Many hunters and their non hunting partners want to know how is the hunting day structured.
Fair and good question.
Nothing happens in a hurry and we try not to pull surprises.
Our hunting lease is 10 minutes drive from your lodgings so there no travel time, you can glass our lease from your rooms at the lodgings, I encourage you to.
Our lease is exclusive so we are the only people hunting there , so no urgency to get to the best spot first.
Most days follow a similar “routine” the exception often being your first fill days hunting. If, and most of you have ,just arrive the the day before off an international flight you are running on adrenaline and excitement and are more than likely somewhat sleep deprived. So we aren’t picking you up before sunrise.
Sunrise, early season (March) will be around 6am, by June it’s 7.30am.
Your breakfast is in your room, continental style, non hunters are lucky, they can get a full breakfast from kitchen around 8.30am , only way a hunter is getting the full cooked breakfast to to put an animal on the ground and take the pressure off!
So Duncan and I arrive to pick you up, you need to be ready to go, we will have lunch or a lunch plan, we have waters etc in the vehicles, you need your day pack, and some clothing options, we will know the daily weather and advise you. What tends to happen is the back seat in our trucks becomes a wardrobe of jackets and extra clothes. Camera, binoculars, cell phones( just don’t let work interrupt) we have coverage on 95% of the hunting ground and its great to have your guides number and him or her yours.
Once on location we find a vantage point and glass, and glass and glass some more, move ,find a new vantage point and glass some more, move and glass ,move and glass. We do tend to have similar routes that we need to cover each morning and that experience has shown us deliver results, it’s all new to you but very familiar to us. If there is some wind about we chatter away as we go, if it’s calm we tend to keep things as quiet as we can, a nod a hand direction.
Most of the morning animal movements are over by 10-11a.m, if we aren’t dealing to a dead animal it’s back to the lodgings for a break, and a plan for afternoon pick up, early season around 4pm, it not dark until 9.30 pm for most of March.
If we, or any of the hunters have an animal down it’s normal to pitch in if practicable and help get the trophy and carcass into the trucks and back to the skinning shed and freezers, once it’s in the trucks Duncan and I deal to it. You rest up, we deal to head skinning and meat preparations. Duncan and I both try and be morning people when it comes to hunting, get an animal on the deck before lunch, get it home skinned and cooled then back out in the evenings for more glassing.
There is no normal for putting an animal on the deck but shooting one at 9.25pm in the evening and getting back to the lodgings at midnight makes the chef a tad grumpy, we try and keep the chef happy….within reason.
If, like most of our hunts you are signed up to hunt 5 days ,we hunt 5 days , shot an animal in the first hour of the first day we hunt the next 4 days, we will find something to hunt and get out and about.
Should you shot something on the first day?, absolutely, OK odds are it may be the first stag you have ever seen, Duncan and I have seen 100s and know pretty darn quickly what we are looking at. My advise is never pass up on the first day what you would shoot on the last. Sure there is always ( hopefully) another stag ,maybe a bigger stag but the stag you shoot is your stag and until you shoot it you simply don’t have one.
We have Fallow deer to hunt, Chamois to hunt, Tahr to hunt, there are always other and more animals to hunt. We don’t have tag limits, it’s private land, we are the land and animal managers, you see it and we will advise whether it’s a trophy or not.
Yep, you shoot it, you pay for it, again you should be well advised on what is out there and what it costs.
Oh and on the shoot and wound and not recover thing, yep it happens ,not often as we have dogs and a pretty good set of tracking skills but it does happen and yes you pay for it or a fair value for it. It sucks when we loss an animal.
Afternoon /Evening hunts are often about finding and leaving the animal for the next mornings hunt. It’s very much about location of the animal, if it’s a simple recovery and often they are, then it’s bang and down, if it’s 2 hours hike out of a brush infested gully it can wait…normally. There are always exception, especially with Tahr hunting. Tahr hunting is another story in itself.
Significant others have-a plethora of day options available out of the lodgings, with a little organizing and a strong network of local tourism operators everything is only a couple of phone calls away. Wine tours, mountain biking, jet boats, walking , its all right at our finger tips . Our lease is not only a short 10 minutes from the lodgings ,it’s 15-20 minutes from the busy tourist town of Wanaka, we are fortunate to have such a great hunting lease so close to Wanaka, or is that just part of hunting with us as locals on land that I’ve hunted for over 30 years.
Wx can play it’s part in any hunt, we don’t normally lose a full days hunting to the weather, oh it rains and it could even snow or more commonly our lease can be blanketed in fog and mist but it’s never all day. Ifs it’s pouring rain in the early morning it’s normally clear 4-5 hrs later, there are few better times to hunt stags than after a heavy and persistent rain. Fallow on the other hand like sun on their backs. We know our local weather, Sues a commercial GA pilot her days are controlled by weather, her word is gold when it comes to weather.
Many of our hunts are combo stag and Tahr hunts, long story short ,we can hunt stags in almost all weather conditions, this isn’t always the case with Tahr, for that reason they have priority over stags, if you’ve booked to hunt both be prepared to hunt Tahr first. If the weather is Dodgey we hunt Tahr the first opportunity we are given, stags can wait.
Duncan and I have a combined 60 plus years of hunting here an 40 something as guides, trust us, it’s what we do and what we are good at.