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Smell the roses
– Hunting Experiences

Hunters coming to Poronui do so primarily for the big game trophies on offer, the environment, and the quality of the hospitality and accommodation. These are the expectations when booking with a proven operation, but it’s often the unexpected sightings that remain in the memory bank for a long time. Poronui is a truly unique property, where diverse wildlife abounds.

In the New Zealand fall, the deer rut is in full progress. It’s also a time when the endangered New Zealand falcon (kārearea) is teaching teenage offspring how to survive in the wild. There are only 3,000 to 5,000 breeding pairs left in New Zealand and chances are Poronui visitors will hear, and hopefully see, local birds out training their young.

The New Zealand falcon is a deadly raptor when hunting, but as a parent, it suddenly becomes very laid back and understanding with its offspring. Once, while hunting, I saw two falcons flying about and when they landed I stalked in with my camera. The larger brown bird was the teenage female. Females are larger than the males, which the greyish one in this situation was. If I tried this when the parents were nesting I would be aggressively dive-bombed, but on this occasion, I was allowed to sneak right up to them. It was an amazing experience and got even better. When I turned away to carry on hunting, the youngster flew up to me and landed beside me to see what I was up to. The parent then did the same as though to check I behaved myself. It is one of my most memorable hunting experiences. After 10 more minutes, we all went on our way.

Three other indigenous New Zealand birds that will always bring a smile when out hunting at Poronui are the in-your-face bug-chasing flitting antics of the fantail (pīwakawaka), the melodious singing of the bellbird (koimako), and the whooshing antics of the super-sized wood pigeon (kererū).

Watching males do what males do when impressing girls is also worth the price of spectator admission. South Pacific billy goats line each other up, rear up on their back legs, and rattle one another’s craniums. After a few whacks, it becomes a push-and-shove event. Stags and bucks trying to hold territory, or a harem, is also full-on noisy action, with plenty of beaten losers and a few hardy winners on display.

Away from the rut, a notable visual attraction is the frenetic antics of young deer. Once topped up with mum’s milk they go crazy and tear around the clearings with a mate or two. Cute is the word that springs to mind. 

It’s an old saying but a goodie; smell the roses when out hunting in Poronui.

Greg Morton
One of New Zealand’s longest 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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