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From the Hills to the Plate
– Gear & Guns

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

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