Our hunting season starts later in Australia than New Zealand due to the tropical rainy season, which extends into the first months of the year. Generally we commence our Buffalo hunting in late April or early May and our advanced Practical Shooting Schools together with the Feral Game culling hunts in late April.
Our culling clients removed over 3000 feral donkeys during the 2001 season. That takes our total to in excess of 35000, but there are still large numbers requiring reduction during 2002. We took individual hunters from Nevada, Chicago and Texas as well as groups from Hawaii and California.
The buffalo season was the most successful in our history. We explored and pushed tracks into new wilderness areas, within our Buffalo concession. The average size of trophy bulls taken exceeded our previous best (last season) of 100 SCI points. The biggest bull for the season was taken by Tom Hammond, a client sent to us by Chuck Bazzy of Safari Adventures. 109 SCI POINTS!
Numerous hunters also took trophy class Wild Boars from our Buffalo area and enjoyed the complimentary fishing after taking their Buffalo trophies. We have expanded the Buffalo camp to cater for groups of up to 20 people and also transported equipment to the site of a new fly camp, which we hope to complete in 2002. These new facilities will give our clients even better trophy Buffalo hunting than they had in 2001.
2002 will see us reopen our Boar Camp at Dorisvale Station, after resting it during 2000 and 2001. Reports indicate that there are plenty of big Boars to be taken, offering multiple trophies for serious Boar Hunters in 2002.
We look forward to entertaining many hunters and making many new life-long friends in 2002. We hope that you are fit, healthy and enjoying life and looking forward to some great hunting in the future. Should you have any questions regarding any South Pacific hunting opportunities in 2002, do not hesitate to contact me personally.
We got off to a great and early start this year with Dick and Mary Cabela visiting again to take two fine Red Stags, a nice Fallow Buck and a huge Pere David - only the second taken in New Zealand.
March, April, May and June were particularly busy, but a combination of excellent weather and top quality help from all my guides (Don Greig, Mark Jones, Ron Spanton and Mike Wilks), ensured that all the 2001 clients took the trophies they were looking for. I should also mention the excellent service provided by Blair Chapman of Mt Hutt Helicopters, who provided transport into the remote areas of the Southern Alps for our Thar and Chamois hunts.
Of course an important part of any hunt is the accommodations and food - we again enjoyed the hospitality extend to us by the "MT Hutt Homestead", "The MT Hutt Lodge" and "Tyrone Farmstay". After many years, all of these people have become firm friends not only to me and the guides, but also to many of our clients. Thanks is due to them all and I hope we can continue to work together for a long time.
We extended the areas in which we hunt this season, establishing a Boar hunting area north of Christchurch, this area also gives access to some excellent Chamois. I hope to continue to expand our operation in this area in future seasons and look forward to working with Mike Wilks in particular as we move on this expansion.
Bow Hunting proved to be very popular this season - 5 hunters joined us at various times during the season. Tim Laurie of Elgin, Illinois showed what can be achieved, taking a monster Red Stag, a great Wapiti, plus Thar, Boar and Ram. Doug Schuldt of Trader's Den Taxidermy, Sycamore, Illinois, accompanied Tim and also took a fine Red Stag and a Thar with his bow. A selection of trophies taken by these two, plus our other bow hunters is included here.
Well done Guys!
Thar, Chamois and Red Stag, remain the primary and most desired of our trophies here in New Zealand and we are indeed fortunate in having all of these fine trophies close at hand.
Our main Red Stag area "High Peak", is right on the edge of the best Thar and Chamois areas to be found in the Southern Alps. With our extensive concessions on both Government controlled land and privately held "Run Country", we enjoy a unique position of being able to offer hunts for these species under any circumstances of weather or hunting method. It is an added bonus that we can go from a Stag hunt to a Thar / Chamois hunt in the space of a few moments.
A number of our 2001 hunters chose to hunt their Thar and Chamois on foot, in a Wild & Free situation, all were successful and some of the Thar proved to be excellent large specimens - congratulations chaps you have joined an exclusive band of hunters.
Others opted for the physically easier way and flew into the Southern Alps to seek their quarry. While not raising as much sweat and puffing as hard, they were no less excited by the adventure and had the added bonus of exploring the grandeur of New Zealand's Southern Alps from the air.
Speaking of adventure, how would have you liked to follow one of our lady clients as she pursued her Bull Thar down into a cavern in old avalanche debris? The bull was finally taken UNDERNEATH the avalanche and required her to wade across the stream flowing through the debris for photos and recovery.
As I have already said "High Peak" continues to be our main base of operation and the quality of the Red Stags and Wapiti continues to impress and improve each year - 2001 was no exception with many clients opting to take "Gold" medal stags. With over 4500 acres in the hunting area, "High Peak" provides a quality hunting experience on a wide variety of terrain - open grassland, scrub and thorn bush areas, plus extensive areas of native bush.
Fallow deer numbers are continuing to rise and some consideration to culling this species will be needed in the future. Whitetail are another species that we hope will be available in the next year or two as the small herd increases.
The facilities available for duck hunting are another area that is under development at "High Peak" - the building of a 10 acre lake should provide habitat to attract and hold waterfowl, as well as provide hunting, in even the driest season. (2000/2001 has been the latest in a series of drought years in this part of New Zealand).
I had a short trip to New Caledonia this season, July 27 through August 8 - just two clients, plus Craig Boddington who came to do a story on the Rusa Stags. With a late Rut, conditions were not easy, however everyone took nice trophies and Craig left in awe of the numbers of deer! I await Craig's story and photos.
Just as an aside and I don't know if Craig will mention it in his story, but we sat for over an hour and heart-ached about two monster stags, that paraded in front of us at 500 yards! With possibly a 100 other deer spread between them and us, a closer approach was impossible over the open grassland. To Craig's credit he declined to take the shot.
The future for hunting in New Caledonia looks bright as each year larger and larger specimens of Rusa are taken. This is one of the few places left where there is a chance of taking the world's largest trophy of the species, in a free range uncontrolled situation. I look forward to many happy and successful returns!
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