Telford Hunting 15 November 2022

New Zealand’s borders are open, New Zealand is safe and Telford hunting has its 2023 season operational plans in action. It’s a one-step-at-a-time set of plans.

Everyone has their stories of Covid and the pandemic, many of these stories are still happening and will continue to influence and affect us for some time.

For us as a business and the wider hunting community the timing (March 2020) could not have occurred at a worse time, we were three weeks into our season, the Red Stag rut was in full swing, we had a book full of hunters, everything was set for a great season, then, nothing. Gone, borders closed, New Zealand isolated, no work, no income, nothing, sound familiar?

Never, and I’m one of millions, have I ever been faced with a situation where I was removed from the decision-making process, and felt so confused and ineffective. We managed, with some difficulty to get our last hunters onto flights out of the country. The expression “stunned mullet” comes to mind. That was March 19th 2020. It will be late February 2023 before we get back to where we were cut off back in 2020.

When NZ finally opened its borders again in May 2022 we were fortunate to have time to put a couple of hunts together, 2 years and 4 months of waiting, frustration and financial and personal stress, nice to be finally back in business. It was so good to have the guiding team back together, accommodations running, staff in place, income, and clients out hunting which meant animals to skin and process, and it all worked. Well mostly it all worked.

Red Stag Web Cam
Red Stag Hunting in New Zealan

“Mostly”, hmm, some advice and recommendations. Our tourism and service industry has been seriously affected by supply chain issues and staff shortages. Please be patient and prepared for a lack of people in critical areas should plans not go according to plan.

Airlines. Air New Zealand has its North America routes back up and running and still remains our recommended airline when travelling here. However as with all airlines currently, in the unlikely event, for example, lost baggage, finding the person or a voice at the end of a phone line can be extremely difficult and resolution to what was once a quick fix now is a struggle. We recommend you pack smart and plan for the worst-case scenario, have your essential items in your carry on, wear your hunting boots on the plane, have your hunting jacket as your travel jacket, binoculars and camera in your carry-on. Your bags will find you, but it may be 1-3 days later and we need to be hunting not chasing bags. Have travel insurance.

Back to the good stuff, we are at the end of spring, start of summer here in NZ, so my focus is on animal management and supply, tick it’s done. Staff, tick all sorted, Duncan is ready, I’m a tad out of condition but head is in the right place, Ruth our new guide is eager and buzzing, lodgings are arranged and soon to be finalised, lease is renewed, and maintenance on and within the hunting area scheduled. We are ready.

Primary objectives for the 2023 season. Priority one, have the deposited hunters from 2019 and 2020 completed their postponed hunts, manage the new bookings.

Big change is in our communications and web presence. I’ve retired from fishing guiding, that has prompted a change in email, flyfishhunt has been replaced with

Sue and I have, for a number of reasons, moved home after 35 years in the Wanaka area. I will spend four months of the year in Wanaka/Hawea for the hunting season then return north to our new home in Kaikoura.

Moving reflects change, and change is what we have all had to do as we move on post-Covid, everyone’s world has been reset. I’ll leave you with this to ponder. “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” (Charles Darwin).

Bring on 2023.


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