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Stop thinking, make it happen
– Hunting Experiences

BJ Sande and Jeff Siems traveled with their wives from America to New Zealand for a six-day experience at Poronui — and they are beyond glad they did!

Knowing New Zealand is world famous for incredible red stag hunting, Jeff and wife Christy, and BJ and wife Azra, planned a vacation away to experience the red stag roar in New Zealand’s crisp morning air. Jeff had been to New Zealand on four previous occasions to hunt red stags, and on a previous trip to the South Island in 2010 he met two couples who told him they’d spent time hunting and fly fishing at Poronui.

“They could not stop raving about the Poronui experience. They shared photos of their trip with me in Tahr camp, and [one of the couples] pulled me aside one evening and said you have to take your family to Poronui, you and your wife will love it. From that point on Poronui was on my radar as a destination. The more I investigated Poronui, not only for red stag hunting but also Sika deer and fly fishing, I knew we would someday make it to Poronui. When our friends BJ and Azra said they would like to go to New Zealand sometime for an adventure, that really got the ball rolling, and when the ladies saw all the non-hunting experiences that were available we booked a trip,” Jeff says.

During their stay, Jeff and BJ went out hunting together mostly, and Christy and Azra would explore Poronui’s other opportunities like horseback riding, hiking, spa treatments, and, of course, guided shopping / wine tasting experiences in the Hawke’s Bay region.

On one occasion everyone went out hunting together and it was this trip that BJ remembers fondly.

“The highlight of my trip was when I was able to harvest a stag, and my wife was there with me. A close second was being beside Jeff when he got his stag,” BJ says.

It was the same trip that was also the most memorable for Jeff.

“[That was the] afternoon when I was able to take my Sika stag … Mark [Poronui guide] invited Christy and Azra along so that they could experience some of the hunting. We were easing up a steep two track when Mark spotted a good stag across a deep draw full of Mānuka scrub. We had to get set up quickly as the stag was in a small clearing on top of a ridge with some hinds. Mark got me behind the gun and dialed in the range. I squeezed the trigger and the stag hunched up and disappeared into the dense scrub. Christy looked at me and said, “That was really exciting! Does it always happen like this? Now what do we do?” We stayed put, and Mark made his way across the canyon to find the deer. We directed him to where we last saw the stag disappear and after a few anxious moments Mark found him. We all piled into the truck and drove up the ridge and then bushwhacked our way over to Mark and my first Sika — and he was a cracker,” Jeff says.

The terrain and the environment were highlights for Jeff and BJ, with BJ noting it was amazing to hear the red stag roaring while they were in their cabin in the evening. Truly an immersive experience. On the hunting front, Jeff loved the variation of the terrain.

“There are eucalyptus forests, which make for interesting spotting/hunting. The red stag “rubs” on the eucalyptus trees was something to see. Beech forest, clear cuts, deep draws with dense Mānuka scrub, and picturesque grassy draws and clearings. [It’s] really quite spectacular to be there when the morning fog is lifting and makes for great glassing opportunities to plan a hunt. I really didn’t know what to expect, as all my previous New Zealand hunting had been in the South Island. Poronui was certainly different, but in a very good way with lots of opportunity to explore different habitat,” Jeff says.

The resounding advice from both BJ and Jeff was to make sure you experience Poronui.

“Poronui can’t be beat. If I had it to do over, I would book a few extra days after the hunt for fly fishing,” BJ says.

“My advice would be to stop thinking about it and make it happen. Go! You won’t regret it. I have now made five hunting trips to New Zealand and can say that my experience at Poronui is at the top! [We’re] working on our next Poronui adventure!” Jeff says.

Jeffs trophies at home in USA

Jeff’s Red Stag, Fallow Buck and Sika Trophies at home


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