It’s not just about the hunting

Wasp control is a rapid way to boost the native biodiversity in any forest

The base premise of New Zealand Deerstalkers, its “reason for being”, is legal, safe, ethical and enjoyable recreational game hunting for anybody who may wish to participate on that basis.

This is enshrined in its name, policy and actions, and obviously all affiliated branches (i.e. NZDA clubs throughout New Zealand). However, there is far more to NZDA than this core proposition and Nelson Branch demonstrates this in its actions and activities in a very clear way! Other support or peripheral work (for it indeed is work) also occurs in training, competition shooting, provision of safe and certified ranges (for competitions, training and practice) and by no means least, conservation work such as pest plant and animal control.

And goats and ferrets “gotta go”!

Training is provided annually through the nationally co-ordinated HUNTS programme that ensures product quality and certification of all trainers. Most trainees are younger but adults wishing to get started in the sport on the right foot also sign up to get all the basic skills set from the get go.

We are lucky to be the “owner/operator of a very good range at Packers Creek and also have management oversight of the community range in Muchison. These fully certified and registered ranges not only provide the perfect place for safer training they are also venues for national and international events. Remember all our Commonwealth and Olympic competitors in the shooting disciplines use such ranges all round New Zealand! Further, hunters wishing to ensure their rifles are operating correctly and accurately can do so in safety and under controlled conditions. Going hunting without being certain of your firearm’s performance is not the way.

Marksmanship training during HUNTS course at Packers Creek Range. Being an accurate and safe shooter is paramount to being a safe and ethical hunter.

In line with many other clubs around the country we undertake work to support DoC or other landholders to control animals or eradicate pests.

A relationship with the local Wairoa Mountain Bike Park has allowed us (club members inducted to the situation) to take care of some of their concerns. Let the numbers do the talking…..!

826 hours of work

189 goats, 47 pigs, 231 possums, 7 feral cats dealt with and 66 Vespex stations filled for wasps…(we can’t count the wasps!).

A “PS” to such work has been the provision of safe and nutritious game animal meat to local foodbanks.

Got one! Wilding pine high on the tops behind Nelson.

Back on the home range a trapping campaign at Packers Creek has yielded in less than a year 127 rats, 4 ferrets, 9 weasels, 29 possums and 4 feral cats. It is extraordinary what is there under our noses!

Other work has been done with local DoC who firstly supported us along with Helicopters Nelson and great pilot Toby Reid to train members to be safe “in and out” (officially “hover exit training”) of helicopters and general chopper safety as some work entails flying into more remote places. This is great to be “ticked off” for DoC work and their safety plans as well as for hunters wishing to use choppers at other times. DoC also support weka and kiwi aversion training for indicator hunting dogs which are so helpful hunting.

In the field we have provided over 220 person hours on wilding pine eradication in local areas as well as supporting a goat control programme in Kahurangi National Park.

But yes! Of course we go hunting and support our members in that too. If you hang around our next article will look at how we do that!

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