Where to hunt?
So you've got all your gear, sorted your rifle, been to the range and sighted it in and your all set but where do you go?
If your new to hunting, one of the best things you can do is join your local New Zealand Deerstalkers branch (NZDA). There's lots of good reasons to become a member but for the new hunter it is the chance to meet like minded people, get out on club hunts or club rifle shoots and learn from those experienced members.
Join your local NZDA branch, it is well worth the awesome people you will meet.
You might find your local branch runs HUNTS courses and for the new hunter a HUNTS course is the way to go. There is just so much to learn and gain from doing a HUNTS course. You will meet like minded people on your course that are in the same boat as you and a great way to find friends that have similar skills, experience and knowledge.
Do an NZDA HUNTS course, you'll learn lots and meet like minded friends.
Try check out the Department of Conservation ( DOC) website and all the information they have regarding the areas you can hunt. Their website has an excellent mapping program that shows all conservation areas that allow hunting as well as details on tracks, huts, contact info for access. I use it alot to look at areas I want to look into.
There is huge amounts of information on the internet, just Google anything hunting related and away you go. From areas to hunt, videos on YouTube, animals to hunt, places to go just about anything you can think about.
One of the best things is to look locally on the DOC website at areas that allow recreational hunting and go check them out. You could just go there one fine sunny Saturday for a walk, think of it as 'recon'. All your doing might be finding how to get to the start of the track that you need to get to to be able to walk into the area. Walk up the track, you don't need to even take your rifle, perhaps just your pack with hunting gear and bino's and go for a walk. Time how long it takes you to get from the start of the track to where you might see game.
Find a suitable place to check out and do some 'recon'
You now know how to get there, where to park, what the tracks like, how long it might take you to walk up to where you might see game and if you had to walk up in the dark, what the tracks like so in your mind, yes you could walk up the track in the dark with your headlight on to get to where you want to be on daylight. All simple things that you do perhaps a few weeks before so when you do go up there hunting you know what you're doing and where you're going.
Take your phone or GPS and use tracking mode, mark some spots that allow you to see, perhaps into that basin or bush edge. As you walk up in the dark, perhaps it's just getting light and those marks you made are now only a few hundred meters away, headlight off, sneak in to that spot and you are ready and in a good shooting position if there is any animals in that area. All because of that 'recon' you did a few weeks ago.
You might find now you're up in this area, you didn't see anything but you now have all day to continue around the bush edge or into the next catchment to check out this area. Constantly look for fresh track or sign which could indicate there are animals in the area. If seen, make a mental note or mark with a 'pin' on your phone app or GPS. Look for suitable places out of the way to camp for future trips.
Get 'Out There'' recon, find good places and places to come back to.
Ideally try get out with a hunting buddy so between you both you can learn off each other. You've got someone to talk to, walk with, help each other, discuss the days walk and if needed can help if something goes wrong. It is always good to have someone with you and experience the day.
Getting out 'hunting' or as I like to call it 'armed tramping' isn't about going out and shooting everything. Just getting out into the hills, covering ground and going to places that few but hunters ever go too and experiencing what those places have to offer. The scenery, the epic-ness, the magnitude of just how big everything is. Waking up to just breath taking views that few will ever see.
Take your camera and check out those vistas.
You have taking up an awesome sport that only hunters can experience. You go into the most amazing places and if you're lucky can bring home venison, pork, wild goat, Tahr or Chamois meat. And then there's any number of game birds and small game.
Regardless of whether you bring home game for the family and fill the freezer, you will come to realize it's not all about shooting everything you see. Just getting into the back country and exploring. Buy a good camera and take lots of photos of you, you and mates, places visited, scenery, animals alive and taken and one day you'll look back at all those photos and realize it's more than just hunting.
Just getting 'Out There' with my best mate, up the Hopkins. The best of times.
Really, the more you look the more you will see and the more you get into hunting the more you will realize just how many wonderful places there are that you can go to. There really isn't enough time in our lifetime to explore all the places you will suddenly discover. So get 'Out There' and do some 'armed tramping'.