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Poronui Hill sika stags
– Hunting Experiences

Poronui Hill is a dominant landscape feature that is flanked by rivers on two sides that are renowned trout fisheries.

The rounded dome has largely been cleared of exotic trees, but right on top is a man bun of native tall trees and shrubs. Sika are often found here, seeking refuge and shelter.

The steeper, colder faces of Poronui Hill are on the Mohaka River side, with the gentler, sunnier faces running down to the Oamaru flats. On one of the main Oamaru clearings sits the property’s iconic Red Hut. Details of its past can be read here.

The sentry for the area is a native bush falcon (kārearea), who has glided past on all of my visits. Offspring obviously pick up the mantle over the generations.

Poronui Hill is my favourite scenic spot of all of Poronui, because on a clear day you are above any valley fog and can gaze in four, breath-taking directions. It’s a bit of a grunt summiting the hill, but well worth the effort. One direction looks out over the Poronui farmland, a second direction looks over dense Kaimanawa Range native trees towards Boyd Hut, a third direction looks over the Mohaka River towards the distant Kaweka Forest Park, and the last direction encompasses more forest, the hunting estate, and also the farmland/bush fringes where sika like to feed. There is no better mental health spot in New Zealand.

For hunting clients, there is the goal of a trophy sika stag in any of the folds of the hill. The males in particular visit the site to feed and hang out in bachelor groups on the high lookouts. They tend to have Manchurian markings and like to pick at the grass found under cut exotic pine remnants. If you drive around the hill base you will often spot them, but they will also see you and quickly move higher if you stop the vehicle. Should you exit the vehicle they flee off the tops down into the bush, or down into swampland.

Hunters have three options to achieve success. A long-range accurate shot from the base of the hill, an ambush on fleeing animals crossing from one side to the other, or a flanking movement where hunters climb the cold side of the hill (less deer to evade here), and pop over the top of the hill unseen, where, hopefully, they have the drop on a mature stag bedded or feeding on the sunny faces.

Greg Morton
One of New Zealand’s longest established hunting/fishing profile journalists. Outdoors writer since 1987. Past positions include New Zealand correspondent for The Hunting Report; The Bird Hunting Report, and The Angling Report, and writing a regular hunting article for New Zealand Outdoor for 30 years. Presently writes a monthly article named Fair Chase for New Zealand Fishing News and a hunting blog for Poronui, while continuing his passion for hunting, fishing, and wildlife photography. Lives in Alexandra, Central Otago.


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