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Iconic Outfitter Joins Iconic Operation
– About

Wanaka-based hunting heavyweight John Scurr has joined the team at Poronui.

In an interview with Greg Morton in October 2014, John Scurr said he was thrilled to be joining Poronui and was keen to tell the global hunting community about the quality of the hunting adventures and the size of the trophies there. He said “I’m proud to be an ambassador for such an iconic brand.

Citing his own experience in the South Island as owner of a premier hunting operation, Scurr acknowledged Poronui had all the key factors hunters looked for in an outfitter.

“Poronui is in a great location, has excellent facilities, employs a team who truly understand hospitality and has abundant big game of high trophy calibre.

“More importantly”, he continued “Poronui has an excellent historical connection with Sika – it is the site where the species was first liberated in New Zealand. This species specific link is a huge point of difference.

John’s own hunting background is impressive and varied. “I have hunted near 100 different species in four continents. Last year I was successful with hunting the famous Marco Polo ram in the Kyrgyz Republic. I took a very good Mid Asian Ibex in Kazakhstaan ten years ago, hunted Tur in Azerbaijan, Chamois in the Carpathian Mountains, and Ibex in Spain and Turkey.

“A highlight was hunting Lord Derby Eland and Bongo in the Central African Republic, along with several other species on a 21 day hunt. I have hunted Leopard and Buffalo. I was unsuccessful on mountain Nyala in Ethiopia. I’ve had several trips to Africa and it’s like a magnet, you just want to keep going back. I really do like Alaska and have hunted there four times and it was good to have both my sons with me while I was there – that was special.

Asked about his outfitting background, Scurr elaborated.

“My name is forever linked to hunting in New Zealand because of my association with a quality hunting property in the South Island. About fifteen years ago my wife and I started developing Cardrona Safaris, and it grew into a very successful diversification of our high country farming enterprise. We ran the business as a family and my two sons, Andrew and Donald proved to be very competent guides.

“I have been breeding deer since 1980 and was closely associated with deer recovery and the early years of deer farming. At Cardrona we produced two world records. One was 655 SCI and held the record for three years, the other was 314 CIC and is still currently #1. I have been involved with two other world records. I still maintain a very prolific herd of deer.

“As at Poronui, we have invested in top genetics annually targeting trophy style stags and strategically joining them with selected females. We regularly bring in out crosses to correct or add dimension to the style of antler we think the clients appreciate. We keep the velvet production in mind all the time as it is an important part of the industry together with the body confirmation of stags in the sire group and of course the hinds.

John moved on from the property five years ago and sold the hunting company last year. He continued to describe how he spends his time now.

“Today I am a semi-retired high country farmer with about 1,000 deer, along with beef cattle and some sheep, on a property near the banks of the Clutha River, at Millers Flat in Central Otago. My wife Anne and I have three children Andrew, Donald and Emily and four grand-daughters.

Never one to sit still, John has always been an active leader in his local community.

“I have always enjoyed instigating progress and growth. I’ve been pretty ’hands on’ in local politics and a member of many local organisations – I am a past director and chairman of Deer Industry New Zealand, the NZ Deer Farmers Association and a retired director of Merino NZ.. I have also had 40 years of aviation flying fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

Asked how he would add value to Poronui, John explained. “I can advise hunters how to select the right outfitter. I‘ve hunted with the very best and also with the very worst. I have had two failed hunts when I paid the full dues and never got to have the hunt.

“Hunters like to know that the company they have selected has proven experience, good lodgings, and qualified guides who understand the territory and the wildlife as well as being confidently versed in their own NZ history. They like prompt communication – immediate email responses – and want to know the outfitter they choose is here for the long haul.

Choosing the right outfitter means you will get top quality guides – and this can be the difference between a bad experience, a good experience and the hunt of a lifetime. As John said “ A top guide is one who dedicates their entire time to you and does their best to adapt to the clients culture where possible.

John told Greg Morton he was sure he could make a big contribution to Poronui as a sales consultant. “I have a depth of experience in international hunting and so many friends in the global hunting community. I’m keen to share Poronui with them.

Greg Morton conducted this interview just a few months after his own visit to Poronui as correspondent for The USA Hunting Report, when he had been blown away with the on-site growth, size of trophies and quality of hunting adventures that he witnessed.

Greg sees the relationship between Poronui and John Scurr as one of real depth and based on three key attributes: credibility, professionalism and substance. As Greg put it, “Each partner understands the other has these qualities in spades, so I envisage a bright future going forward. I wish the partnership well.

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