5 Essential things I learned while hunting New Zealand in the Roar.
To say I was excited about my New Zealand hunt was a complete understatement... Hunting NZ is a massive bucket list achievement for most hunters and to be able to finally get to do it was epic!
For this trip, myself and Andrew along with 2 of our close buddies Eddie and Quaffa booked 5 days on the Hossack Station.
One of the oldest and most well established hunting stations in NZ, the Hossack is just a short 90min drive out of Christchurch in the heart of the South Island.
With a massive array of free range game like Red Deer, Chamois, Fallow, Tahr and Boar to name a few, the Hossack Station had plenty of game to offer.
All in all hunting in another country is always a little daunting as well as exciting. You tend to over prepare having no real grasp on what you really need but not wanting to miss out on that essential piece of kit.
Hunting New Zealand versus hunting in Australia offers some similarities but also it offers some vast differences too.
So in summary, here's a list of the top 5 things I learnt hunting in New Zealand.
1- The hills are big... REALLY BIG
Or should I say mountains... it's no joke! In Australia we get used to some rolling hills or the odd cliff... but in NZ everything is steep! This can offer a bit of trouble judging distance too. What I tended to find was that because a hill was so steep it seemed that the target I was stalking was far away but in reality it wasn't. Height gives you a distorted perception of distance so make sure your rangefinder is handy at all times!
2- Don't use a single pin bow sight in the Rut/Roar
So this season I decided to go from using a multi pin sight to a single pin adjustable sight.
It was the wrong decision for the conditions.
Having a Multi Pin to be able to make distance changes on the fly and under pressure without that added movement of adjusting the fixed pin would have been valuable this hunt.
That said... I really like the accuracy and added clearance of the sight window a single pin sight offers so... I will hunt Multiple pins in the rut when the deer are more flighty and harder to keep still due to chasing does and other bucks and then change to a Single pin outside of the rut when the deer are grazing and are more patternable
3- The Sitka Heavyweight Hoodie is RAD!
Up until this hunt I hadn't really used this piece of clothing. In my mind I assumed it would be too thick and hot and I'd sweat it out completely then cool off fast to a chill... Quite the opposite occurred.
Not only was the top warm but super breathable. Hiking up the steep hills (sometimes for hours at a time) it wicked the sweat away from my skin rapidly allowing me not to hold water. When the hunt started and sometimes a long wait happened, it kept me really warm sometimes only needing my Jetstream Vest over the top to keep me 100% toastie.
This top is a must in any hunting layering system especially mid to late season when the temps drop.
4- You eventually WILL GET WET even in the best rain gear... so KEEP WARM
Once a wise hunter said to me "Better to be warm and wet than cold and wet"
This rings totally true especially if your hunt has been 10hrs long and for the whole 10hrs it has been raining.
Thermal Layering is the most important tool any hunter can learn so make sure your layers not only keep you dry as best as possible but also allow maximum warmth if you do soak through.
My layering system for this particular day (8-10 Degrees Celsius with wind and rain all day)
- Sitka Heavyweight Hoodie
- Sitka Jetstream Jacket
- Sitka Dewpoint Jacket
- Sitka Timberline Pant
- Sitka Dewpoint Pant
- Sitka Stormfront Gaiter
5 - Always look your guide in the eye and give him a tip at the end of the trip
This guy has just run your ass around the countryside for the past week. Putting you onto deer, giving you tips on how to beat the animal and giving his time to educate you on a specific species of animal you don't know.
The best thing you can do is give him your respect and show some gratitude by just doing the simple stuff like being grateful, looking him in the eye and having a good laugh!
Also take a tip. US hunters are great at this but Aussie hunters usually suck at it... some extra cash is cool (like an extra days guiding pay) But if you're not completely cashed up give him some of your awesome new gear (not your 5 year old lucky shirt) like a merino top, gloves, face veil, cap, deer caller etc... Something he doesn't have and really likes, this usually goes a long way!
The Hossack Station
Sitka Gear Australia and New Zealand - Safari Supply Company http://www.safarisupply.co.nz/