Early spring Kaimai Ranges Hunt

One of the favourite times for a hunter is when the first heatwave of spring comes around. Spring is a great time for hunting as the deer decide to go into their annual feeding frenzy before the roar and pack out to graze areas they normally wouldn't venture in daylight.

In this hunt, I had the rare opportunity to access a public open permit hunting area through a farm in our local Waikato region, only 2 hours from Auckland. The farm camping spot is located only 200metres from a public access road but allowed me to get all our gear next to the hunting spot, well away from people and minimal setup.

Being the first time ever hunting this block I was shown the area from the property owner. Pointing out various access points, clearings and history of the land. After setup, I went straight out into the bush. Normally I’m used to walking at least an hour before starting the stalk in the bush territory, however, as soon as I entered the bush here I spooked an animal. Surprised I continued on up a ridge until the wind direction went behind us and the windy bush swirls started up. It is better not to hunt then to hunt in the bad wind.

So I backtracked and headed up a new access point that farmer told us about to find better wind. Remember this is all still public land! Not 30 mins into our stalk I came across two hinds feeding about 50metres away. Wanting to take both animals I waited until both animals went broadside. After 5minutes of anticipation, the front hind looked up directly at me straight on. Having lost the surprise I took the shot.

Straight through the heart and the front shoulder blade. A clean shot and an example that not all shots need to be broadside.

My first animal was in the bag so off to the truck for a feed and cleanup by the stream. I arrived at this farm by 1 pm and had this animal shot and back by the truck by 5 pm. The following morning I had similar deer luck, by bumping into a stag by 9:30 am! Having a clean 35m head/neck shot I decided to shoot a little lower through the broadside where the heart and lungs sit. Guessing the placement I fired and to my surprise, the deer just hoped away. After closer inspection, I saw the bullet went straight into a rogue tree branch through the scrub. Gutted but also a great lesson - to take the head or neck in this situation.

It is amazing how good the hunting opportunities are in New Zealand if you know where to look and how to hunt the area. The obvious question is “where can I go to get some good hunting?” and the only answer to this is “Go out and explore!”. It comes in hand and hand with hunting that it requires a huge amount of time and discipline to find good hunting grounds on public land but well worth the payoff.


The damage was done with the Havalon Titan. Get your Havalon knife here