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Am I Fit Enough for Hunting?
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Greg Morton, New Zealand correspondent for The Hunting Report describes Poronui’s game estate as the perfect hunter’s park ….

‘Am I fit enough?’ is a good self-reflection question before hunting in New Zealand. The answer lies in the type of hunting activity you have booked, so book carefully. New Zealand is a hilly and mountainous country so regardless of where you hunt, you will spend a lot of time stalking on, climbing up or edging your way carefully down hills. In general terms, the North Island is more scrub covered, has rolling hills and moderately high ranges while the South Island is steeper, often forested or clothed in matagouri, and has a chain of mountain country in the hinterland. Climbing is a universal activity with free-range alpine foot hunts for Tahr and Chamois and public land hunts rated the most in need of fitness.

Most hunting on foot in New Zealand involves sidling, a technique where the hunter criss-crosses the terrain to avoid gut-busting direct climbs or straight down descents. This is a skill well worth learning. Good boots are essential as is clothing that is light, warm, camouflaged and breathes well. Overseas hunters who are used to hunting from stands often turn up with heavy clothing not suited to walking long distances and the heat and weight of gear, not their fitness, causes extreme discomfort. Every aspect of your equipment including firearm, optics and pack should be of good quality but light, as unnecessary weight is the energy killer.

Fitness is always a tremendous asset and unfit hunters who want an easy trophy are actually asking for a canned hunt, a hunt which quality New Zealand estate owners want no part of. In New Zealand, estate hunts match free-range hunting conditions and market these as fair chase hunts. The key difference should only be in the number and quality of game and trophies found behind the wire. Top fair chase estates like Poronui adhere to the five freedoms policy. Game should have access to suitable species habitat, cover to hide in, water to drink, food to eat and living space to express themselves within family units.

Poronui used prime Sika habitat for its estate, also taking into account the stalking requirements of hunters. Red, Fallow, Rusa, wild goat, and Arapawa sheep were added to join the quality Sika herd. As New Zealand correspondent for The Hunting Report I would describe Poronui’s game estate as the perfect hunter’s park, particularly well-suited to hunters whose fitness levels vary. It is well tracked, game is evenly spread throughout the estate, there is more walking than climbing, numerous lookouts, a mix of open and bush covered gullies, and close proximity to the Lodge so less time driving, more time glassing at peak times, and home early once darkness falls. Often hunters are accompanied by their partners because the terrain is manageable and user friendly.

Greg Morton

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