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Hunting At Kanuka Wilderness Ltd.

Distant snow capped mountains as viewed from a hilltop on the Kanuka Estate.

New Zealand is a land of incredible vistas, saturated with beauty and an abundance of wild game.
Adding to the attraction is the friendliness of the people, clean towns and reasonable prices.
I was fortunate to hunt at kanuka Wilderness Estates in 1999 under the guidance of Neil Mercer. Neil and I stayed at his remote cabin and trekked the hills daily in pursuit of Bowhunting opportunities. My hunt took place in late July and early August which is winter time down under. However, temperatures rarely drop to freezing and most days saw pleasant temperatures.
Our remote cabin was comfortable with electric, hot water, cell phone access and a privy. The cabin is situated right in the hunting area and some hunting was done simply by walking from the cabin into the surrounding hills. We used ATV'S to reach distant areas of the vast holdings.

The story of my hunt has been published in the 2000 "Big Game Special" issue of Bowhunter Magazine (July/August) and also in January issue of New Zealand Outdoors Magazine.

Red Deer Stags ---- The First Challenge

Red Deer are majestic deer that resemble our elk. Unfortunately my bow and equipment was somewhere between Washington D.C. and New Zealand for the first 2 days of the hunt.

Neil led me to a world class stag that was bedded high on a hill on the very first day. I was not interested in gun hunting but Neil convinced me that this was a true trophy caliber animal and he also reminded me that the airlines may "never" find my archery equipment!
The logic of being there and not taking advantage of such a rare opportunity soon convinced me to shoulder Neil's 308 and take my first and second stags. I shot the first stag which was a 21-pointer from an overlook several hundred yards away.
A second stag soon appeared and Neil determined it was a mamagement stag. He had small spikes and I took him to get him out of the breeding population.

It was dark by the time we circumvented a deep gorge and finally reached the downed stag.
Neil's dog "Cassie" was a constant companion on all of our hunting excursions and an unbelievable hunting partner.
I have never seen such an obedient and well trained dog.

We left the stags in the field overnight and returned the next morning to pack them out. (There are no predators in New Zealand. The most vicious animal there are Opossums)

One heck of a crew here: Greg Rowan, Neil and Cassie the wonder dog.

"The New Zealand way" of packing game out of the bush.
Neil demonstrated how it was done in the "old days" --- pre-atv era.
Neil has been trapping, tranquilizing and packing deer out of the remote bush for 20 years to build and improve the stock at kanuka. He has traps far back in isolated regions where atv access is not possible.

Packing one animal a 1/4 mile up a steep hill was plenty for a mornings work. When it came time to bring the larger stag out Gregg and Neil got to work with shovel and ropes to get the quad across some rough terrain.
I think Neil liked this way a lot better.
* Note the build-up of mud on the tires and wheels.

In the days that followed we often spotted deer at a distance. Here are two magnificent survivors.

Turkey, Goats, Bulls and more New Zealand photos

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