In New Zealand, the question of helicopter-assisted hunting has come up again thanks to a petition that was being circulated last month by e-mail. Entitled "Stop Guided Helicopter-Hunting In New Zealand," the petition states the signers are "totally opposed to guided heli-hunting being able to be conducted on a WARO (Wild Animal Recovery Operation) permit and are totally against this activity on public lands altogether." The petition claims that heli-hunting destroys the quiet of the New Zealand backcountry, has no conservation benefits whatsoever and raises massive safety issues. The petition goes on to define heli-hunting as spotting game from the air and/or chasing or pushing game to the point of exhaustion in order for a hunter to disembark for a shot or simply shoot straight out of the machine. You can read the petition for yourself by going to The Hunting Report web site (www.huntingreport.com) and clicking on "Fight Over Helicopter-Assisted Hunting in New Zealand" in the Special Forums section on the right-hand side of our homepage. We've also posted a number of comments, both pro and con, from hunters all over the world, including resident Kiwis. The comments are worth reading just to understand everyone's point of view - and there are numerous perspectives to consider.
The Hunting Report told E-mail Extra subscribers about this effort to shut down heli-hunting when we first received the petition in mid-May. The issue, of course, is important to anyone who has booked a tahr or chamois hunt in New Zealand with the expectation of using a helicopter in some way. The petition and some of those who support it, assert that sport hunting with the use of a helicopter is not actually legal; they also oppose its legalization and wish to ban the practice altogether. Outfitters who use a helicopter, as well as the New Zealand Professional Hunting Guides Association, maintain that the use of helicopters is absolutely legal and has been for the last 30 years. Yet the association held a special members meeting just this past October with members of the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) to nail down the legalities and ethics of........(continued)