Maybe its because I am yet to have success as a hunter? Or maybe I’m a bad hunter? But for me there is definitely more to being out in the wilderness than having quarry on the ground. Whilst in the roar it would be great to see a majestic Monarch, with over 12 points, standing proud roaring out into the valley, letting you know that he is the king of this area and he has many hinds with him, the landscape that you find yourself in whilst looking for these triumphant beasts is just as powerful and awe inspiring.
Fourth of April, 2016 I had my pack and rifle checked in at Auckland Airport and my plane ticket to Queenstown. My childhood friend, Daniel and I had this trip planned since December. Unfortunately for us we missed submitting our ballot options and had to settle for the Blue River block, Mount Aspiring National Park, in the second chance draw. Many a topo map was studied, Daniel even did a wee overnight recy, and info from the local DoC ranger had us with low expectations despite the excitement of a week in the bush.
The block was steep and not very inviting. We wandered all 18km to the end over three days only to get stuck in our tent for the fourth day as it continued to rain and rain, and the waterfall we camped beside, began to get larger and wider. Despite a clear and warming morning on the fifth day it was just not to be, the sign was old and sparse and all that was achieved was to have a pair of paradise ducks circle us and let the rest of the valley know potential danger was about. It was really cool seeing a couple of Whio pairs getting around together even though they too were quick to sound their whistling alarm.
Hunting is a test of character, especially on these walk in multi-day expeditions. Its you and what you can carry on your back. We had probably 30kg on our back and enough food and clothing (be it very smelly and some quite damp at the end) for five nights. We also took a tent, utensils, gas cookers, guns and ammo and a cheeky book. Going out there and proving to yourself what you are capable of is a powerful experience, it brings you back to civilization with a drive and desire to do and achieve more. Achieving colossal things and living outside your comfort zone expands your outlook, it shows to yourself that your excuses are simply that and by ignoring them you achieve.
We live in one of the most beautiful and accessible wildernesses in the world. The latest Logan Dodds video for Air New Zealand highlights what incredible things are sitting at our doorstep. Don’t just sit and watch the video thinking “that stuff is cool”, “I’d love to do that”, because you can, its right here in New Zealand and its probably only about 30 minutes to an hour away.
If you need more info about our parks and walks visit your local DoC office or their Website. Get in contact with the Mountain Safety Council. Or if your like me and want to get into hunting, visit a local Hunting and Fishing, Hamill’s or Gun City store, New Zealand Deer Stalkers, or ask a mate to take you.
If you have some good tales of your time in the New Zealand wilderness, leave a comment below.