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Hunting Horned Trophies
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Two horned big game species available all year round at Poronui

Poronui has two horned big game species inside the game estate: Arapawa Sheep and South Pacific Wild Goat. Both species were introduced into New Zealand by early explorers or settlers, and in the case of the sheep their isolation on an island in the Marlborough Sounds saw them develop unique characteristics.

The Arapawa breed is coloured rather than white, the ewes are hornless and light in build, while the rams are stocky and grow spiralling horns out to a metre in length. These sheep carry their head low when walking and when spooked they flee in a hunched over way. The face and legs of the sheep is relatively clean, while their fleece is thick and full, designed to cope with adverse conditions. Designated a rare domestic breed, numbers are good at Poronui where the diverse terrain and vegetation suits them perfectly. Like goats they are primarily an add-on species, usually taken towards the end of the hunting trip after the deer trophies.

The rams are very attractive and no two rams have the exact same facial colouration. Black, brown and white are the dominant colours with white blazes on the forehead often occurring. The rams are usually found in bachelor mobs and this trait gives the hunter a good chance to evaluate the trophies on offer and select the colouration that appeals. They are no easy beats and a bad wind or sighting of the hunter will have all animals hoofing it for safety.

Arapawa are incredibly hardy and it is not uncommon to see lambs running around in winter snow – the first lambs of the season have already been spotted.

The South Pacific Wild Goats found in New Zealand are a feral mix of past imported goats brought here for meat or milking. Colours are a diverse mix of previous descendants, and the wide horned billies found on Poronui probably link back to the Angora bloodline. They are sprinkled throughout the estate but numbers are managed carefully so that the vegetation does not receive too great a hammering.

Spot and stalk is the technique used to hunt both species, and because horns are not shed, hunters can stalk these trophies at any time of the year. For instance, a Rusa stag hunter visiting in August when the peak of the Rusa rut is on could also take a ram and billy goat trophy on the same trip.

Greg Morton

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