shoot the night before, he was confident in her ability.

I, on the other hand, managed to do the exact opposite. We left Kassie’s doe to peak over the top of the hill we were sitting on, and Hamish pointed out a scrubby looking buck. “Bro, that’s a cull – take him out”. I was stoked to get to take a shot at my first buck, considering we had paid for 2x meat animals, so this was a bit of a bonus.

Maybe it was the nerves, maybe it was something else, but I pulled the shot left and instead of hitting him in the chest (he was facing us), my round broke his rear right leg. He dropped for a half second and started running / limping off. What was a relatively easy 100 metre shot, quickly turned into trying to dispatch a running deer at over 200 metres, as he rounded a hill and broke line of sight.

This shot was not a good one, and ended up leading to chasing a wounded animal. Not my finest moment

Having lost confidence in my rifle, and not wanting to go back to my pack for more ammo, I grabbed the Tikka off Kassie, and Hamish and I went after the wounded animal. I had a sick feeling in my gut, thinking the poor thing would end up caught caught on a fence, or slowly wasting away, so I was deeply encouraged when Hamish spotted a tiny drop of blood and a piece of shattered bone. At this point it had been about 10 minutes or so, and I was worried we may not see the buck again.

We climbed to the top of a nearby hill to get a better vantage, and we continuously scanned the area where we thought he may have broken for the bush edge. It had now been about 15 or 20 minutes, and I was almost certain the deer had made it to the bush and disappeared. Trying to find it in there was not going to be any fun.

Out of the corner of my eye, I picked up on some asymmetric movement, it was the limping gait of the buck that gave away its position, as it was perfectly camouflaged against a backdrop of felled trees. My heart was racing again, as he was less than 100 metres from entering the bush and dropping over a ridge, where we would have struggled to find him. Feeling more confident in my rifle, but still doubting myself, I took a few deep breaths and pulled the trigger on the 285 metre downhill shot. The buck dropped on the spot, the projectile having gone through half of his body and dumping a huge amount of energy before coming to a stop inside the front right shoulder.

This was the first animal I had not killed cleanly (and so far the only one – fingers crossed), and I was so fortunate to have a good guide with tracking ability, patience and sound advice. I was feeling elated at having shot my first buck, regaining the animal, and also having pulled off a decent shot after such a shocker. We talked through what had happened as we walked back to where Kassie was waiting.

Wrapping up

Now it was time to retrieve and gut our two animals – we were taking them out skin on, to protect the meat on the long ride home, before dropping them off for processing at Counties Custom Killing in Bombay. Hamish guided us through his technique of gutting a deer, which has been refined on hundreds of hunts, and is still the way I gut deer today. Being a fairly new hunter myself, this was invaluable to learn.

Kassie was first up and got stuck in, making a bit of a face when she was elbows deep in the body cavity. She was determined to do the whole job herself, and did well. We stuck the heart up in a nearby tree, and then Hamish and Kassie carried the deer out to the track, where we could get it later on the side-by-side.

A helping hand for a quick carry down to the track
Glad we caught up with him in the end. The shot was downhill as the buck was walking away from us, so went in from the top of the ribs and passed through the vitals and into the shoulder

After getting the vehicle and loading up Kassie’s deer and the rifles, we drove over to where my buck was and it was my turn. Having watched and listened to Hamish’s instructions on the first deer, I tried to incorporate as many of his tips and tricks as possible, and we quickly finished up with our second deer ready to go. I was really impressed when I used my rangefinder from the deer to our position on the hill and found it to be almost exactly the range Hamish had given me when I took the shot. Hamish’s range estimation was done with pure skill and knowledge of the land, so that was a very good indication of just how good a guide he is.

Returning to the woolshed, we hung the deer up in a cool store while we washed up and got ready to go. It was barely past lunch time, and we’d had a full hunting experience – the benefit of having a great guide, with local knowledge. The ride home seemed shorter than the trip down, as we chatted about what went right, and what went wrong, and what delicious small goods and steak cuts we were going to get done. If I’m honest, it wasn’t too long before Kassie fell asleep in the passenger seat, but I was in my own world anyway, thinking about the next time I’d get back there.

It’s been a while

Hamish describing the feel of a windpipe, and how to pull it through

This was three and a half years ago, and I’ve gone back a few times since, once to take my younger brothers out for a hunt, once to stock up the freezer, and most recently for the Crosshairs ELR course, held on the same property. Unfortunately 2021 hasn’t been the best year for getting out and about hunting, but I feel like I need to make another trip down that way soon…

Are there really that many deer?

Yes. There are bloody heaps. Manawatu-Whanganui has a fallow deer problem like northern Taranaki has a goat problem. If you go out with Hamish, you will likely pass multiple animals just getting to the spot you want to start your hunt from.

Are fallow deer good for first time hunters?

Yes, fallow are a great animal to hunt for your first time. They are a fair bit smaller than red deer, so are easy to process and / or carry out, especially if you are learning or getting fit. Unlike other deer species in New Zealand they almost exclusively eat grass. This means they are often considered to be the best tasting venison, so you can share your hard-earned kai with non-hunters without them turning their nose up at a gamey flavour. Or not. You’re probably not going to want to share…

Having such a predictable diet also makes them easier to locate when hunting, if you know the local terrain and likely feed spots.

Once you’ve picked up some knowledge and head out on your own, fallow is a great target species, often found at the boundaries of DOC land and farms (be careful to be on the right side of the fence).

Is Muddy Waters only for beginner hunters?

Not at all. It’s a really good environment to learn in, and especially to pick up hunting skills if you haven’t had the opportunity to do this with friends and family. However, it’s equally good for more advanced hunters to have a casual meat hunt with some mates, or if you want to nab a trophy buck.

Given that the hunting is so good, you can also use the opportunity to test your equipment out for harder missions, or tick off bucket list activities. For example, a couple years ago I took my longest range shot on a deer at Muddy Waters, and this year Graeme from Taranaki Long Range Shooting achieved his goal of taking down a deer with an original condition Lee Enfield No1 MkIII.

Muddy Waters can also accommodate very accessible hunting, so if a long hike is something that is difficult for you for whatever reason, this could be a prime way to get into hunting.

Is Muddy Waters fair chase hunting?

Absolutely. While you have very high odds, due to the sheer number of animals in the area, it is up to you to hunt and shoot effectively. The deer are not fenced in, and migrate freely between the native bush, the beef and sheep farm Muddy Waters is located on, and the neighbouring properties too. Free range, fair chase, ethical hunting.

Hamish maintains a really good line of genetics in the herd by culling out animals which may not have the best coats or antlers – these animals are targeted for meat hunts. So even though the animals are not a farmed herd, they do benefit from superior genetics surviving multiple seasons, which means you can call up Hamish and talk about a hunt for a prime trophy buck.

What do I need to hunt at Muddy Waters?

Not much. Take a sleeping bag and pillow if you’re going overnight. Appropriate clothing and footwear (including wet weather gear), food, snacks and water. But otherwise, talk to Hamish about what you want to take. He does have a rifle that can be loaned to clients if you don’t have your own, or want to take a new hunter with you.

How do I book a hunt and what does it cost?

You can reach Hamish on the Muddy Waters Facebook page, or by email to enquire about bookings and pricing. At time of writing there is a special rate on meat hunts due to high deer numbers.

Guided hunt with Richard from Balnagown Hunting

I think I need to start this article off by saying my wife is awesome. Not only for all the usual reasons, but also because she’s very understanding of my shooting habit (habit, not hobby – I am addicted). So, for Father’s Day this year my one year old son, with a bit of help from my wife, booked me a hunting trip with Richard from Balnagown Hunting.

Before the start of October rolled around, I was able to get out for a day with Richard, and spend some time on his amazing property, appreciating some great game animals and other wildlife.

I’d already been to Richard’s place, when I attended one of Kerry’s Deer Processing courses, where Richard shared his knowledge on how to gut and skin a deer efficiently. Country Meat Processors were also there, and showed us how to butcher an animal that had been hung for an appropriate length of time (i.e. we didn’t butcher the deer we had just skinned).

Anyway, I digress. I punched the familiar address into my phone and commenced the 1 hour 13 minute drive from my place in Pukekohe, to Balnagown, which is just a bit further than Kaukapakapa.

Richard assured me beforehand that he had everything I needed, so don’t go out buying new stuff if I didn’t have anything on hand. This is great for any new hunters who don’t have the spare cash to get flash camo gear, or who don’t know what they might want to invest in long term.

Is this what they mean by finding "sign"?
Is this what they mean by finding “sign”?

However, I came fully prepared and met Richard at the Wool Shed, where we compared our Tikka rifles and had a general chat. He took me through his safety and hunting procedures, focusing on when to load up, who will be loaded at what time, and when your finger touches the trigger, as well as reloading immediately after taking your shot. After signing in and enjoying a coffee, we checked each other’s rifles were unloaded and went for a walk.

Richard had been telling me about some previous clients who had spotted a deer 5 minutes into their hunt and wanted to take a shot. Of course Richard told them to hold on, and get a bit more out of the experience than a 5 minute walk into the pines. He reckons they were fishermen, and that a catch in the first 5 mins certainly wouldn’t be thrown back. And I get that, but after putting so much time and effort into preparing for a hunt and a hike through nature, shooting in the first 5 mins and heading home within an hour seems like a waste of an experience to me.

Well, true enough, we bumped into some deer within the first 10 minutes. We came across a couple that Richard spotted with well-trained eyes, and we watched them for a bit before moving on. He pointed out some does and fawns in a paddock as we progressed along the edge of the forest/bush hunting area and rounded our way into a block of pine that Richard planted when he first bought the property.

The well-established trees and dry, brown pine needles provided perfect cover for the fallow deer in between their winter and summer coats. In fact I spotted a buck across the pine block, but he was so well camouflaged that I had to check with Richard if I had seen right, or if my eyes were deceiving me.

See a deer?
See a deer?
How about now?
How about now?

As we exited the pines along a ridge, Richard shared his technique for spotting deer in a valley from behind a ridgeline, without being made out by the deer. Not only the deer down there, but also the animals across the valley on the opposite shoulder, who might see us and bolt, alerting our quarry to our presence.

We could see a few animals here and there across the valley and around the opposite ridge, and we decided to keep going around the edge of the property, through some native bush, and circle back to a purpose-built blind where we could hopefully spot some animals to stalk up on.

We kept low as we transitioned from the pine block over the spine of the hill and into the bush. We spotted some fat wood pigeons and had a chat about possums and rats, when all of a sudden we saw ahead a beautiful doe, on the larger side, standing broadside in the middle of a clearing. We hushed and kept still, observing the animal and seeing if she had spotted us.

Watching and listening under the native canopy was great - try spot the fat wood pigeon!
Watching and listening under the native canopy was great – try spot the fat wood pigeon!

Unaware of our presence, she continued to graze and Richard whispered, “That’s not what we’re after.” We continued to observe for a couple minutes. “Don’t worry,” I eventually replied. “I’m not in a hurry.” I was there for the full experience of Richard’s guidance, and there was still plenty more ground to cover. From what I had seen of Richard in the Deer Processing course, I knew this man had a wealth of knowledge to share. I certainly wasn’t going to get gung ho and pick off an animal an hour in, just to pack up and get home by lunchtime.

We quietly moved off into the bush and made our way south west, keeping our eyes open for sign and animals. After a while we came to a clearing with some very fresh droppings, obviously where some animals had camped the night before. Richard quickly spotted a few deer amongst some dead gorse. I can’t reiterate enough how good his eyes and instincts are. It took me an age to find them, looking off in completely the wrong area. Even when I did find them keeping them in sight amongst the dead, dust-coloured gorse was definitely a challenge.

There was a buck flanked by two spikers, and Richard urged me get my rifle in place and crawl up behind it, while he kept low and spotted for me. The wind was in our favour, gusting gently at around 7 or 10 mph, straight into our faces. There was no way they could smell us.

We waited about 10 or 15 mins for them to move into a clearer patch amongst the gorse and ti trees, when Richard told me to quietly and slowly shift behind another bit of vegetation where I’d have a better shot. Once in position, I realised I had nowhere near enough elevation to make the shot at the deer which were higher than us, unless I want to try an unsupported shot, but there’s no way I could hold that position for 10 or 20 minutes and make a good shot.

I whispered that I was going to shift back a foot or two, so my body was on a better incline behind the rifle. With the bipod at full extension, I now had a good view of the deer. We waited another 10 minutes, sitting silently and stationary, with the wind in our face. Everything was in our favour, with nothing to do but wait for a clean shot.

Then they bolted.

The buck did a quick sidestep and ducked into the bush and out of sight, with the two spikers hot on his heels. Richard laughed. “They’ve got a sixth sense.” He said. And they certainly do. He couldn’t have heard us or seen us, but something didn’t feel right and he decided to get out of there. “That’s why he’s still alive,” Richard said, “Clever buggers…”

Richard has a knack for decorating.
Richard has a knack for decorating.

Richard’s admiration for the animals he hunts was clearly evident throughout the day, as he discussed how intelligent and aware they were. His knowledge of their habits was equally impressive.

We picked up our bits and pieces and moved off along the edge of the property to see if we could come across the three males again. We did spot some very fresh sign, but they were gone. And the cheeky sods obviously led us through the gorse. Thankfully not too much of it. We continued through the bush, and pushed through to a large downhill slope, thinly dotted with trees. At the bottom of the hill I could see Richard’s blind.

We meandered our way down and took a seat for a while, glassing the valley to see if there were any animals worth stalking up on. There were a few groups of does and fawns, but no good game animals immediately apparent. We had a bit of a chat and Richard told me about some of his older clients who aren’t up for a long trek through the bush, and how they sat patiently in the blind with coffee and snacks and waited for deer to come into range. Not what you think of when you think of New Zealand hunting, but hey, if I still wanted to get an animal every year when I’m 80 and my legs wouldn’t take me through the bush, maybe I’d do the same.

I was told to take a rest while Richard went off to scout for a few minutes. I pulled out my Vortex Ranger 1500 and spent some time practising estimating distances, and then confirming with the range finder. I won’t say what my strike rate was, but I am improving! I had a bit of water and watched as two swallows decided to play fight around the blind.

The Vortex ranger proved handy throughout the day, lining up potential shots, and was also good fun to test myself against during down time.
The Vortex ranger proved handy throughout the day, lining up potential shots, and was also good fun to test myself against during down time.

After a while, I began to wonder where my guide had got to. He was quiet, and invisible. Eventually, he came back, but the report wasn’t good. Although he managed to sight a fair few animals across the valley, no groups had any decent spikers, they were mostly concentrations of does and fawns.

So, we made the decision to leave the blind and climb up a ridge to look into the next valley. It was good to get moving again, even if it had only been 20 minutes or so. It wasn’t long before we were out of the trees and covering some open ground uphill to our next position. All the while, a trio of Paradise ducks had decided to fly overhead in a holding pattern, squawking away our position to every creature under the sun. Before long, we had crested the hill, taking care to peek over the top, looking for game.

After a couple furtive glances over the top, we concluded everything on four legs had retired beyond the tree line, and so we moved on a bit before taking a seat and glassing the valley. On the way, Richard showed a patch of fence that had seen better days. “Bucks have been fighting here,” he pointed out.

We sat for a while, looking over at a handful of goats to our left, seeing if a deer or two would give away its position by interacting with them. No such luck. Keeping an eye on the tree line across the valley, we saw a deer come out a couple times in the same spot, but no further activity. We glassed a bit and I played around with the rangefinder, estimating distances to where we saw the deer, the opposite side of the valley, and checking out the goats too. We took a guess at the distance to the goats, and were both surprised it came in at 103 metres.

“Doesn’t seem like a whole rugby field between us and them, does it?” I asked. “That’s just what I was thinking!,” replied Richard. It was interesting to note how the changes in terrain made distances hard to estimate.

We continued to see if there’d be any more activity at the valley floor where we saw the deer before, swapping stories. Richard told me how he had come to acquire his land, and how different it was trying to get a home or a slice of paradise back then, compared to now. Both challenging times, but different challenges. We even ended up talking politics, work, and all sorts of nonsense. The deer didn’t come out again and the goats weren’t being the deer-Judas they might have been.

So we picked up again, and rounded the shoulder of the hill, getting ready to tackle this last stand of native bush before heading in for lunch and trying our luck again. After getting under cover and out of the midday sun, it wasn’t long before our eyes adjusted and a couple young spikers made themselves apparent. Richard confirmed I was loaded and indicated for me to take the lead and begin stalking cover to cover to get a clear shot. As I progressed to cover, trying to keep the trees between myself and the deer, I realised we had walked around into the wind, and it was no longer in our favour. Thankfully it was still for the moment, but any puff of wind would carry our scent right towards our waiting quarry. The wind was the least of our concerns, as the closest spiker saw or heard a bit of movement from my direction and decided to skip along a bit.

They hadn’t seen me yet, but they were aware of my presence, or at least the presence of something that wasn’t there before. The pair went down towards a stream, putting more cover between themselves and my rifle. Over the next ten minutes of tiptoeing through the fallen leaves and branches I spotted them twice more, but only briefly each time, before they got spooked enough to run off where I couldn’t see them or catch up to them.

By this point I had descended about halfway down to the stream, and Richard was waiting a bit higher up towards the tree line. I signalled to him to see if he still had eyes on the two animals, but he shook his head. I wandered up to his position, thrilled from the chase, but annoyed I couldn’t quite close the gap.

We headed towards the bottom of the valley, and Richard gave me some pointers on stalking while we walked down. “Don’t look at the deer,” he said. “You know where they are. Just walk directly to your cover, keeping the tree between you and them – you can re-check their location when you get there.”

We talked a bit as we walked, but mostly in a low whisper. There were plenty of animals in this patch of wood, taking shelter from the heat of the day, browsing amongst the fallen leaves. Some movement ahead revealed the location of a few deer.

Right. On point again.

We weren’t far, maybe 150 metres away when we spotted the group moving around their grazing spot. I went forward, remembering Richard’s advice, moving from cover to cover in a straight line. Richard stayed back with his binos, keeping an eye on the deer. I turned back once I had reached the small group of trees to see if Richard still had the animals in his sight. He had his phone out, taking pictures or a video of me approaching the group. So I took that as a yes. No pressure!

From where I stood, I was definitely close enough to take a shot. I knelt down next to a small tree, holding the forend of the rifle against the trunk with my left hand, creating a rough and ready support. I looked through the Diamondback 4-12×40 scope, and moved the magnification ring up to about 6 power so I could get a clear picture of the deer amongst the dry, brown foliage. I had a quartering shot on a smaller animal, but it didn’t feel great. The deer was moving around slightly as it nosed through the leaves and undergrowth. I didn’t want to take a desperate shot and risk shooting it in the hind quarters if it decided to turn. I knew the 140 gr ELD-M was leaving my 6.5×55 fast enough to shatter the leg and hip bones if struck there, meaning the deer wouldn’t get far and a follow up shot would be needed, but I preferred to make a clean shot that would minimise suffering for the animal, and do less damage to the meat as well.

As I was thinking all this, the deer made up my mind for me and turned to follow a couple old does off to my right. I tracked them in my scope until they came to a stop, but now I had a new problem. The multitude of native trees made for great cover for me, but also got in the way of a clean shot. Time to move.

I headed towards another small group of trees that would keep me from view, but allow me an unobstructed view of the browsing deer. I was almost to my chosen cover when a smaller doe turned around a tree, and looked straight up at me. She stood stock still. Okay, she hadn’t seen me, but she certainly saw or heard my movement. Now I had a decision to make. This young deer obviously hadn’t developed the experience of the older animals, and was still curious enough to try and figure out what was going on, when a deer a couple years older would have done a little jump and buggered off, taking the whole group with them. How much time did I have to take this shot? There was no way to try and take cover and wait for the group to present a better animal. The ponga next to me wasn’t exactly going to hide my 6’2” and 100kg frame.

Standing square on to the animal and with no support in sight, an offhand standing shot was not looking like a great idea, as I would have been way to unstable. Taking the time to move my feet into position and raise the rifle would be all the time the doe needed to make up her mind that she didn’t like the look of me. So, I tried the opposite. I slowly sat back, keeping my upper body as motionless as possible. I felt my water bottle get in the way, and wasn’t sure if I’d get a good seated position with it hanging off the back of my belt. Screw it, I was going to try anyway. I put as much weight on the bottle as possible without making a noise or unbalancing myself. Not bad. I won’t put my water bottle there again, but I was stable enough.

I was still square to the deer, with my feet out in front of me. I slowly lifted the rifle to my cheek and got my elbows settled into the tops of my legs, just behind the knee caps. Feeling pretty stable and good about my position and shot, I took the Tikka off safe with a slight move of my right thumb.

All of this positioning took seconds, even though it felt like I was moving at a glacial pace. I now had a good view. I felt calm and my breathing was good, as I had taken my time to settle into the shot. The young doe continued to look in my direction, but still not quite making me out amongst the low scrub.

Looking through the Vortex scope I could see the deer standing basically broadside to me, on a slight angle, with her head up and looking in my direction. I definitely only had a few seconds to decide on taking this shot or giving away my position and letting the group get away. An older doe walked behind the one I was glassing, and I was tempted to switch targets, given her much larger size, but the small break in the trees that I was aiming through wouldn’t allow me to shift enough to the right. The older doe moved on, heading towards my right, and I continued to check out the smaller animal.

There was a something in the way of my shot, right around the heart and lungs. I backed the scope out to 4 power and got a bit of a better focus, given the short range I’d stalked up to. The brown blob in my way was just a bunch of leaves. That’s fine, I knew where this shot was going, I could see enough of the animal. I focused on my breathing for a second, exhaled and squeezed the trigger on my Tikka.

The sound of the shot sent the rest of the animals running. I counted 6, Richard reckons 7. And I only saw 2 or 3 when stalking in. Damn these animals can camouflage. The doe dropped on the spot, falling backwards into the leaves, exposing her white belly. I watched her, knowing she wasn’t going to move at all, but I remembered to reload again anyway and continued to watch the animal for a few seconds. Richard walked up and congratulated me on the shot, shaking my hand after I had unloaded the rifle and picked up my stray piece of Norma brass (wasn’t going to leave that behind).

I put the magazine and brass in my Hunter’s Element pouch, which sat on my left hip, and pulled out the Vortex Ranger 1500. I placed the illuminated crosshair over the white belly of the doe – 53 metres. No, not a long range shot, the challenge was in stalking up close to the group. I was happy with that. I could only imagine the thrill of the chase for a bow hunter, who gets within feet of his prey. Speaking of which, Richard was talking about opening up a bow only hunting area, but that’s another story.

I walked over from my shooting position, and inspected the animal while Richard took a couple photos for me. As I was walking over I could hear a motor start up and a quad bike heading in our direction. When I got to the deer and inspected the shot placement, I was happy with what I saw. Below the spine and in line with the shoulder, the shot, taken from a higher elevation, had passed through the lung and left a decent sized exit hole on the other side, gushing blood from the wound.

A decent exit wound on this lung shot, thanks to the Hornady ELD-M.
A decent exit wound on this lung shot, thanks to the Hornady ELD-M.

The 6.5mm 140 gr Hornady ELD-M travelling at 2740 fps was probably overkill for this size animal, and a .223 or .243 could easily have done the job, but I was happy with the clean, emphatic kill.

We only had a 100 metres or so to go the edge of the tree line, were Richard expected his son was driving their quad to meet us. We dragged the deer downhill, talking about shot placement and other bits and pieces as we went. I was still buzzing from that stalk.

We got there in a few minutes, and did a final unload and show clear, as Richard’s son pulled up on the quad. He had been preparing lunch when he heard the shot, and decided to come and pick us up. The deer was tied to the front, and we climbed on the back with the rifles, heading towards the hunting hut where we had previously done the meat processing course with Richard, and Kerry from The Bloke.

As we pulled up, there was water on the boil for a cup of coffee, and a good ol’ Kiwi BBQ spread being put on. Our timing couldn’t have been better! I washed the blood off my hands, took off my water bottle and belt bag, and sat down for a hot meal and a coffee with Richard’s family. We discussed the day’s events and other items, and before the others left and Richard and I got to gutting and skinning the deer. It had been a while since I had seen Richard’s pretty awesome technique, so I was glad to get another opportunity to learn this part of his process. If you’re ever looking to learn a bit more or refine your gutting/skinning method, one of the Hunter Education courses is certainly worth the time and money.

We packed the carcass into a vehicle and cleaned off our knives, hands, and the covered deck area where we had hung up the deer. I received a quick tour around the hut and some new “glamping” accommodation Richard was building, overlooking a waterfall and some native bush. From there, we headed back to the main house and my vehicle, my day of hunting complete. Given that I was going to be back in the area in a week, Richard kindly offered to take my deer down to Country Meat Processors in Kaukapakapa for processing into steaks and mince.

Overall, the day was fantastic, and I can see how Balnagown Hunting attracts so many repeat customers. I determined before I left that I’d definitely be back, maybe taking my wife for her first hunt.


Wind reading equipment – what do I need?

Realistically, you don’t need any tools to read the wind except for knowledge and experience. Well, lots of knowledge and experience. In fact, the amount of money you spend on ammo and barrels learning to read wind, could easily cover the cost of some wind reading equipment. But which is the better way? Should you learn the hard way? Or spend the cash? Here are the options…

Kestrel with integrated ballistics info

This is the ultimate in wind-reading equipment complete with on-board ballistic solutions, tailored to your rifle and ammo combination. The list of features is almost endless, but here are some of the greatest hits:

  • Bluetooth connection to your smartphone
  • Bluetooth compatibility with Bushnell CONX Range Finder
  • Nightvision backlight option to preserve your sight in failing light
  • Bright green backlight for high visibility during the day
  • Built in Applied Ballistics software, including the ‘Litz library’ of G1 and G7 BCs, custom drage curve modelling, ballistic calibration feature, and more
  • Can be equipped with wind vane and tripod for hands-free wind direction and speed readings

I didn’t even mention the capability to accurately read wind and environmental factors – because that’s a given with the Kestrel product. This is, by far, the most advanced piece of kit you can get your hands on for reading wind and applying a ballistic solution in the field.

If you’re interested in one, check out The Gearlocker for more info.

While there are flags on this F-Class range, several shooters pulled out Kestrel wind meters prior to taking their spot on the mound.
While there are flags on this F-Class range, several shooters pulled out Kestrel wind meters prior to taking their spot on the mound.

Is a Kestrel 5700 for me?

So, who would this solution suit? Below are some of the types of shooters who might choose this option.

  • I am a long range alpine hunter. That Tahr 700 m away? That’s dinner
  • I’m an F-Class or benchrest competitor, looking to get more X’s than King Henry VIII
  • I believe in “buy once, cry once” – I’ve heard it’s the best, so I’m not going to bother wasting my cash on cheaper solutions that will probably crap out on me
  • I shoot once or twice a year, but when I do, I carry a $15,000 rifle and enough equipment to outfit a small revolution
  • I place no financial limit on my ability to ethically harvest game at distances that are challenging, but realistic for my abilities
A cheap and cheerful anemometer for less than $100. Image credit: Jaycar Electronics
A cheap and cheerful anemometer for less than $100. Image credit: Jaycar Electronics

Anemometer and external ballistics info

What is an anemometer? Well, it’s an instrument that measures wind. But, wait? Didn’t we just cover that? No, no we did not. We just talked about the top end of the market. Anemometers cover a spectrum of uses, and if you just want something to “get the job done”, there could be a more accessible option for you.

Most marine stores, or even specialist electronic stores, should stock anemometers, and they will range from $100 – $150 for a basic unit, which may include a tripod, to a few hundred bucks, or even thousands of dollars, for ones with more bells and whistles.

These are not shooting/ballistic specific, and really are only good for reading wind and environmental factors. You’ll have a much more affordable option, but you’ll also need a separate ballistic app or printed out table, so you can mentally convert wind readings into meaningful shooting solutions. If you can’t trust your maths skills under pressure, this may not be the option for you.

Is a non-shooting anemometer for me?

If you think you’re one of the below types of shooters, then this could be the solution for you.

  • I don’t have confidence or experience reading the wind, but my maths skills and elevation dope are on point
  • I want to have a wind meter to fit in with the PRS crowd, but I’d rather spend money on ammo
  • I’m a fan of the Budget Gun Nut. I once bought a rifle for $700 and spent $800 over 2 years, trying to get it to outshoot a $1300 gun.
  • I want to get into long range shooting, but all of my shooting disciplines kill my discretionary funds. This is a cheaper way for me to make a start, and I can upgarde later

Training and external ballistics info

Now this is one that won’t cost you anything but time. And ammo actually, lots and lots of ammo. There are a few easy formulas/tables out there that can help you interpret what the wind is doing, and make some reasonably accurate wind calls using nothing but the environment around you, or a flag, or even a ribbon attached to the front of your rifle.

With plenty of training and time in the field, you could read wind without instruments - but would you want to?
With plenty of training and time in the field, you could read wind without instruments – but would you want to?

Below are some links to websites/blogs that give you some pretty good indications on how to read wind values from your environment.

Using either MOA or MIL is up to you - but try and keep it consistent to reduce multiple layers of math.
Using either MOA or MIL is up to you – but try and keep it consistent to reduce multiple layers of math.

If you want to really learn this stuff, you’re going to not only need to do the research, but you’ll have to spend time out in the field, listening to more experienced shooters, and sending ammo downrange to judge the accuracy of your calls. You’ll still need ballistics tables, as all your rifle/chambering/ammo combinations will net different results in terms of “bucking the wind”.

It will also pay to make sure you stick to one system. If you like MIL instead of MOA, use that across all of your rifles, if possible. Make sure your turrets match your reticle. Learn your drops and holds in your chosen measurement. By making some systems uniform across various platforms, you are removing some of the mental gymnastics you’ll have to do when making a wind call.

Should I train my brain, instead of spend $$ on a wind meter?

Having a base knowledge of wind and its effects is probably something we all need, but a select few individuals will go their entire lives relying on nothing more than the feel of a cool breeze on their cheeks, or the movement of leaves and branches overhead, to determine the wind corrections they need to make to pull off that shot. So, are you one of the shooters below?

  • I carry paracord, a knife, flint and a torch. Everywhere I go, all the time. I am prepared for any outcome, and relying on battery powered wind meters is not in my game plan
  • I learned to shoot from my grandfather, and I still hunt with his SMLE No 1 Mk III. Old school is fine by me
  • I am genuinely interested in developing my all round knowledge of hunting and shooting, even if there are applied ballistics calculators that could do it in seconds
  • I think a Kestrel would be great, but I hunt under 300 metres and I only really need a good indication of wind – it doesn’t need to be perfect

Beginners guide to buying a hunting bow

Bow hunting is one of those things I have always liked the idea of. It complements the usual rifle hunting so well, but adds a number of different elements. In recent years I have seen more and more bow hunting photos and trips popping up on my favourite hunting shows and Facebook pages, which started to whet my appetite even more.

I decided I would try and get myself behind a bow to give it a go, I had never even shot a compound bow before, so didn’t really know if I was going to enjoy it or not.

Full disclaimer time, I’m writing this as a reasonably knowledgeable newbie, I’m not an expert by any means. There are plenty of very knowledgeable “pros” on the internet so please do plenty of your own research, I’m writing this to help others who may have thought about giving it a go to get into the sport from a novice’s perspective.

Initially I did a fair bit of internet research, saw what you should look for in a bow, how to shoot one, what others were using, and what sort of things I thought I might want in a bow, should I ever get one. I gave myself a bit of a budget to keep in the back of my head. It wasn’t huge, as I had all my hunting gear and it was only the bow-specific things I needed, but I also didn’t want to buy something cheap and nasty, which I would outgrow in a year or so.

Stag..gering. #CarbonDoneRight @OutbackOutdoors | #IAMDEFIANT #GetSeriousGetHoyt #HoytTaggedOut

A post shared by Hoyt Archery Inc. (@hoytbowhunting) on

Fit for purpose

With all this in mind, I rang a couple of local archery stores, told them I was a complete newbie and asked what I should be looking for, and if they had anything that may suit me. Everyone I spoke to was extremely helpful, and I learned a great deal from the phone calls alone. In particular, how important it is to get a bow fitted to the shooter, rather than just grabbing something off the shelf. You need to adjust draw length, poundage, arrow length, peep sight placement, etc., for each individual shooter. This is all easily done by an experienced archer, but for the completely uninitiated, I would highly recommend going along to a store and getting fitted correctly, rather than just buying off the shelf.

During one of my phone calls the guys from Advanced Archery invited me down after work one evening to shoot a few different bows and get a feel for it. Obviously an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

Compound bows and their accessories are probably quite a bit more modern than you expect. Pictured - bow sight with holdover pins. Image credit: Advanced Archery
Compound bows and their accessories are probably quite a bit more modern than you expect. Pictured – bow sight with holdover pins. Image credit: Advanced Archery

Getting measured

I walked into the store having never shot a bow and knowing only what I had read about, or seen on videos. The guys at Advanced Archery sized me up and showed me a huge range of bows that could be adjusted to fit me. They suggested I try them all and were only too happy to spend the time setting each one up for me to shoot. We spent several hours on their indoor range, shooting all different types of bows in all different configurations, and learning lots of little tips and tricks. By the end of the evening I was shooting like a pro (well, shooting a heap better than I was expecting to), and knew exactly what I liked and what I didn’t.

This type of customer service and support is fantastic to see, and as such I would highly recommend going along to check them out! (I have no affiliation with them other than being a happy customer).

What should I look for in a bow?

So, if you’re interested in getting a bow, what sort of things do you need to be looking at?

Well, obviously, each person is unique and has their budget in mind, but in general I would highly recommend getting a bow that has a good adjustment range. Some of the very expensive bows are quite specific. Yes, they are probably better at their intended job than the cheaper bows, but as a newbie you probably want a slightly more forgiving bow (you don’t want to try and learn to drive in a Formula 1 car), but likewise you don’t want a bow that you’re going to outgrow in a short time. For this reason all the big bow makers have started releasing a range of bows that cover a wide range of users (Hoyt Inferno and Mission Craze both come to mind).

There are higher end bows that are modular, and will allow you to adjust by adding or removing modules. There are also adjustable cam models. Of course, this comes down to how much you plan on spending on your bow hunting venture.

Draw length is the adjustment that determines how far back you have to pull the string to load the bow. This is usually measured based on the height of the shooter (Da Vinci taught us that height = arm span) so it’s a fairly simple calculation for those who know what they are doing. There are a few more variables to consider, such as the draw length on your left- and right-hand-side, so getting a custom fitting is a great idea for those new to the sport. Its important to get this measurement right as it will have a huge impact on your repeatability and overall accuracy. A bigger adjustment window will mean it will suit a wider range of shooters (and therefor may help with resale if you ever decide to sell).

What will you be hunting?

Bow Poundage is the next measurement, Most high-end hunting bows should give you a range of at least 10 lbs. This means a 70 lb bow can be adjusted down to 60 lb, a 60 lb bow to 50 lb, etc.  There are a couple of schools of thought on what you should set it at, one is that more is best, the higher the bow poundage the further it will fly and more powerful your shot will go. There is some truth to this, however based on conversations I have had with some of the countries best bow hunters there seems to be a feeling that most new bow hunters here tend to over poundage for our conditions, think shooting turkeys with a 50BMG.

The down sides of too much poundage is that it takes more effort to draw the bow, this has a direct result on how steady you can hold it and how many shots you are comfortable making in a session.  You have to remember with a bow you’re not shooting for long range distance, your shots are generally going to be between 10-40 yards, so you only need enough poundage to humanely kill the animal you are hunting at that range, any more is really a waste and has impact on your accuracy.

What you intend to hunt will have a direct result on where you should set your poundage.  (For those who haven’t shot a compound bow before, when you draw you are pulling through the maximum weight. When you get the bow drawn completely back, it hits what they call the valley in the cams, and the poundage you are then holding is only a quarter or so of the bows actual poundage. This means it is relatively easy to hold at full draw). Again a proper fitting from an experienced shooter will help here as they can watch you shoot and adjust the bow accordingly.

Selecting arrows for hunting

Most shops will sell packages of everything you need (walk in, walk out, go hunting), expect to pay $850 to $1400 ish for a middle of the road bow package or $600 to $1200 for just the bow. Obviously just like firearms you could spend less or spend a lot more, but for a starter package your not going to grow out of in 5 minutes this is what I would suggest.

Can your broadhead do this? #canyours #ragehole #rageinthecage #dothis #wow

A post shared by Rage Broadheads (@ragebroadheads) on

Arrow length, weight and thickness are more variables that are best left to the experts. There is a calculation to be done which takes into account your draw length, the poundage you are shooting, and what you are going to be shooting at. This will all have a direct impact on how the arrow will fly, and therefore accuracy. Arrows aren’t overly expensive, expect to pay $12-$15 each for your first set of arrows depending on what you need, and you can use them many hundreds of times (until you lose them). These will be included in most packages. I’m not going to go into detail on arrow tips in this article, your arrows will come with field points (sharpened tips for target shooting) which can be unscrewed and switched out for hunting tips, tips are a whole article on their own…

Peeps & sights for bows

A "glowpeep" which gets spliced into the string. Image credit: Advanced Archery
A “glowpeep” which gets spliced into the string. Image credit: Advanced Archery

Sight wise, as you would expect, much like rifle shooting there are a number of options. Hunting Bow sights have two parts, the front sight and the peep sight. The front sight attaches to the riser of the bow near the grip, they generally have 1, 3 or 5 pins that extend into a circle, which are set like crosshairs at different ranges (e.g. 20, 30, 40 yards). Again these will come with the packages, but if you want to buy one separately expect $60 – $350, depending on what you want (some come with inbuilt lights, bubble levels, etc.).

The peep sight is a smaller circle which is spliced in to the bow string at the point at which your eye sits when you draw the bow, the idea being you look through the peep sight to align the front sight.


Quivers. These attach to the bow to hold your arrows close at hand and keep the sharp tips covered while you’re climbing through the bush. Again as you would expect there are plenty of manufacturers and styles available so its down to personal preference, but one thing to consider is by putting weight (quiver and 5 arrows) on one side of your bow it will want to cant to that side when you draw it.

Tight Spot quiver. Image credit: Advanced Archery
Tight Spot quiver. Image credit: Advanced Archery

Not a problem for many people but If I was doing it all again I would pay a bit more to buy a quiver that is light and fits close to the side of the bow to reduce this cant instead of the one I got with my bow. (A company called Tight Spot makes a great quiver for this but expect to pay for it). Packages will come with a basic one which will be fine, or you could buy a basic one for $40ish but if you want a Tight Spot or similar expect to pay around $200ish.

Release aids

Release aids, when you picture olden day archers you think of people grabbing the string with their fingers and drawing the bow back. These days bow hunters and the majority of target shooters use release aids. For hunting, these generally consist of a strap which tightens around your wrist with a small clamping device which extends out. The idea is you clamp a small string loop which is spliced into the main bow string behind where the nock in the arrow sits, this holds the string tight and allows you to pull the string back without any weight on your fingers. When you’re ready to take the shot you pull a small trigger that extends out just like a rifle.

A release aid - this shouldn't be too difficult a concept for those familiar with firearms. Image credit - Advanced Archery
A release aid – this shouldn’t be too difficult a concept for those familiar with firearms. Image credit – Advanced Archery

Again there are plenty of different brands and models available, they essentially all serve the same basic function, but you are paying for the cleanness of the break much like aftermarket rifle triggers. Most packages will come with one that will work fine, but if buying one expect to pay $40 to $250 depending on what you want (and more if you’re really keen).

A good trigger release aid is one that has no trigger travel. It’s worth the spending the money on, as it will make you a better shooter. If you have any more money in the budget over and above the minimum, this is the first thing to spend a bit extra on – it will make you a better shooter.

That’s essentially all you need to get out there and do it.. If you’re a hunter looking for a new challenge, or a way of simply complimenting your shooting sports I would highly recommend adding a bow to your Gun Rack.

I’ll try to keep you updated with my progress as things happen, but if you have any questions let me know and if I can’t answer them ill find someone who can.

Link to source of feature image

Pig hunters be crazy

New Zealand is full of opportunity for the aspiring outdoorsman. Want to go diving or 4×4 driving? There are clubs a-plenty that will get you on your way. Want to hunt big red stags, eliminate possums or shoot some fallow deer for meat? Get along to your local NZDA and meet up with some like-minded people.

Crossing the first stream was beautiful. By the 6th or 7th crossing you stop focusing on the scenery.
Crossing the first stream was beautiful. By the 6th or 7th crossing you stop focusing on the scenery.

Want to go pig hunting? You can do that too. But, as I learned on my first pig hunt, there are some more considerations to make than you might think. So, let’s think of this as a beginner’s guide to getting into pig hunting.

All you need is a knife

Wrong. Many think that hunting pigs is easier/simpler than other forms and hunting, because you only need a knife and you don’t need to worry about firearms or firearm safety. Let me dispel this myth very quickly for you.

  • Some pig hunters do use guns, but most won’t allow a stranger/novice to shoot over their dogs.
  • Knives hurt too – you still need to be careful.
  • Pig hunting is actually pretty involved, and makes use of more gear and tracking equipment than you may think.

Go with an experienced pig hunter

Heading out with an experienced pig hunter is not only more likely to result in finding game, but they will have all the gear needed for a successful day out. That includes GPS/maps, well-trained dogs with tracking collars, knives and knowledge.

Knowledge is key. And something to be respected. Ask plenty of questions before and during the hunt – without being annoying of course. Ask questions so you know what to bring with you, ask questions so you know what kind of terrain to expect, ask questions so you know the series of events that will unfold when you happen upon your quarry.

Well-trained dogs make all the difference.
Well-trained dogs make all the difference.


As I said, make sure to ask what you’ll need to take along. You may need to take a knife, but chances are your hunting buddy will have a spare knife you can borrow, rather than spending money on the sport before you know if you’re going to get into it or not.

Interestingly, the classic ‘pig sticker’ shape knife is not favoured by all hunters, although many do use them. A lot of pig hunters carry boning knives or similar. If you’re looking for a knife in Auckland, this store has a huge selection and decent prices.

Other considerations for while you’re out in the bush include your pack, food/water, first aid, and appropriate clothing. A camera or phone for pictures is great, but keep in mind you’ll probably be going through some rough patches of bush and/or crossing streams. You’ll have no one else to blame if you drop your phone in a river, or fall over with it in your pocket. Yes, I fell over in a stream. More than once.

Wearing blaze is great for keeping an eye on your buddy and not getting lost. A spare GPS collar in your bag, or a walkie talkie is good too.
Wearing blaze is great for keeping an eye on your buddy and not getting lost. A spare GPS collar in your bag, or a walkie talkie is good too.

In terms of a pack, I took a Hunting & Fishing day pack, which was great for all it could hold, but man did it get caught up on just about every twig, stick and branch. And supplejack. Oh my goodness the supplejack.

My mate who took me hunting had all he needed around his waist. This included a small first aid kit, water bottle in a holder, food and some other bits and pieces in a bum bag, and of course his GPS unit for the dogs. He had a rifle slung over his shoulder just in case. I could really see the value of iron sights and shorter barrels in a bush gun, as I saw how even this simply profiled firearm got snagged a few times.

This is supplejack. You will have to get through it... A knife or even small secateurs on on your belt will be incredibly useful.
This is supplejack. You will have to get through it… A knife or even small secateurs on on your belt will be incredibly useful.

Clothing and footwear is the one area I would recommend spending some money if you don’t have appropriate gear. If you’re not likely to be heading through gorse and blackberry, shorts are great. Waterproof boots are ideal, and long socks too. An appropriate top for the weather, but I can almost guarantee that short/no sleeves will be the go.

DO NOT, venture out in your brand new gear. You will be feeling sorry for yourself within a couple hours. If you’ve got brand new gear for an upcoming hunt, make sure to wear it in beforehand. Going for a few hikes will not only prevent blisters and sores on a longer hunt from boots and packs not broken in, but will also help with your fitness.

Physically fit

Probably the last piece of advice before I belabour the point. If you’re unfit, crashing through bush for 6 or 12 hours is going to take a hell of a toll. You’ll also probably slow your mate down and drag the whole day out.

On our way through Kauaeranga Valley we caught some peeks of the peaks. If you're lucky, this great outdoors is your gymnasium. If you're not that lucky - you'll have to do something else to raise your fitness.
On our way through Kauaeranga Valley we caught some peeks of the peaks. If you’re lucky, this great outdoors is your gymnasium. If you’re not that lucky – you’ll have to do something else to raise your fitness.

If you work a desk job or have a few too many pies and beersies, get yourself into some sort of fitness regime if you foresee hunting in your near future. The gym is great, and for many it’s the only practical option. However, if you can get out for longer walks/hikes/runs, you’ll thank yourself further down the track. This is the kind of fitness that will really pay off.

Be a good bugger

If someone has taken the time let you tag along to a spot they know of, and they’re imparting knowledge, etc., etc., make sure you sort out some of the expenses. Offer to get the pies or pay for the fuel. No one likes a bludger.

So – did we get a pig on my first hunt? No. I did get a first-hand education in all of the above though, and it will all come in useful the next time I go out. The most important thing I learned? Pig hunters are crazy – in the best way possible.

This is not a sport for the faint of heart or those who can’t dedicate a decent amount of time to training dogs and chasing dots on a GPS unit. It’s a dedication and a lifestyle, and damn it’s fun.

10 reasons hunting should be banned in NZ

I can feel the vitriol on your side of the screen already. Hang on a sec – read the article. And by the time you get to the end, if you feel you agree, make sure to share this message on social media.

  1. We need to leave all of the free-range, organic meat in the forests and mountains

    We can’t all be vegans. If we were, who would the vegans judge? Joking aside, there will always be meat-eaters among us, and as much as we praise the benefits of free-range, organic meat, we apparently don’t like it when people go and get it for themselves.

  2. Our families should be further disconnected from their food supply

    We already use words like veal, venison, beef, lamb, mutton, pork and more to distance ourselves from the fact that we eat pigs, cows, sheep, deer, etc. Chicken gets a pass.

    We also allow big corporations to taint our protein sources with genetic manipulation, modified starches, cereal, preservatives and Bic Mac sauce. If we can keep our families completed disconnected from the supply food they eat, they can continue to have little respect for the environment, and feed into the profits of factory farms and global chain “restaurants”.

  3. Our biodiversity should include destructive pests with no natural predators

    I can’t say it enough. I’m sick and tired of tripping over Kiwi and Kakapos and shags. Bloody everywhere. If only someone introduced some voracious pests.

    Oh wait. That happened.

    New Zealand has a great deal of introduced species, from trout to pigs. Most of these animals were introduced by European settlers to bolster food, leather, fur and wool supplies and to provide sport (when they weren’t shooting each other or inhabitants of the land they conquered). With no natural predators in our country, these creatures can thankfully destroy our native flora to their hearts’ content, and compete with (or kill) the fauna that has existed here for thousands of years before humans graced these shores. Ah – balance!

  4. 1080 is great for our water supply

    No, I don’t want to get into a 1080 debate. Save that for Facebook and drunken dinner table talk. Or raise it with your political representatives. Whichever you find more effective.

    So, hunters won’t entirely negate the need for some sort of widely implemented pest control plan. So why have hunters at all? Bloody nuisances. Trying to get rid of pests, enjoy some sport and feed their families, as their predecessors have done for generations.

    But seriously, no matter what your thoughts are on 1080, it’s awesome having it dropped around water catchments and supply and furthering our H2O polution epidemic. Tasty!

  5. We need to raise a generation dependent on devices

    The next generation will clearly experience the most life has to offer them by sitting behind screens varying in size from about 5″ to 50″. Heaven forbid they see what’s out there and learn to enjoy the splendour of nature. Or become concerned about what the previous generation has done with it! Let’s hide our shame behind iPads and TVs till we die, and leave them to figure it out later.

    Why show your children the majesty of nature? They've probably got better graphics on their tablets and TVs.
    Why show your children the majesty of nature? They’ve probably got better graphics on their tablets and TVs.
  6. Our kids already have all the bushcraft they need

    Lets face it. Aside from being able to Google everything they could ever learn in school, kids are also naturally hardy and well-adapted to survival in the bush. When last have you heard of people becoming lost in the bush? Never happens!

    Not only that, but between their smart phones with dead-batteries and no signal, and the skills we never taught them, they know what’s safe to eat, how to find water, light a fire, navigate and cook. Some of them can even tie knots.

    Put a random child here and they'll find their way home, no problem. Or maybe start a new civilisation.
    Put a random child here and they’ll find their way home, no problem. Or maybe start a new civilisation.
  7. Families should defer inter-generational bonding until the kids are old enough to drink

    Look, if there’s one thing New Zealanders are great at, it’s bottling up our thoughts and feelings so we can blurt them out when we’re hideously drunk and it’s only vaguely remembered. Rather than spending time outdoors with your children, leave them with their electronic devices until their around 18 and get plastered together.

    Now you can have that father-daughter, mother-son, whatever-whatever time you’ve always been wanting, and you’ll have almost two decades of emotional regression and mental stunting to add to the mix.

  8. Children should not be exposed to safe firearms handling or sporting use of guns

    It really is best for children to see people shooting other people with guns. That’s why they should only see firearms in movies and video games.

    Look, if children get the idea that they could one day own and operate a firearm in a responsible manner, they may decide to give shooting a go. They may even like it and become proficient at supplying food for their family or become a prodigious sportsperson. Don’t let this happen in your home!

  9. We need to keep New Zealand’s reputation as an outdoors destination down to a low murmur

    These bloody tourists, coming over here, pumping up our self esteem as a nation and giving us some of their hard-earned cash. Infuriating!

    Simply take hunting out of the equation, and at least some of these existentialist, money-spending crazies will stay in their home countries or go to Ireland or something.

  10. If we stop hunters and shooters from having guns, firearm-related crime will disappear

    Should we open this can of worms right at the end of this article? Why not!

    Remember recently 28 firearms were stolen from a pistol club armourer? A bright-spark professor from Otago Uni rightly points out that a firearms register would solve this problem, and we should crack down on law-abiding gun owners to reduce criminal activity. Bravo sir!

    Wait. Wait a second… Aren’t military style semi-automatics and pistols already registered? Why yes, yes they are. And these are the same types of weapons that were taken in this burglary? Affirmative.

    Then what are you talking about kind sir – surely we are safe, as these are registered firearms? Perhaps what the knowledgeable prof is referring to is the wholesale registration of all firearms, which would make old grandad on the West Coast a criminal if he didn’t get the memo. The type of programme that was abysmally implemented and eventually scrapped in Canada, possibly the friendliest nation on the planet…

    This sounds like a fantastic plan, and one surely aimed at the criminal element who would love access to guns so they could get themselves a trophy stag. Or hold up a liquor store. Whatever.

    Clearly a strategy like this would be far more effective than providing police with the additional resources and training they would need to actually solve burglaries and clamp down on other illegal methods of acquiring firearms. It certainly sounds more wise than creating tougher sentences for gun-related crimes, which might create a greater deterrent for those bound for the slammer with their nefarious deeds.

Well, this has been our top 10 list of reasons why hunting should be banned. If you’re upset by it, you need to click on either this link or this link.