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From the Hills to the Plate

Poronui has to be one of the best setup meat hunting locations in New Zealand. Firstly, the property has plentiful free-ranging sika amongst and around the main farming operation, secondly there are experienced hunting guides on site, thirdly it has a modern processing and chiller plant, and lastly there is a range of accommodation options to choose from. The hunt itself while virtually guaranteed because of animal numbers, will be exciting and challenging, and the meat acquired is a trophy in itself. You are also helping manage the local deer herd.

Sika produce great venison, right up there with fallow deer. Poronui sika are particularly well conditioned because of their farming fringe habitat choice. Free ranging sika venison is totally natural, lean meat, lower in cholesterol than chicken, has a third the calories of beef and contains less than 3% fat. Successful hunters also often take a colourful skin home for tanning.

To understand what a hunter can expect let’s look at my experience on my July visit to Poronui. I wanted to take the meat home from one sika to enjoy through the rest of winter. Early one frosty morning guide Mark and I visited a farm block that backed on to native bush. Yes, you get your own guide. As the vehicle crested a hill brow, wild deer exploded out of a gully and hared back to the bush. I snapped the accompanying photograph of their departing rump patches. There were deer everywhere but ten minutes later there were none. Leave no one behind is their motto when they spook.

On the third stalk, in late afternoon, during a snow flurry, a young hind watched a tad too long, and a neck shot secured my venison.

Mark now went from finder to butcher expertly gutting her on the hill. The cleaned carcass with skin still on was then carried to the truck. We then travelled down to the processing shed where the carcass was put up on hooks and lifted into the air. Skinning then commenced and if I had wanted I could keep the skin.

The skinned animal, minus head and lower legs was then put into the chiller waiting transportation home. It was a thoroughly professional, clean operation carried out by an expert.

Greg Morton

Poronui Game Estate: The Wow Factor

As New Zealand correspondent for The Hunting Report I have carried out critique visits on a large number of game estates. It would be fair to say that over the years I have never visited a truly bad one but I also have to say that several were bland or uninspiring from a hunting perspective. On the other hand, a couple of profiled hunting estates were truly memorable. Poronui is definitely one such place. It gets the ‘wow’ tick of approval. Poronui Game Estate was obviously designed and fenced by someone who really knew hunting.

What I particularly like about Poronui is the way the estate tantalisingly offers new territory and a range of big game around every corner. It is like discovering a series of secret spots. In addition, the game is in great condition and the trophy individuals on display are world class. The breadth and diversity of terrain means the estate can cater for several hunters at the same time. Poronui fenced an already existing slice of sika hunting paradise and then introduced additional species. Each new trophy species has over time carved out a habitat niche that suits them. The terrain allows them to live wild, express themselves in a natural manner, live well, live in mixed species populations, and yes on many occasions evade the hunter who stalks them. The estate is as close to free-range hunting that one can provide. The wilderness backdrop is the public land Kaimanawa mountains, and the hunting block is nestled right up against the bush.

The terrain is diverse and hunters have access to several different valleys when stalking trophies. It is best described as a rolling landscape, sliced with folds and creases and clothed in diverse flora. There is open grassland particularly favoured by fallow buck and wild ram; bush clearings controlled by master red stag; native and exotic forest blocks where elusive sika stags predominate; north facing bush ridges and faces where sun-loving rusa stag and wild goat hang out, and thick scrub filled gullies where the seldom seen sambar and wariest of sika trophies live. Much of the exotic trees have now been removed and in time these areas will revert to clearings and manuka.

The estate is well roaded throughout, but having said that the best hunting technique is still to walk, find a lookout, spot your trophy, then plan an effective stalk. Chief hunting guide Mark McGlashan knows the estate like the back of his hand, and will nine times out of ten put his client right on the money.

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