Wapiti proves elusive for North Island hunters

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 07/04/2014
Southland Times photo
BARRY HARCOURT/Fairfax NZ

Tired but happy this group of Wapiti Hunters from the Bay of Islands after being flown out with Southern Lakes Helicopters from their Fiordland hunting block at Mt Longsight Bligh Sound, after 10 days trying unsuccesfully to shoot a wapiti trophy head. Two red deer stags were shot. The party brought a small boat with them and supplemented died with lobster and blue cod. Pictured, from left, Theo Stubbe, Greg Simmonds, Luke Cookson, Nick Edwards, Darrel Windust, Ian Edwards and Mike Scott.

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Ten days in remote Fiordland on the trail of a wapiti trophy has come to an end for one group of northern hunters.

The group of six hunters and two fishers from the Bay of Islands were flown out of their hunting block at Mt Longsight near Bligh Sound by Southern Lakes Helicopters on Saturday.

While none of the group landed a wapiti trophy, a few red deer stags were bagged and the men armed with the rods landed a few tasty blue cod.

Theo Stubbe, one of the hunters in the group, said getting a shot in the Wapiti Bugle Ballot had been a dream for many of the hunters.

The group set up camp in the midst of great hunting and fishing grounds and it was an incredible sound hearing the roaring of the deer and unique "howl" of the wapiti, Stubbe said.

"It gave us all goose bumps."

The wapiti proved elusive but he had shot a red deer stag on the first day to keep everyone filled up with venison, he said.

After getting flown out, the group were tired but extremely happy and looking forward to a short break from eating venison.

"I think I am all venisoned out but it won't be long before I get the taste for it again. We vacuum-sealed quite a bit, " Stubbe said.

"A nice hot shower would be good and seeing family again was nice."

The group's extraction after 10 days came at the right time.

"We ran out of beer on the last night, so I don't think some of the boys could have gone on any longer," Stubbe said.

It had been a privilege taking part in the annual wapiti shoot and everyone wanted to come back for the special event and to a special place in the world.

This year, 310 parties applied for a ballot, and 135 parties received one, including some hunters from Britain.

 

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