Hunting in Fiordland
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Te Anau and Manapouri are the wild food capitals of the world and welcome hunters from all over the world. Why is it great to hunt in Fiordland? Not only are you hunting extremely delicious wild foods, but you are also helping to manage the large mammal populations in the forests of Fiordland, that trample and eat the trees and plants needed by native birds.
No bag limits
Many a foreigner to New Zealand has expressed delight that there are no "bag limits" on the number of red deer, wild pig and chamois you can hunt in Fiordland National Park. However, it's a balancing act. If too many are killed, then the populations are not sustainable and sport hunting opportunities will disappear. So if you are sport hunting, don't be too greedy. However, if too few are killed, then extensive damage can be caused to the forests.
In some areas of Fiordland it is important that deer are controlled very heavily. For example in the Murchison Mountains opposite Te Anau where the incredibly rare takahe bird lives. In this area, shooting of deer using helicopters has massively reduced the deer population. Helicopter deer hunting is a highly effective way of reducing the deer population where it needs to be reduced. Sport hunting is not allowed in this area, as members of the public are not allowed here.
The mighty wapiti
There is also a region of Fiordland populated by wapiti (otherwise known as elk) that were imported from the USA, released, and survived. This is the only free range herd of Wapiti outside northern america. These are among the largest deer in the world, some with massive antlers, so are prized trophies for hunters' walls.
There is an annual ballot to assign wapiti "blocks" (areas of land) to hunters during the most popular hunting season, known as the "roar". This is when the male wapiti call out out their sexual intentions to females, in weird high pitched cries similar to a bugle, making it easier to locate them.
For more information, go to the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation site.
During the "roar" hunting of deer is also popular throughout Fiordland; deer are just as noisy as wapiti at this time, but the noise they make is more of a manly, deep-pitched, groan of anticipation. Hunting a deer or pig in the wild is one thing; getting it home is another, causing an entirely different kind of groaning. It's a heavy, smelly business. But the end result is family freezers across Fiordland being stocked with delicious steaks, stewing steak, mince, sausages and even salami. A meat-eater's heaven with minimal guilt. At least they lived a good life in paradise.
Outside the national park there are additional hunting opportunities in other wild places nearby, including fallow deer hunting.
Hang out with our hunters and hire a hunting guide
To find out more about hunting in Fiordland National Park and nearby, come to Te Anau and visit Fiordland Frontier, the gun and supplies shop in Te Anau, situated near the cinema, where you can hang out with hunters and have a yarn. Alternatively browse the fantastic information boards in the Wapiti Bakery and Cafe next door, which explain the history of hunting in Fiordland.
You can also hire a private hunting guide. One local provider is Hunt South.