It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone- Hans F Hansen
“I’ve had a gutsful of this bloody caper. I might throw the game away after the next season or so”
All pro hunters at one time or another
“The Venison Hunters”- Mike Bennet
I feel very privileged to have learned all my hunting skills whilst being in the employ of the NZFS. The three to four years spent with the dept., amounts to a lifetime of deer hunting experience in itself. In the Kawekas for example in the two plus years I was there I hardly ever saw a private hunter abroad much less a tramper. We had it all to ourselves and the hunting was marvelous. One particular trip I remember had me completely alone for four weeks without sighting another human being.
They were all 6 week trips in the Kawekas as opposed to the 4 week ones in the Tarries. when I asked Russel why, he reckoned it took you 4 weeks to get properly fit and at one with the environment. So why not let the department benefit from the two good weeks that remain he used to intone. You know something that fella knew a thing or two!
This page is hampered by the lack of photographic history. Although carrying a small camera at all times I regret now not using it more
This album is a one of a kind and with over 370 photos from across the culling eras and regions of NZ. A treasured keeps sake reflecting past to present deer culling operatives throughout NZ.
Me and me best mate at Tussock hut..we were a good team
We got hit by a 3 day blizzard while we were at Te Puke and so Max and I decided it was time to stretch our legs. The very young Glen Soroko took the photo.
there is a story that goes with this one….
“Where do you aim for, Steve?”
“Anywhere in the eye son. Anywhere in the eye”
[ The Venison Hunters – Mike Bennet]
Toby not looking comfortable perched up on the woodshed at Tussock alongside my Sako Vixen .222 and the tails so far for the trip. He was a helluva dog and eventually went to a good home with Warren Dykes in Ekatuhuna
I might have had a sweater in my pack but basically all I was wearing was what I needed for a six week trip. It is a little different today eh?
The single most important thing to be done when reaching a new hut apart from the obligatory cup of tea was to string out the radio ariel and listen to Raelene Ramsay who was working in the Hawkes Bay at the time. Fantasy Island!!
Looking back on it all and I had a feeling even then that I might not see another Spring in the Kawekas
Sometimes you needed a break and what better way to spend the afternoon than to journey out to Boyds and watch the planes come in and out….the equivelent of going to the seaside.
A pair of deadly Sako Vixen .222 cal. clearly shown in the above picture.
I must say the food drops were good value and a good variety. Our fridge was a rubbish bin full of flour and we would have cheese and bacon and other goodies buried deep and easily survive to the end of the season. Pretty exciting too delving deep and not knowing what you would find next.
I don’t remember their being any mesh sides on this bridge that being the case it is quite a hairy walk for the ole dog.
Kawatau river Western Ruahines /It was a wet miserable day and much later on the river taught me a lesson I never did forget.
Will get a few hours in hunting before the worst of it hits methinks……………….NW clag foaming over Marchent ridge
I did lower my sights at one time and spent a little time chasing goats for a living
Mind you I did spend 10 consecutive days in torrential rain here when I misplaced my dawg Jake and whenever I hear rain on a corrugated roof it takes me back in an instant
This photo was taken before my time. When I look back on it all I never did take enough photos, ok we didn’t have today’s tech. but still. Memories after all are all we have at the end of the day and we tend to forget all but a handful of them-photos sometimes bring back the ones we do let slip.
I think we were on our way out when this photo was taken. We were late for end of season celebrations and we still had the main range to negotiate yet. No time for photo calls really!
I’ll just nip down to the supermarket and pick up some meat- dya want anything?
I appear taller than the two private hunters. If you look carefully I am making the most of some high ground- thinking all the time!!
One of my favourite hunting spots of all time in the Haurangis being productive as it always was. Not strictly speaking a culling photo- but back in the day anyway.
Found a photo the details lost with time.
We always did the evening shoots in the Kawekas as the weather was so stable. Different story south of there though
It had been a long day and still a couple of hours to go. End of season trek to civilisation Earlier in the week I had said to Ken “Nah no way is it going to snow- we’ll leave it till the last day”…..Yeah well…sorry Ken.
The height of summer in the manson country and the dog is a reluctant poser. “No time for photos boss- where is the water?”
This wasn’t a regular occurrence but man when we made the effort it was pure heaven
Early in the season and it would have to be the early eighties too- the dog is Max and it looks like the climb from Ballard in the Kaweka Ranges
My Aussie mate “Toby”- shoulda called him Bruce but there ya go- as you can see by his grin he loved hunting. We were high above the Ngaruroro river.
My mate has made the brew washed the dishes and is just about to attack the wood pile with the axe- caught in contemplative mood.-Venison Tops
He would often go to this point and wind the deer when we were making our way back from the Mangatainoka head waters. It was the time of day when I most appreciated the white in his tail- he would lead me home in the dark every-time without fail
Alpha Hut in the Tararuas. The green Bivvy is where NZFS kept its mattresses and food.
Locked of course! The orange rope is the radio Ariel.
Despite the sun tan cream the bread must have been baked the day before in crap weather is my guess- and I am sticking to it as well!!!- looks like the old office steps at Te Pukeohikarua- Kaweka country.
I would say poaching in the Golden Hills…………………shhhhhhhhhhh
Me and ex. wifey posing outside the Manson- seems a very long time ago. She flew in from Boyds in the last week of my six week trip and we were making our way out- a couple of steps ahead of Russel methinks. That looks like Pratts rifle propped up against the hut too- Browning auto in .308 if I remember rightly.
The detective in me leads me to believe he must have taken the picture!!!
Me and the dog about to leave Mangatainoka hut- Ed Bright is behind the camera. he is going downstream and we are going upstream to Tussock
Boss is away and I am in charge- Look out!-note the ole Vixen getting all photogenic on the front bumper. It is winter and we are up on the Comet range. Pratt, myself and the late Andy Marden. They were considered not photogenic enough to be included in this picture.
Chopper landing by the tarn at Maungahuka with hut refurbishment gear- Tararuas
Dropping off the main Kaweka range- gawd knows where- “Mad Max” is the dog sometimes known as Max-A -Wellicans …….as with most German Wirehaired dogs [I have owned 3] that I have experienced ……they are a mixture of sublime graceful pointing lines and pathetic grovelling and overly timid yet paradoxically also quite headstrong personalities too. I would not get another one for love nor money on balance…… I am hard enough to live with as it is being born under a Gemini star sign!!!!!
Ed Bright preparing to go his own way at Mangatainoka hut. Ed was number 2 at Kaweka whilst I was there under Wally Drayton.
Winter hunting the Burns range; I have been dropped off via the landcruiser for my days work
Dave Pratt giving the new boy the third degree- note the box being kicked gently?
A psychologist would have a field day. Russel oblivious to it all and sorting the food drops for the coming season.
Pratt and Turnwall having an intellectual discussion with my camp meat. Perhaps they thought they could get more sense out of it than they would me….who knows?
Quoin Ridge-Tararuas- scene of my mishap.
Paul-Roupee Vandervourt NZFS and his mate Fran outside Ngaawaparua hut-Kaweka F.P. Another Sako Vixen user
Me and Toby preparing the evening meal at Te Puke. Judging by all the empty boxes lying around leads me to think that the seasons food drop has just been unpacked and put away.