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The Hunters’ Tale
– Hunting Experiences

The excitement felt during a hunt is not age selective. Photos may fade, but memories recounted live on for ever. You can only shoot your first deer, your first stag and your largest stag once…


My Obsessive Quest by Pat Stratton
My obsessive quest for a 200 DS Sika stag! I have hunted Sika Stags for 52 years, the last six years on Poronui with guide Neil Philpot (aka Mr Sika).

My motto when hunting Sika – or any other trophy stag – is “Going Big or Going Home”. I’ve had had countless trips that produced good photos of big trophy stags that didn’t quite measure up, and I’ve come back with lots of new friends but no trophy stag, all as a result of my personal philosophy of being ultra selective.

You can’t shoot great stags if you keep shooting good stags! Most of my hunts I have only one tag so I use it carefully.

April 2014 and another great six days at Poronui, hunting the mighty free range Sika stags. Again Neil guided me to my best Sika stag to date. While not the 200 DS stag I have dreamed of and spent the last six years looking for, he is a massive stag that will be hard to better. Scoring 196 4/8th DS, 33′ long with massive tops and heavy beams he is the Sika stag that I have always dreamed of shooting.

I have now shot 3 stags over 192 DS in six years hunting Poronui, it just doesn’t get any better than this.

pat sika


My First Sika Deer by Henri Leo Mueller (11)
Before my dad Carsten, our guide Andrew and I went hunting, we went to the shooting range to practise the handling of the rifles. I fired four shots to make sure that I shot in the right spot. All the shots were good. The rifle that I used was a 7.08.

The sun just came up over the trees as we went in the forest. There were gum trees all around us and there was this tiny little path between them. We walked for about three minutes and had to climb over a fence gate. Suddenly, we heard screams, sticks were snapped.

My dad saw a Sika between the trees. We quietly walked to one of the trees. Andrew crouched in the grass, so did I. Dad stayed behind the tree. Andrew and I lay in the grass; he passed the rifle over to me. The Sika came from behind the trees and it looked directly towards us. I could not shoot the deer because the bullet would have damaged the main parts of the meat, so I had to be patient and wait. The Sika turned 90 degrees and walked along the path. I said to myself “Please stop, please stop.”

When it stopped it was in the right position. I aimed, my finger pulled the trigger and it went ‘BOOM’. The air was white for a fraction of a second. Then I saw the Sika collapsing on its back legs and shortly after that laying in the grass. We stood up and walked to the Sika. It was an excellent shot. Andrew and Dad took photos. And that is how I shot my first Sika deer.

Special thanks to: Andrew & The Poronui Lodge.



A Hunter – Now in the Boardroom by Justine Ross
Our farm is gone. Like so many other kiwis of my generation, I married a landless farm boy. He took off his old school swandry and put on a McQueen suit, now he works a boardroom not the land. It’s gone well, rural values count in this environment. But we have a problem – two in fact.

Our sons are restless, thirsty for the smell of the land, for the hunt (never inside the wire) and yes for the thrill of a successful kill. Their great grandfather, their grandfather and their dad – all hunters. They are at peace on the land. Seven years ago we found Poronui.

Finn was eight ready for his first proper hunt. Gabe was five and already hunting with a compound bow.

I am a die-hard tramper and relatively capable in the bush but I faltered thinking about my babies brandishing firearms and killing anything. But this disquiet was put swiftly to rest the very first time I saw my sons faces returned from a hunt. They were awakened, grown somehow, stronger and happy – deeply happy.

Our boys are now veterans of Poronui. They fish, eel and shoot big game or little. I worried the boys would struggle to reconcile killing, but they take game fairly, they make good choices, they work hard for their trophies and they skin their kills.

Hunting is about meeting interesting animals and killing them but it’s also about rituals and camaraderie, exercise, reading the land and the weather, it’s about telling stories and the contrasts of endurance and relative luxury.

I love that my boys have this deep true passion bred into them by their father, unleashed by Poronui and now unreservedly supported by me. They will be better, happier men.


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