Knowledge shared is knowledge squared
For hunters heading into new areas or trying new types of hunting, in-depth knowledge is key to making a safe plan and having a successful hunt.
Start with some questions for yourself:
- What is the terrain in the area like? Will it require alpine skills or avalanche awareness skills?
- Analyse your TOPO map carefully – The contour lines run 20m apart, but a lot can happen in that space. Steep terrain is major factor for hunting trips as the risk of falls or getting bluffed is increased. Learn more map tips here.
- What typical weather should you expect and how will it affect your trip? Make a plan B for river-crossings, think about about other effects weather might have.
- What additional gear might you need? Is it your first big winter trip? A Personal Locator (PLB), good waterproof coat, warm layers, sturdy footwear and an emergency shelter are all essential equipment.
- To target new species and new forms of hunting – learn about the animal, talk to other experienced hunters and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to bag something on the first go.
- Who do you know who has been there? Well that brings us to the next section:
Ask others for the finer details
A valuable part of researching for a hunting trip is talking to other hunters or trampers who have experienced it themselves. Many NZ hunting communities are actively engaging on social media, in hunting clubs and even sharing their hunts on Youtube or TV. We at NZ Mountain Safety Council applaud those who are willing to put aside their hoarding of their ‘favourite spots’ and share their experiences with others. Even a few notes in the hut intentions book can really help the next group. Every hunting trip provides lessons, so why not share them and help others so they can ‘have a crack’ at getting some game and making it home safe.
Some things to discuss with your fellow hunters might be:
- What level of fitness is required for the area
- Safest access points to open areas
- River crossing conditions and best places to cross
- What the hut or camping area is like
- Road access points
- Who you should to talk to – such as landowners, local Department of Conservation (DOC) rangers or transportation providers like helicopter pilots
- What specific gear for the area that might be required?
- What considerations to your rifle set-up might you need?
- Details on a TOPO-map of possible areas to hunt or access
Get ready for winter
For those heading into the alpine areas of New Zealand this winter, some additional skills and considerations always are required. You can learn skills in avalanche awareness, snow safety skills and more on our website. We also run avalanche.net.nz Public Observations where you can share avalanche and snowpack photos and data. This helps paint a picture of the current conditions for other travellers.
If you are starting from a track or Department of Conservation (DOC) catchment area, give our new Plan My Walk app a go. You can pick a Department of Conservation track, get weather and avalanche alerts as well as build a custom gear list to share with your mates and a trusted contact.
There are plenty of animals out there, as seen this Roar, with many stories of successful hunting trips across the country. With lots to hunt and places to go we hope everyone can help each other out and come back to share the tale. Stay safe out there this winter!
Story: Collaboration with NZDA NZ Hunting and Wildlife Magazine for the June 2021 editorial
Photo Credit: Red Stag Timber Hunter’s Club